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Are Money Saboteurs at Work?

What is a Money Saboteur?

When we’re born, we’re hard-wired with certain behaviors. Other behaviors we learn. Both matter. If you were a sensitive child growing up in an abusive household you learned to be hyper vigilant. If you were ignored by your parents, you probably learned to earn love by excelling in school or doing all the right things. If you experienced fights over money growing up, it’s likely you’ll avoid money matters as an adult.

While these behaviors may have served us early on as survival mechanisms, over time they can become a source of stress, anxiety, self-doubt, and frustration. In the system of Positive Intelligence® created by Shirzad Chamine, these survival mechanisms are called “Saboteurs,” and we all have them to one extent or another. The “Master Saboteur” or Judge is considered universal because you can count on it to remind you of your shortcomings, mistakes, and excuses. This Judge activates other “Accomplice Saboteurs” that can hijack your mind and get in the way of progress. The nine accomplices include the Hyper Achiever, Hyper Rational, Stickler, Pleaser, Victim, Controller, Restless, Hyper Vigilant, and Avoider.

Though there are other assessments and ways to understand our money behaviors, I like the Positive Intelligence model because it offers a system for detecting the lies we tell ourselves and offers the tools for debunking those lies by building our mental fitness.

Our Saboteurs can do a number on our financial life without us even knowing it. For example, when I first heard my Judge, she was menacing and mean. She stood over me saying, “Who are you to make more money?” When my Hyper-Achiever Saboteur steps up, I hear, “No matter how hard you work, it won’t be enough.”

Some common examples of saboteurs at work include under-earning, overspending, overworking, and holding onto money. For example, if your Hyper-Achiever is in charge, you may be inclined toward prioritizing work over family, health, or play. If your Pleaser is in charge, you may try to buy love instead of believing you're lovable just as you are. If you work hard and do "all the things" you and still struggle to feel like you're doing enough, your master Judge may be telling you you'll never be enough no matter what you do.

As you can imagine, better understanding your money saboteurs could make a big difference in your life on multiple dimensions.


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