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Growth Mindset

Discover Your Saboteurs: The Avoider

illustration of person with paper bag over head represent

Published June 18, 2024
by Positive Intelligence

Saboteurs are internal adversaries that lurk within your mind. They sabotage your efforts, triggering self-doubt and hindering your progress. Among these internal foes, the Avoider Saboteur stands out for its tendency to evade challenges, procrastinate, and resist facing discomfort. Here’s what you need to know about the Avoider Saboteur to overcome its influence in your life.

What Are Saboteurs?

Saboteurs are deeply ingrained patterns of thinking and behavior that limit your potential and hinder your ability to perform at your best. They are internal critics that operate based on fear, self-doubt, and negative self-talk. Saboteur patterns can manifest in various forms, such as the Controller, the Hyper-Achiever, the Victim, and more. Each Saboteur has a unique way of sabotaging your wellbeing and success.

Meet the Avoider

The Avoider Saboteur is a master of evasion, steering you away from difficult tasks, uncomfortable emotions, and necessary confrontations. It focuses on the positive and pleasant in an extreme way.

The Avoider causes anxiety about what you have been procrastinating as well as fear about your hard-won peace being interrupted. This fear can lead to suppressing anger and resentment rather than expressing emotions in a healthy way. What you avoid doesn’t go away but festers.

Additionally, when you deny conflicts and don’t address negatives, you cannot turn challenges into gifts and opportunities. For example, when you feel numb to pain, you cannot harvest the wisdom and power that can come from it.

How to Recognize the Avoider

Here’s what to look out for as the Avoider tries to impose its lies and limiting beliefs on you.

The Original Survival Function of the Avoider

The Avoider Saboteur could stem from a happy or a difficult childhood. In a happy childhood, you may not have learned the resiliency of dealing with difficult emotions. If you experienced high conflict and tension in childhood, the Avoider might have originated to play peacemaker. It may also manifest as a way of preventing more negativity and tension on top of your existing family tensions.

Characteristics of the Avoider

The Avoider Saboteur avoids conflict and has difficulty saying no. It resists others through passive-aggressive means rather than directly. The Avoider gets lost in comforting routines and habits and procrastinates unpleasant tasks.

The Avoider also keeps relationships superficial through conflict avoidance. Other people may trust the Avoider less as they are unsure when the Avoider is withholding negative information.

Thoughts Caused by the Avoider

  • This is just too unpleasant. 
  • Maybe if I let it go, it will take care of itself.
  • If I deal with this now, I will hurt others’ feelings. I’d rather not.
  • If I get into conflict with others, I might lose my connection with them. 
  • I have found balance. I don’t want to mess with it. 
  • I’d rather give someone else their way than create a scene.

Lies the Avoider Tells

  • You are a good person to spare others’ feelings. 
  • No good comes out of conflict. 
  • It is good to be flexible. 
  • Someone needs to be the peacemaker.

How to Overcome the Influence of the Avoider

Command Your Mind to Quiet the Avoider

1. The first thing to remember is that if you’re in negative emotion for more than a second, you’re in Saboteur mode. You must label your thoughts and emotions at that moment as Saboteur and let them go. To be able to do that, you need to have studied your Saboteurs (including the Avoider) and discredited their lies and limiting beliefs. Take the Saboteur Assessment to get started.

2. The next step is to perform a PQ Rep, which is a 10-second hyper-focus on one of your senses. PQ Reps are powerful ways to command your mind to quiet the region where your Saboteurs live and activate the region where your Sage (positive self) lives. Every time you intercept the Avoider or your other Saboteurs, do PQ Reps to pause and choose a more positive response. Visit the PQ Gym to try some guided PQ Reps.

Minimize the Influence of the Avoider

In addition to intercepting the Avoider and performing PQ Reps, try these techniques to minimize the Avoider’s influence in your life:

1. Set Clear Goals: Define achievable goals and break them into manageable tasks. Focus on taking one step at a time to help prevent procrastination.

2. Challenge Perfectionism: Each time you make a mistake, think of ways to use it as an opportunity for learning and growth.

3. Practice Mindfulness: Cultivate awareness of your avoidant tendencies and the underlying emotions that accompany them. Practice labeling these emotions as Saboteur and let them go.

4. Create a Support System: Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, family, mentors, or coaches who can provide feedback and perspective. Share your challenges openly and seek to explore growth opportunities.

5. Visualize Success: Use visualization techniques to imagine successful outcomes and overcome the fear of failure. Focus on the positive benefits of taking action.

Cultivating Mental Resilience

While the Avoider Saboteur may temporarily relieve discomfort or fear, its tactics ultimately hinder growth, success, and wellbeing. By understanding the Avoider’s traits and strengthening your ability to quiet the Avoider, you can reclaim control over your thoughts and behaviors. In doing so, you address the root causes of avoidance, strengthen your mental resilience, and lay the foundation for continuous personal and professional growth.

Explore how the PQ Program for mental fitness can help you and your team intercept your Saboteurs to improve performance, team dynamics, and wellbeing.

Discover Your Saboteurs

The first step to conquering your Saboteurs is to identify them and expose their lies and limiting beliefs.

Take the Assessment
Saboteur Assessment animation

Overcome Your Saboteurs

Intercepting your Saboteurs is crucial for success, and it starts with understanding how they affect you.

Read the Blog Post