How To Stop Sabotaging Your Relationships E41

Podcast episodes on Relationships | 0 comments

Written by #WWR

December 12, 2022

In episode 41, we talk about the behaviours that contribute to sabotaging your relationships. Becoming conscious about what we do in relationships is fascinating work, but it can also be painful.

Our guest, Relationships Therapist, Charisse Cooke explains that most of what we do is unconscious; we’re unaware of what we’re doing or even why.

How do we acknowledge and learn from mistakes? Are we carrying generational trauma into our current relationships? Are we translating our partner’s love language? Charisse sits down with Sareta as they discuss ways to communicate, better understand partners, and have loving, healthy relationships.

Charisse has been a therapist for 17 years and has been in a relationship for 14. She understands the traps we inevitably fall into and the destructive patterns of negative behaviour we may exhibit.

She’s fascinated by relationship psychology, and educating people about achieving their dreams of having relaxed, fun, sexy relationships is a part of her mission. “Love with everything you have, without fear of sabotaging what you want”, Charisse says.

With relationships being one of the most minor understood subjects, putting time and effort into understanding how you behave in your partnerships will improve them. Fully committing to changing in ways rooted in fearlessness, respect and loving fiercely will transform them.

How to Stop Sabotaging your relationships

Attachment Styles


Psychologists John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth developed attachment theory: How our parents or guardians cared for us in our first five years played a pivotal role in our emotional development.

Due to this, we developed an attachment style that informs how we behave within our relationships, including close friendships, romantic partnerships, and even with family.

Our attachment styles are divided into two categories: secure and insecure.

Charisse explained that knowing your attachment style is a valuable way to understand how we relate to others and how they relate to us. It can give us a roadmap to help move forward, as it can be baffling not knowing why your relationship isn’t working, no matter how hard you both may be trying.


They show emotion and affection in a relationship while maintaining a sense of autonomy and independence, i.e. not letting the relationship become all-consuming. They’re generally able to work through and move forward from conflict easily. 

A secure attachment style forms when caregivers quickly and sensitively give a child the support they need while still giving them space to develop their own autonomy. When parents consistently recognise and attend to their child’s needs, the child trusts they are there for them.


Those with an anxious-preoccupied attachment style may doubt the relationship’s strength, feel unreasonably jealous, or harbour constant fears that their partner will leave.

You might have an anxious-preoccupied attachment style if your caregivers were inconsistent and unpredictable with their attentiveness. With this style, caregivers tend to be overprotective and/or excessively hold and touch the child.


People with a dismissive-avoidant attachment style may see themselves as independent and refrain from asking for help. They might deny themselves emotional intimacy because they don’t want to be perceived as needy, and they may reject such openness from others.

When caregivers dismiss a child’s emotional needs or treat them in a detached, aloof way, the child might eventually stop communicating their emotional needs altogether, as they believe it has no effect.

This helps explain why dismissive-avoidant styles often have trouble expressing emotion and affection to their partners.


People with a fearful-avoidant style often crave a close relationship. Still, they feel unworthy of love or afraid of losing intimacy once they have it.

Because of their insecurities around love, they tend to avoid intimacy and suppress feelings that arise. The fearful-avoidant might feel intense love for a new partner, but when things start to get serious, they panic and search for reasons the relationship could never work.

If caregivers subjected children to abuse, neglect or rejection, or if they were volatile or unpredictable, causing you to fear, you may have a fearful-avoidant attachment style.


People with a disorganised attachment style want and crave love but experience severe stress and fear in relationships. They’re often overcome with low self-esteem and talk themselves into believing that no one will love them. They may rely heavily on their partner to ease their stress or anxiety if they are in a relationship.

They may never feel at ease in a relationship because of a lack of trust and a fear of abandonment.

A disorganised attachment style is often rooted in unresolved trauma. This may be trauma experienced as a child or inherited from a parent who faced severe emotional hardship in their own life.

What does a healthy relationship look like in one word? Relaxed.” – Charisse Cooke
Charisse explains that therapy is a process. As a professional therapist, she offers clients support by exploring the origins of their struggles and issues.

She guides her clients to raise their awareness to understand their patterns and processes. She teaches her clients what to begin noticing so they can see what behaviours are problematic and explore how to overcome them. By reflecting on the past, clients can understand what they’ve learnt that may not have been helpful and is still impacting them today.

Charisse has some fantastic information and guides on her site that help clients work towards stopping sabotaging their relationships.


Charisse Cooke - Therapist - How to Stop Sabotaging your relationships

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Charisse Cooke, your online therapist


Instagram: @CharisseCooke

TikTok: CharisseCookeOfficial

Twitter: @CharisseCooke3

YouTube: @charissecooke4039

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