How to Deal with People Who Sabotage You

"Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick.  Don't lose faith." - Steve Jobs

It is the start of a new year and time for the resolutions for change to be made. It is great to want to improve yourself in order to improve your relationships, but you might discover that you meet with resistance at every turn from people in your life. What should you do if you discover someone you care about is sabotaging you and putting obstacles in the way of you working towards a better self?


Deliberate or Unconscious

First, you need to determine if the sabotage is deliberate or unconscious on their part. They might just be a control freak, true, but they might not even realize what they are doing. For example, women often think that their romantic partners would love it if they slimmed down, or that their mother would be proud that they were getting healthier.

Instead, they are told, “You look fine just the way you are,” or “Go on, have a little. It’s your favorite.” This can be through habit, or it could be because the person sabotaging you is afraid of change. If you change for the better, what will happen to the relationship?

What if you drop 50 pounds and get down to a healthy weight, will you suddenly become so sexy that you will have a lot of other options apart from the person you are with? Or if your mother is a competitive kind of person, she might hate the thought of competing with her own daughter to be the center of attention.

No one is saying that these thoughts are logical, or even conscious. What we are saying is that if you feel anyone is holding you back from being your best self, it is time to make some smart decisions so you can make the changes that will improve your relationship with yourself first, and by extension with others.

Shun Those Who Sabotage You

This does not mean you have to give up the relationship completely. But while you are working to change yourself for the better, surround people who will be supportive of your efforts. Join an online support group, for instance. Get a workout partner. Tell your friends you want to avoid gaining weight at the holidays, and see if you can all come up with tasty low calorie or low carb recipes you can share.

Set Boundaries

Sticking with our weight loss example, it can be almost impossible to lose weight if the people you are living with have habits that will damage your chances of succeeding in making the changes you wish to. For instance, they might be buying fast food or snacks all the time and putting the food in front of you to eat.

In this case, set your boundaries the best ways you know how. Tell them not to eat it in front of you. Or, take that huge can of peanuts, look at the suggested serving size, and then use a kitchen scale and some plastic bags to divide it up into snack packs.

Be More Assertive

We’ve probably all encountered this situation: someone takes all the credit for the work we’ve done. There are a number of ways of handling this without seeming like a crybaby. You could casually offer all the supporting documentation that you used to draw up the report to whomever the thief was trying to impress. You could also ask them if they wanted your help explaining any of the details behind it. From these helpful offers, everyone will soon see who is the high-performing team player and who the sneak.

Being sabotaged in any relationship can be an unpleasant experience. But, it doesn’t have to be the end of the relationship if you set your boundaries and assert your right to live on your own terms, with your own goals and boundaries.