What Triggers Your Saboteur?


It’s rare to grow up in a healthy home. Each parent, every family system, has broken, dysfunctional qualities which unintentionally shape us. As a child, you learned certain words, emotions, and topics to hide from parental figures, lest you encounter their disapproval. During adolescence, you further developed defense mechanisms that protected you from the harm of others crossing over your physical, emotional, or spiritual boundaries. But now, your limiting behaviors can become unhealthy patterns that impact your relationships as an adult. The “Saboteur” inside of you is triggered if it senses a similar situation from the past. Consider the following examples of how unhealthy boundaries as a child can play out in adulthood.

  • As a child, becoming angry was frowned on. Now, your boss is upset with you, and you’ll do anything to lessen his anger. Your Saboteur is triggered to appease your boss at any cost.

  • Your image and performance were overly important growing up. Now, you struggle to let your guard down. Your Saboteur keeps you from intimate connections, so your persona doesn’t look bad and your weaknesses aren’t discovered.

As a child, what behaviors or emotions did your parents criticize? What feelings or needs were you afraid to share around them? Becoming a healthy person means exploring the under-developed and locked-away domains of your thoughts and feelings. When your Saboteur is awakened, avoid the natural response of blaming others. It’s easy to fault others for the intense feelings inside of you. It takes great maturity, however, to realize that, when your Saboteur is aroused by someone else, it is your opportunity to examine your turmoil and manage the scary emotions. Although counter-intuitive, entering the chaos is the pathway to greater freedom and health. Consider taking the step of faith to look inward with an open heart and to listen to God’s loving counsel.


Dave Wenzel

Integer Network Coach

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