Sabotage of relationships is a fascinating phenomenon that, as a therapist, I’ve observed and studied over many years. There are some people – of either sex – who will establish a relationship, usually fixing its duration at the start (say for three months – to the day), then move on to someone else, and keep repeating the sequence. At first, the behaviour is unconscious, but then it often becomes quite a conscious pattern that is enacted compulsively. The saboteur appears to seek out partners, knowing full well beforehand that the relationship will get nowhere. The victims often say that, on retrospect, the relationship was too good, too soon.
The motivation for the strange cyclical behaviour appears to involve controlling and punishing impulses. The cause appears to me to be a difficult and antagonistic childhood with the parent of the opposite sex, or a very traumatic first adult relationship, where the person virtually vows revenge on other members of that sex.
The string of victims of saboteurs of course wonder what on earth they’ve done wrong to be dumped so unceremoniously and make attempts to contact the saboteur for an explanation – only to be slapped down again. The reward for the saboteur seems to be the rather unusual pleasure of emotionally hurting the other person – the revenge aspect. Often, the saboteur will have encouraged the victim to build up grand and public plans for the couple – simply to evaporate them in an instant.
What can be done therapeutically? For each saboteur there may be dozens of victims, so the main work involves reframing the victims’ devastated state of mind. When the ‘sabotage sequence’ is realised by the victim, there is usually much relief. They may recognise, philosophically, that they’ve been used, and that it is in fact the saboteur who has a major problem.
It seems not to be the case that the victim somehow attracts the saboteur. There is usually only one such encounter, so it is more probable that the saboteur finds suitable victims.
In some victims who have been deeply hurt, they may find, through hypnotic regression, that part of the inordinate sense of loss is a replay of a real or mistaken feeling of abandonment that they felt in a particular situation from childhood. The acceptance of that truth can be deeply healing.
The saboteurs themselves seem to be stuck in time at a moment when they felt a strong emotional hurt. It is as if part of their mind split away at that moment and has remained fixed in time – hence the immature attitude.
A special therapeutic procedure is used to reintegrate such a ‘sub-personality’ that formed at the time of the original trauma.
If, from this, you recognise yourself as a possible saboteur, or a victim, hypnotherapy maybe just the route to discover what is really going on in your relationship.
We offer treatment for relationship sabotage in Egham, Surrey, London, etc.