Master Your Life and Stop Self-Sabotage (Book Review)

By Nora Dunn on 6 February 2009 4 comments
Photo: Amazon

You almost get that job promotion you yearn so badly for, but things fall through at the last minute. Every time your love life gets serious, the relationship blows apart. You would like to have a better paying job with more time off, but after years of trying unsuccessfully to get there, you figure your lot in life is just to work long hours for meager pay as a single parent. You want more, but don’t truly believe you deserve it.


Whether or not you realize it, scenarios like the ones above (and so many more) are a function of self-sabotage, as illustrated in Stop Self-Sabotage. The author, Pat Pearson, brings years of experience as a psychotherapist and speaker to this informative book that encourages us all to re-examine the conscious and unconscious internal voices that prevent us from achieving our true potential.


A common theme throughout the book is your personal Deserve Level, a quotient that is made up of your beliefs, self-esteem, self-confidence, and permission from your past. Almost everything relates back to the Deserve Level in one form or another. Ultimately you would not sabotage yourself if you believed you deserved that which you are sabotaging.


An example of the easy techniques weaned from the book that we can all use to improve our self-talk is to switch negatives to positives. Instead of saying “I don’t want to gain weight,” and “I don’t want to be in debt,” try saying “I want to be healthy, trim, and fit,” and “I want to create all the income I need for my lifestyle choices.” The mind has a habit of focusing on the subject of your sentences, regardless of the “don’t” worked in there. So focusing on not wanting to gain weight for example, saddles your brain with the words “gain weight”. So guess what happens? Yup – you gain weight.


But affirmations, visualizations, and reframing statements are not new in the world of self-help books. Where Stop Self-Sabotage differentiates itself from other books is in defining the five different ways we sabotage ourselves. Real life examples are provided (including those of celebrities and political figures, which are especially entertaining), along with techniques to avoid these pitfalls.


These sabotage strategies are:

  • Throwing-It-Away Sabotage Strategy
  • Settling-For-Less Sabotage Strategy
  • Resignation Sabotage Strategy
  • Fatal-Flaw Sabotage Strategy
  • Denial Sabotage Strategy


Pearson also explores the nature of communication, along with identification of and tips to avoid the typical pitfalls that sabotage our relationships – both personal and work-related.


She points out that:

“The American Psychiatric Association now asserts that ordinary low-grade depression is no longer a psychiatric disorder because everybody has it. What a comment about our society – in America it’s normal to be depressed! As a culture we have so conspired not to feel, not to express, that all those unacknowledged feelings have turned inward and depressed us.”


The format of Stop Self-Sabotage takes a hands-on, participatory workbook style, with relevant questions and exercises to work through at the end of each chapter. It is a self-help book that will do more than gather dust on your shelf after reading it; if you use it fully, it will be a weather-beaten manual that helps you open a new chapter in your life.


Did reading it change my life? No. (However it might have if my situation were different, or if I were reading it a few years ago). But it did make me aware of the various techniques we use to prevent ourselves from reaching our full potential, and I now recognize these sabotage strategies in both myself and others. I can only imagine that my life now will be that much better for it.


Anybody who is finding themselves constantly up against the proverbial brick wall or behind the eight ball in life would do well to pick up a copy of Stop Self-Sabotage for themselves.




Disclosure: The author received a free copy of the book in return for this review.


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Guest's picture

Sounds about right. I get that sometimes when working out. I hit a 'brick wall' My mind thinks I can't go on, but I can usually manage a few more reps. Sometimes you gotta fight through it.


Guest's picture

One thing I don't understand is how some people are ascribed (by others) BOTH a high AND a low "deserve level".

e.g. Person A might say that Person B has a "sense of entitlement" and therefore presumably a high deserve level. On the other hand, Person C might say that Person B does not succeed because they have a low deserve level.

So which is it? How can people ascribe opposite deserve levels to one person?

Guest's picture

Sounds like psychobabble.

Guest's picture

ahh, same ol' stuff in a different package.