The Driver on the Road to Self-Sabotage

The driver on the road to self-sabotage is Ego, and fear fuels the car. @KarenZeigler tweet


Road Trip Destination – The Goal

Have you ever set out towards a goal only to find yourself stuck on the side of the road or arrive to find out it’s the wrong goal! It’s easy to understand the common behaviors of self-sabotage like procrastination or self-medicating the fear with food, drugs, or technology.  I said easy to understand, not easy to stop. But what about when taking the action you think is right, and suddenly there’s a train wreck, or the discovery yet again, you’ve arrived at the wrong destination. We arrive at that place, with the preverbal knot on our head, wondering how the heck did that happened! It’s as if someone else was driving.

Let me introduce you to your driver – Ego

Indeed there is someone else driving! His name is Ego. I have named mine Edgar. I grew up in church and always thought Ego = pride. And yeah, that’s part of it, but my what a small part. After studying ego for a while, here’s my description.  Ego is the false self (as opposed to the authentic self) that is created in childhood to survive life and feel relatively safe, loved and accepted.  The ego resides in our mind. The more childhood trauma, the bigger and more empowered the Ego becomes. However, even a healthy childhood can lead to ego, as every child begins life with the desire to please the adults in their life. I talked briefly about Ego in yesterday’s post. We all have that voice in our heads that tells us we’re stupid; screams don’t do that and thinks he knows everything. That’s ego. Here are some common thoughts or indications that Ego is in the Driver’s seat.

Indications Ego is in the Drivers Seat

  • Focus on the competition. Envy and jealousy may be present.
  • Always judging our actions. The steps we take are good, bad, right, or wrong. These judgments are not moral judgments but based solely on how the actions were received.
  • Plan, scheme, and devise. Not necessarily with evil intent. Constant planning, scheming and devising towards the noblest of goals is still Ego in the driver’s seat.
  • Sees the imperfections in others
  • Spots the pride in others quickly and applies different levels of pride. Our own, of course, not being as bad as another person
  • Default actions originate from a place of fear. Fear’s hard to detect unless we begin asking ourselves: How can I act from a place of love?
  • Autonomy is attractive.  Ego’s likes to isolate us. Whether it’s better than someone, not good enough or the thought that “let me just do my thing.”  Your thing regardless of how wonderful it is requires others to be a success.
  • Always analyzing – before, during or after the fact.
  • Believe yourself to be: distant, emotionally shallow or uninvolved. Separated from others or God by a false belief.
  • Questions to raise doubt. It’s the “what about this?” “what if…?” “what will (insert important person) think if you do that?”
  • Thoughts like “I need to pull myself together” “I’m falling apart” “I think I’m going mad!” Any idea that implies there are more than one of you.  Because technically with the Ego in the driver seat there is. The false self that we want so desperately to portray to the world (for fear of not being accepted, loved, etc.) and the authentic self.

The Fuel in Ego’s Car

Take some time to ponder the list above, and you will understand that the fuel for each and every one is fear. Fear of success, fear of failure, fear of not being loved, accepted or worthy. When Ego is driving, and fear fuels the car, the destination is always self-sabotage. First, we must become aware of how ego is driving our life. Second, we must become conscious of the fear that is fueling the trip. Lastly, we must reject that fear and choose faith. While Ego operates out of fear, faith is love in action.

Grab your journal; it’s your turn to grow

Take a few moments and reflect on where ego is showing up the most in your life:

  1. List the telltale signs ego is driving in this area of life?
  2. Identify the fear(s) that is fueling ego’s trip?
  3. What is the lie (or false belief) behind the fear?
  4. How can I stop Ego’s tirade in my head and allow my actions to come more from my heart? How can I begin to operate from a mind of love instead of a mind of fear?



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