Ask Sam letter


To Sam


hi sam,

i was recently talking to one of childlines counsellors and came to a realisation. i am self-sabotaging myself.

i am not working in my classes and kind of hoping someone realises that im not doing as well as i seem.

i wonder why this is? can you tell me a bit more about what this means and how i can help myself. i struggle to talk to people so it would be great if you can give me some tips to be able to bring this up to someone i trust.

thank you

Ask Sam


Hi there

Talking about your feelings and what's happening in your life is a good way to understand your feelings better. Some behaviours and thoughts might not be very obvious to you until you open up and ask someone for support.

Self-sabotage means making things go wrong for yourself in some way and you might be doing it without knowing. You might self-sabotage because you don’t feel very confident about yourself or that you don’t deserve to be happy or successful. Sometimes it’s a way of trying to get people to notice you, or something you learned to do when you were younger because that's what people around you did. Building your confidence and self-esteem can make it easier to feel that it’s okay for good things to happen to you.

We all have patterns of behaviour, some we're aware of and some we're not. Talking about your behaviour and your relationships with family and friends can help you to see where you're repeating unhelpful patterns. That way, you can change what you do the next time you are in a similar situation.

Giving yourself the time and space to talk about things that are affecting you can help you to see what areas of your life you're finding most difficult. Sometimes you might find that how you react to things makes you feel worse than the actual thing or person that you feel stressed about. One way to do this is to make a diary of your day - writing down what you did, what happened because of it and how you felt.​ Looking back on this diary after a while can help you spot patterns that you couldn't see at the time.

You can ask for help and support from a trusted adult, like a parent, carer or teacher or from a Childline counsellor. If talking is difficult it might help to try 121 online chat or you could write an email so that you have more time to think about what you want to say. Asking for help isn’t always easy, especially if you feel that you should be able to cope on your own. Remember that everyone needs help at some point and it’s a brave thing to admit you're struggling.

I hope my advice helps.

Take care,


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter