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October 1, 2023

Support or Sabotage?

Beware there are master manipulators who can disguise sabotage as support. It is usually done under the guise of care and concern.  The sad part is that the master manipulators may even be those closest to us that are high trust relationships.  They can be our family, friends, and work colleagues.  You may have heard some of the following comments:

  • “I want to prevent you from getting hurt!” 
  • “I don’t want them to take advantage of you!”
  • “I don’t want you to make a fool of yourself when you fail!”

Think about your personal and professional life.  Have you ever been challenged with similar statements by a family member, colleague, or someone you thought was your friend?  They may even have made those exact same statements.  If you are like me, you may have put a smile on your face while you winced inside.  The hurt and disappointment may have been too deep to respond amicably.  

When I started my business, I received some very interesting comments from friends.  I say the word friends loosely. 

  • “Judy Kay, when are you going to stop pretending and get a real job?”
  • “Judy Kay, what makes you think you can write a book?”
  • “Judy Kay, orange is not a professional color.”
  • “Judy Kay, you will never hold and audience!”
  • “Judy Kay, you can’t wear a denim jacket on stage!”

So, what’s the why behind sabotaging behaviors?  I have found two consistent weeds at the root of sabotage behavior.

  • Fear of failure sabotage
  • Comparison sabotage

The first weed is Fear Sabotage.  Fear sabotage is fear of failure and is deep rooted.  People will project their fear of failure onto others.  They believe they are protecting others.  The ironic part is that fear is really only a negative prediction of the future.  In most cases, what they worry about doesn’t happen.  What actually happened, they didn’t even think about or worry about, and yet they still survived.  It’s proof that worry is a total waste of energy and time. 

Have you ever changed your mind about doing something because of someone asking, “But what if this happens”?  You’ve just been “what if’d” out of action. 

“Your life is a reflection of what you believe it can be!” ~ Judy Kay Mausolf

Fear of failure manifests itself in many worries.  Fear of not being good enough, fear of not being liked or accepted, fear of judgment or criticism, fear of retaliation, fear of not being able to handle the situation; in essence, simply the fear of “what if”. 

If we can learn to evaluate the real danger, as opposed to the perception of danger (what if), we will get a more realistic viewpoint and we will be less afraid to act. Whether or not we act will be based on our confidence in being able to handle the situation versus other’s what ifs. 

The second weed is Comparison Sabotage.  Comparison Sabotage has everything to do with the limiting beliefs of the other person.  It has nothing to do with us and our capabilities.  I love this quote, “When we compare someone always loses.”  The comparer’s limiting beliefs are:

  • I am not worthy therefore why do you think you are?
  • I am willing to settle why aren’t you?
  • I can’t do it so what makes you think you can?

“What others think of you has very little to do with who you really are!” ~ Judy Kay Mausolf

How do we recognize the difference between support and sabotage? 


  • Their opinion is always right
  • Ultimatums their suggestions are ignored
  • Deflect when challenged

The saboteur will deflect when questioned about their limiting beliefs.  They see it as a personal attack.   They will redirect the focus, blame, or criticism away from themselves.  It is an attempt to avoid dealing with negative consequences. It is also a reactive coping mechanism to avoid feelings of guilt and shame.  At its worst is a narcissistic manipulation tactic to avoid ownership and accountability. 


  • Open to other’s opinions even when it doesn’t align with theirs
  • Willingness to initiate change initiated by someone other than them
  • Take ownership and admit to mistakes

Supporters will support you even when your dreams are bigger than theirs. Surround yourself with supporters who believe in you and are excited to help you achieve your dreams!

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