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How Do We Become Self-Destructive?

Posted on March 27, 2019

How Do We Become Self-Destructive?

For many of us living with addiction and mental health issues, we experience a disturbing trend that is unfortunately very common – the overwhelming desire to self-destruct. Our thoughts revolve around how we can harm ourselves. We suffer from low self-esteem and a tainted self-image. Our self-perception is based on self-hatred, self-judgment, and self-rejection. How do we become so self-destructive? What is it that is feeding our need to self-sabotage? Why do we put ourselves in harm’s way and engage in dangerous behaviors? Why do we make choices that we know aren’t good for us? Why do we stay in abusive relationships? Why do we use toxic substances and behaviors to make ourselves feel better? Why do we avoid healing? For many of us, the answer to these questions can be found in the way we’ve responded to our traumatic experiences over the years. When we suppress our pain, we never heal from it, and we develop self-blaming and self-hating patterns that overtake our entire lives.


Trauma As Fuel For Self-Destruction

Trauma is a universal part of human nature. Some of us realize that our trauma is not our fault, and we don’t internalize it as a reason to blame or hate ourselves. Some of us, on the other hand, see our trauma as evidence of our inadequacy, our shame, and immorality. We see the ways in which other people have hurt us as being our fault. We grow up thinking that we’re not good enough. We develop inadequacy complexes where we constantly feel as though we’re inferior to other people, as though we don’t measure up. We think our having been abused was because we somehow willed it to happen, because we’re bad people.

Some of us grew up in families that were overly critical, controlling or judgmental. We may have been emotionally neglected. As such, we didn’t develop healthy coping skills for our difficult thoughts and emotions. We didn’t learn how to process our experiences in ways that helped us make sense of them. We’re left with years of confusion and angst to unpack and investigate, to learn the truth underlying our emotions. Until we do that work, though, we often resort to self-destructiveness to feed our intense need to hurt ourselves, to punish ourselves, to right our wrongs. When we feel we’re not good enough or that we are to blame for something, no matter how small, we can keep ourselves stuck in cycles of self-blame, self-sabotage, and self-punishment.

Self-destructive behaviors, as well as trauma and stressor-related disorders, can be addressed with specialized therapies. These therapies help the sufferer heal by allowing them to reprocess the memories or reactions associated with the experience. Likewise, this can help the person develop healthier coping strategies that promote long-term wellness. Though it requires courage to seek help, those of us who do often find that it was well worth is.

Origins Behavioral Healthcare is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance abuse, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety.

For information on our programs,

call us today:  561-841-1296