You know those people that just exhaust you and it seems like every interaction with them seems to be a challenge?
We are going to call these people “saboteurs” for the sake of this blog series. This word saboteur is an archetype. An archetype is a very typical example of a type of person. The saboteur archetype is the type of person that pushes your buttons, triggers you or irritates you. It may feel like this person is engaging to sabotage you. Likely they don’t consciously know they are even doing this to you. I would also bet that you may have not thought about this person in this way before either. I want to share that there are some cases where people are consciously trying to sabotage you, and although this isn’t as common, I will be mentioning it later in the blog series.
The first thing that I want you to remember is that every-single-human-being is surrounded by saboteurs in their social circles. In fact, you might even be one for other people.
These people show up as these archetypal characters to help you grow, should you choose to accept the opportunity.
In my personal experience, if we do not choose to grow through our interactions with saboteurs, then we will continue to attract more and more of these people in our lives.
Have you ever felt like you attract the same kind of people or like you are living patterns with the same experiences happening over and over? Yeah, well, this is a good place to start. Chances are, you probably already have a good idea who the one or two different saboteurs are in your life right now.
A saboteur’s way of showing up in your life can feel toxic at times, they can suck the energy out of you, making you feel exhausted after interactions with them. I would bet that many times you might not even realize that it’s happening. Maybe you’ve known this person for most of your life or you live with them. Maybe you work with them or you only see them at family reunions. Perhaps you never connected the relationship you have with this person and the low energy and exhaustion you feel afterward.
In a moment, I am going to give some examples of how to watch out for these saboteurs.
For today, we’ll establish what you tolerate and say ‘yes’ to and why it’s so important for you to begin working on your NO muscle.
We all have lessons to learn (i.e. mental and emotional healing) from these saboteurs but it doesn’t mean that we need to purposefully engage in behaviors that allow them to drain our energy!
Later in the series, we’ll examine who you surround yourself with and where you need to set boundaries and why this is so important to your overall health.
It should also be noted that sometimes, we don’t have an option to avoid these saboteurs. They may live in our homes, we may work with them. Some of us could move on, some of us don’t have that choice.
There are many people self diagnosing themselves with depression, low self-esteem and anxiety and while I’m not diminishing these real feelings and experiences or missing the important point about taking responsibility for one’s self… sometimes we forget to take a look at who we are surrounded with in our life.
The saboteurs in your life can be your best teachers. Trust me, I know from many experiences. Few relationship experiences can be more powerful than standing up and rising above the old patterns that have you attracting saboteurs in your life. It’s time to acknowledge how you have been functioning in relationships and that it may be time change.
In other words, these saboteurs act like a “mirror” for you to look at your deepest shadows to do the internal work needed to grow. Instead of pointing fingers at them, we learn to look back at ourselves. Make no mistake, this is not always easy work. That is why I have a job helping people as a coach. However it is some of the most important work of our lives.
I want to share with you some characteristics about saboteurs so you can recognize what you have been tolerating.
Before I do that, I want to make an important distinction here. If you remember anything, from this post, remember this:
It may feel at times that we want to blame these saboteurs in our life. We might want to point the finger at them and spend our time and energy talking about them, over and over again. Worrying about them. Rehashing the conversations and issues around them. The reality is that you will not change them. You can only change yourself and that is what I help people to do professionally. So if you need help in this area, reach out to schedule a breakthrough session with me.
Next, remember that because you have been tolerating the following behaviors from these relationships, it ultimately means that you have been saying Yes to them. If you ignore situations or pretend like they don’t exist, you are still saying “yes” on some level to the experience. In part 3 of the series, I’ll discuss the power of saying “NO”.
We must acknowledge that we are not victims to these situations. We must begin to see that our actions, old patterns and ways of coping and dealing with relationships may be tolerating circumstances with people who suck our energy and drain our resources. This directly impacts our health and it’s our job to make sure we make different and necessary choices to protect our health.
Boundaries are the highest form of self care that I know of.
Examples of a saboteur behavior:
- They seem to need you, they seek you out often for things they want from you.
- They search for your support, advice and want anything you have to give.
- They call you to vent and you don’t feel like they ever truly listen to you when you need a shoulder.
- They rarely change their ideas or behaviors, expecting you to be the one who does the changing.
- They will work to negatively impact situations and it may appear that “it can’t be real” that they would do such a thing. You may continue to give them the benefit of the doubt in these situations.
- They pit and turn people against each other, often using a triangulation technique where they often talk about a “third party that is doing everything wrong”. They don’t take responsibility for their own actions or poor choices.
- They bring chaos to situations or overly dramatize events.
- They may have many angry outbursts and consider these a form of justice. They might even blame you for their angry outbursts.
- They may exhaust you. You feel drained after being in their presence.
- They are happy about their unwillingness to change.
- They may be extraordinarily loud or obnoxious.
- They may be the biggest bully in your life.
Note this: Every person has stressful situations and challenging people in their life from time to time. However, if you feel suffocated and emotionally imbalanced, it is because YOU are allowing this saboteur to affect you in a way that is not healthy.
You can blame them or you can grow.
There comes a time when we must take a look at what we are allowing ourselves to tolerate? To question ourselves and why we keep tolerating experiences that do not make us feel good?
It’s not always easy to live with people like saboteurs and it’s our job to draw some lines in the sand and create some safeguards for our own health and well being.
Every person is different with their tolerance to saboteurs. Some find it easy to speak their truth, others struggle for years and others find it extremely challenging. None of these ways is better than the other necessarily because it is based on how we were brought up, our personality, our limiting beliefs and unconscious fears.
Please know this, you may need help to make these changes and I can help you. Also, as we grow ourselves, our self esteem, how we love and approve of ourselves, it allows us to invite in relationships that inspire and lift us up.
In the next blog in this series, we are going to look at who you surround yourself with so you don’t spend precious time and energy that negatively impacts your health.
Remember, saboteurs teach you to see your “shadow” and ego self. You can learn a lot about how you must grow as a human by taking a hard look at these relationships. It is not as much about them, as it is about you.
As always, I love hearing from you. What have you learned about yourself from the saboteurs in your life? What are you willing to commit to? Share with me in the comments below.