Does your spouse or friend sabotage himself or herself?
We all THINK we know the signs that someone was sexually victimized: Depression, addiction, cutting, excessive anger, criminal behavior, suicidal tendencies, low self-esteem and inability to form or keep intimate relationships.
If only it were so simple. . .If only ALL victims responded to their pain in these predictable ways.
One common response to abuse: self-sabotage. And it’s frustrating when we see a partner, friend or loved one do this.
Have you ever said anything like this:
“She dates nice guys. Everything seems to go well. But out of left field, she tells us she’s dumped another one for some reason that always seems petty.”
“He gets good jobs and works hard, but after a few months, he gets irritated and blows up at his boss or a co-worker and ends up suddenly quitting or getting fired.”
“She’s just one class short of getting her GED. But she won’t take that one final step.”
We may think these kinds of frustrating situations show irrational behavior. But they may show something else: self-sabotage stemming from sexual violence.
We are Horowitz law are not psychiatrists or psychologists. But many mental health professionals have told us that victims of rape or childhood sexual abuse sometimes feel, deep down (and perhaps unconsciously) that they’re “not worthy” or “dirty” or “flawed.” They may feel like at some level they don’t deserve a good career or solid relationship. So they unconsciously undermine their own success.
So if someone you care about seems to self-sabotage, you might do well to gently probe a bit and ask them if they suffered a deep betrayal. You may help them gain self-awareness and get on a path toward recovery.