Do you Sabotage your Own Happiness?

Poster of a Girl


Article by Wendy McCance

I know someone who is always telling me that I have luck on my side.  They are always telling me how envious they are of me and my life.  It doesn’t matter what hardships I go through, this person will mention that things always work out for me and that they wish they had that type of life.

This same person is always complaining about their bad fortune.  Their life seems dreary and hopeless and there is always another unfortunate incident that has happened in their life.  I used to feel so awful for this person’s life.  It seemed that they just needed someone to care, listen and support them.  I would listen endlessly to the long list of tragic circumstances and try to give some suggestions on ways to get past the bad moments.

Recently, it hit me like a ton of bricks that this was the way this person was choosing to live.  All of the endless conversations and woe is me moments were such a waste of time and energy.  Every time it seemed that there was light at the end of the tunnel, the self sabotage would kick into high gear.  This person was determined to continue this cycle and there was nothing I could do to help other than to withdraw my support.

There was always a mountain of excuses as to why something couldn’t be tackled and worked out.  If a problem seemed to resolve itself, it was quickly replaced with the next bad event.  Happy, peaceful, content, success, these are all taboo words that this person would never utter and a way they would never live.

I do need to clarify that the cycle this person is in is mostly self induced.  There isn’t an abusive relationship, loss of job, illness or any other type of serious issue that would make fixing up their life much more difficult to achieve.  This person owns a home in a decent neighborhood, has a good job, decent health, a good support system of friends and great kids.  The issues that become absolute catastrophies for them are worries of weight, money, home repairs and not feeling attractive enough.

I was at work today and had a discussion with another realtor about this very subject.  This agent is currently working with a couple who have high demands for a home and have been pre-approved for a home that would offer them not much more than they currently have.  Their current residence is a house that is in major need of some basic repairs, but the couple doesn’t want to put any time into their current home and the repairs that are desperately needed.

The realtor doesn’t think they will get anywhere near what they owe on the home because of the problems with the home.  If the couple were to fix the eyesores (which won’t cost much to do), they would stand to make a decent profit.  These small tweaks to their home would afford them an opportunity to get much closer to the home they are looking for from the extra money they would make off their home.

Why do people sabotage their own happiness?  Sometimes the way someone blocks themself from the happiness they say they want is evident.  Other times, it takes some soul searching to realize that the sabotage has been taking place.  Maybe it’s comfort in bad patterns that the brain registers as, this feels right when what they are doing is so wrong for them.  I’m not sure if any of these people can even see what they are doing to themselves.

What I do know is that you have to feel truly uncomfortable with your circumstances along with a drive for needing something better in your life to begin to change these behaviors.   Honestly, there is no magic pill for a better life.  It is within your grasp if you allow it to be there.

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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 6 local papers online, including the Oakland Press.The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]

22 thoughts on “Do you Sabotage your Own Happiness?

  1. What a great article, Wendy. I have someone in my life who is constantly telling me how “lucky” I am. First of all, i don’t believe in luck. I have been blessed immensely and I am grateful for that. but the truth is my life has been a joyful experience (mostly) because I make wise decisions. I’m not saying I am brilliant and always choose correctly, but I am consciencious about the deicsions I make, I investigate all the options, and I am careful to seek the counsel of people I trust and respect. When this person says I’m lucky to have the husband I do, I tell she’s right. I have a wonderful man. But that isn’t luck. I set high standards for who I wanted as my mate and I didn’t settle for anything less. When I was dating men who were not right for me I listened to the opinons of others whom I respected and I knew would want the best for me. When I have had great jobs that too was called “luck” but I worked hard for those jobs- I was honest about my abilities, sought training and mentoring in the areas where I was week and strived to grow and learn. That’s not luck- that’s hard work.

    Like the person you described my person sees herself very much as the victim of life. But in truth, she often doesn’t make wise decisions, doesn’t gather information and ignores the advice of others. That’s not luck- that’s just not being very smart about the choices you make.
    Thanks for this great article.

  2. Fear of change happens to be the largest reason for self-sabotage. Example: If I suddenly became famous the pit of my stomach would drop, my heart rate would go up and it would take effort for me to not shut down. The process from self sabotage to self love is slow and should be. It would be too much of a shock otherwise. It’s also a lonely process. There are resources to everyone’s avail, but it is you that will help you. Leaving them be was the best choice for you, Wendy. As bad as you might feel to let them go, you are responsible for your happiness. But you know that!

  3. Thanks for this. I’m sometimes guilty of self-sabotage, because deep down I feel I don’t deserve to be happy. It isn’t right, but sometimes that negativity takes over, and all it is is an ugly upside-down version of selfishness. You’ve hit it spot on, though: it’s a choice. Today I can choose to be happy, content, and hopeful. It comes more easily some days than others, and sometimes the best way to combat it is to do something thoughtful for someone else. Focusing on making someone else happy always lifts my spirits. =)

  4. I have had a few acquaintances like what your describe. The sad thing is, I believe it’s a habit for them to be that way. How sad. My listening and supporting that habit isn’t helpful for either so I make it a point to change the subject or not spend much time with them. :-)

  5. I hear what you are saying about others, there is a question directed to you though….in regards…. having learned of this perhaps … habit…. Have you HELPED this person by directing TRUTH to this possibility prior to negative conclusion to disregard? And rather than look at them as “draining” actually helping in true form is what might be needed… peoples perceptions about helping, but not being upfront and truthful are only…but enabling. People need truth, some do not know what that is until others can point blank it out, and thus is where miracles occur! (To each individual!)
    People have needs, and sometimes its not what we think it is, or as well grown accustom to thinking we know. TRUTH is always the homerun, in helping someone, that is the start to many instant changes in any habit, addiction, or life changing miracles!
    If this person was shared the info you outlined in this article, Im sure it would be opportunity for them to learn, GROW even if they seem like they are not appreciative of it in the moment it would in the future!.. a person who credits themselves to HELPING is obligated to be truthful and entitled to HELP by not assisting in habits that appear harmful to US and others!
    love and light

    • Hi Coleen, I have always been truthful and upfront with this person. It doesn’t sink in. It’s like nothing was said at all. I think they are so wrapped up in their troubles, that they can’t hear or see past it.

  6. Oh I have had my fair share of people who are not happy unless they are unhappy. Never made sense to me personally. I call these people ‘vampires’. They don’t suck blood, they suck my energy out. They thrive on mishaps and drama. All that just makes me tired. It got so bad at one point in my life I too had to drop a friendship, she was sucking the life right out of me.

  7. Spot on! And to keep giving energy away to this type of person actually extends their unhappiness as it reinforces the behaviour pattern. The phrase ‘cruel to be kind’ was never so apt! Great post, thanks.

  8. Do you find that when this person has just received a fresh injury/disaster to relate, they seem happier? I’ve come to the conclusion that some people are actually addicted to self-pity or sympathy. Once they exhaust your supply, they’ll find someone new to tell their troubles to.

    Our culture teaches us that we need to be listeners; if we’re a good listener it will help them somehow to work through their troubles. They keep on venting, hoping that alone will help them.

    Sounds like you’ve seen the light; thanks for sharing it.

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