Coach's Casebook

The Case of the Self-Sabotager

The Case of the Self-Sabotager


It seems like an unusual question but can we fear too much happiness?

Instinctively we answer no, happiness is what we all crave, but sometimes happiness and its acquisition can cause us emotional problems. Perhaps we feel as though we don’t deserve the happiness we crave.

This is explored in this guest posting by Transformational Coach, Jacqueline Bennett of Wild Inspired Life and it reflects how transformational coaching can create whole life changes.

Ian was  successful in all areas of his life.  He had a fantastic job, beautiful home, happy ex wife and children and lots of nice holidays. Unfortunately, Ian’s love life wasn’t so fulfilling.

The manifesting problem was that Ian was ‘seeing’ several lady friends and felt unhappy about lying to them all about his relative fidelity to one significant other. He also wanted to be able to ‘choose one’ as a life partner, rather than this ‘playing the field.’

Ian felt that his relationship problems were a necessary ‘punishment’ to balance out the other successful areas of his life.  Additioanlly, Ian also believed that if he did a good deed (like helping someone out or buying a nice present) he then had to mitigate that ‘goodness’ with something horrible or nasty.

This emotional balancing act meant that Ian lived every day in a constant state of worry regarding keeping his life in balance; and fearing that he would ‘lose’ everything if he made the wrong move.

These fears were not obvious on the outside but kept Ian in a state of anxiety, which resulted in anger (he would fly off the handle at the smallest setback) and often a low level depression, when he would lock himself away from the world and its troubles.

Ian was also experiencing an unusual lack of interest in sex and had started to worry about that, which exacerbated his depressive thoughts.

Ian contacted me after a period of counselling, which he felt hadn’t worked and wondered if coaching would help, although he was very sceptical that there would be any benefit.

We worked together for six weeks on the telephone with a final session face to face at Fred’s home.

The approach used was a mixture of gentle but challenging questions, the Options Method, Fear of Success Indicator method and a discussion of the Three Principles;

As we progressed through the series of sessions, Ian:

  • Identified and replaced limiting beliefs that were holding him back.  (Ian didn’t feel as though he deserved a happy relationship, a successful business or so much money in his bank account)
  • Identified Ian’s fear of success (his ‘internal happiness contract’ and his ‘internal success contract’) and helped Ian to recognise he could re-write his internal contracts at any point.
  • Learnt the nature of thought and how it creates our reality of the world.
  • Identified the type of relationship he truly wanted and the values that he could bring to that relationship.

In his feedback Ian comments, “following our work together the turning point came when a situation which I felt was the most torrid of my life occurred and for the first time I realised I had a choice about how I dealt with it.
The following month I felt happier in my life than I had for many, many years.
Since then I have dealt with different situations both in my relationships and financial circumstances in a calm and measured way.
Before our work I would have felt I had failed in some way and felt somewhat depressed”.

Through working on a specific challenge area in his life Ian was able to see that the breakthroughs he had experienced during our coaching had also impacted on the rest of his life.

Such is the power of Transformative coaching.

Jacqueline Bennett
To Serve & Inspire Wild Inspired Life

Change the World

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