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Self Sabotage: Why You Need To Stop Using This Term 

 November 4, 2019

By  Kristin Rivas

I firmly believe that every part of your body was created for the purpose of benefiting you in some way - your health, safety, comfort, or pleasure. Therefore, I do not use the term “self sabotage” to refer to a person’s actions. I believe it’s important to understand why any dysfunctional behavior is occurring in the first place and what needs must be met in order to change it. Let me give you two examples. Both of these clients I saw years ago, in my 2nd or 3rd year of practice.

The first client case I want to share with you to help you rethink using the term self sabotage is a straightforward story. But it was still a complicated, stressful experience for my client whom we’ll call Erin. She came to me because she had gotten into the habit of compulsively eating sweets. Mainly chocolate and candy. I asked Erin how much chocolate and candy she’d been eating on a regular basis. She confessed to consuming more than a pound of jolly ranchers a day. She mentioned a fear of self sabotage. She said she felt completely out of control with this behavior. That she didn’t even really want to eat the chocolate or sugary hard candy but she found herself addicted to crunching on it. And now she was experiencing the consequences of cavities and Candida yeast overgrowth. She’d suffered from disordered eating before. Now she wondered if she was relapsing because she’d just gotten into a new relationship.

I explained to Erin that our behavior is never random or born from negative intentions. There is always either a physical or psychological explanation or a combo of the two. So I checked to see if there really was an inner conflict, or fear of some kind, about getting into a new relationship. I didn’t find any signs of an issue with that. So I checked to see how much control we could get over dissipating a craving for one of these foods by changing her thought patterns. We used a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) technique called a Swish Pattern (as described in my “How To Kill A Craving” blog post and at length with a variety of adaptations in my Connection To Purpose e-course). Her response to this exercise was unusual since she seemed unable to follow the directions which are very simple. She was trying but it didn’t seem to be making a difference. This definitely seemed to indicate something unusual going on.

Next I asked Erin about her current diet and history with disordered eating. She said her meal choices and portions had been much healthier for awhile now but she’d been bulimic throughout highschool and college. As a Brain Health Coach certified by the Amen Clinics, I’m well aware of how nutritional deficiencies can lead to strong food cravings. I told Erin that the kind of cravings she was experiencing can occur for a person who’ lacking an adequate amount of Zinc, Iron, or Magnesium. I strongly urged her to get a thorough check up with her doctor. It turned out she was extremely deficient in everything I’d mentioned. As soon as she got some nutritional IV’s and adjusted her diet, the urges stopped. In her case, supplements wouldn’t have been enough to help get the behavior to stop anytime soon. She’d been malnourished for so long, her body wouldn’t have absorbed them quickly enough. Erin’s case goes to show that your body’s physical needs alone may be the explanation behind certain behaviors. 

My next blog post will go even further on this topic. It features a more complex client case that addresses the psychological mechanisms behind seemingly intentional, destructive behavior. Spoiler alert” the true intention is never ultimately one of self harm! You’ll have to read Brandy’s story to understand what I mean by that. You’ll also find out what the only viable options are to solve such a tricky dilemma.

If it’s time to make a change in your life but you need help getting to the root of an issue and making a real breakthrough, my Brain Health Coaching, hypnotherapy, and NLP services could be a good fit. My expertise allows me to help my clients isolate underlying physical and or psychological causes for their behaviors so effective courses of change become clear. After a consultation or assessment, I can determine what next steps will be the best. Like giving you specific recommendations to follow up with your doctor or using healing modalities to help you clear negative effects from your past and integrate new thought patterns / habits. 

If you’d like help achieving a breakthrough as quickly as possible, contact me or reach out to a hypnotherapist or NLP practitioner in your local area. I not only help clients in the greater Seattle and Tacoma area of Washington state, I also work with clients through phone and video chat sessions. Virtual sessions can just as effective once we’ve had a consultation to determine if they’re a good fit for you. Take the "Am I A Good Candidate For Hypnotherapy?" Survey if you’d like help knowing what would work best for you.

If you’re interested to see whether hypnosis can help you achieve your goals be sure to review my Hypnotherapy FAQ and have a thorough consult with a hypnotherapist like me before making a decision as to whether hypnotherapy services are best for you.

Kristin Rivas


Kristin Rivas is a certified Brain Health Coach, Hypnotherapist, and NLP practitioner who helps people to feel, think, and live better. Specializing in behavior change and goal achievement, she empowers clients to live to their full potential & foster their own wellness. A former TEDx presenter, she is also a highly sought after speaker.

Kristin Rivas

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