I have been my own worst enemy at different times in my life. There have been so many occasions where everything has been going well in life and then my actions have ruined everything.
This has been the case since my teenage years. I was easily the most intelligent person (academically) in my school year an I was on for getting straight A* in my GCSEs when I started truanting and my grades dropped as a result. I didn’t learn and repeated this in my A’Levels too but luckily I had done enough to get my As here. The pattern repeated at university too, I got a place at medical school and started studying to be a doctor but I lost this when I put alcohol first and my depression really kicked in. Then there was my marriage, motherhood and now my teaching career. I have also sabotaged friendships too, it seems to be a constant in my life.
I have always blamed these acts of self-sabotage on my bipolar disorder. It is certainly true that these acts later in life have happened in periods of mania and I am truly ashamed by my actions in these periods.
The book I am reading at the moment suggests these acts of self-sabotage are the symptoms of a serious disharmony between our conscious and subconscious mind and that there are ways of tackling them. I find this incredibly reassuring because if there is a reason and ways of helping then it makes me more positive about the future.
Acts of self-sabotage are more than likely caused by our subconscious mind labouring under some deeply unhelpful beliefs based on our childhood or teenage perceptions of how the world works. Thoughts like:
- I don’t deserve this love. This is more than likely as I have major issues with my own mother not showing me any love and my Dad leaving us at a young age so again feeling a lack of love.
- I don’t deserve this success. Again possibly true as I have issues with feeling like I deserve anything.
- They’ll only find out that I’m not nearly as good as they think I am. When I was a teenager I lied a lot to my friends about my life, I exaggerated the size of my house (I never invited people back due to my Mum drinking) and made out we had a loving family at home. I did this to fit in and so that people didn’t think I was a freak but I was constantly scared of them finding out.
- If I shine with success, people close to me won’t love me any more. This is interesting as something a therapist once said to me was whether I thought my mum was jealous of my achievements. I was always made to feel like an outsider by my Mum as I was the first in the family to be academic in anyway at all. It could be that my Mum acted in the way she did towards me, saying the hateful things because she was dealing with her own insecurities.
Reading this chapter has made me reflect a lot on my self-sabotage actions and question what is ‘bipolar’ and what is my subconscious mind acting…..maybe they are the same thing?