“I got so drunk last night, when I woke this morning, there was this guy lying besides me, I did not even know his name.”
Have you ever experienced this or know someone who has? If the answer is yes, you or someone you know sounds as if you may have a self-destructive behavior.
According to Michaele P. Dunlap a clinical psychologist, we are self-destructive when we eat poorly trying to keep our bodies too thin, when we overeat to obesity, when we gain weight and diet in endless cycle of self-deception and self-blame about our eating and our weight gain.
There are many titles for the next self-destructive behavior, self-inflicted violence, self-injury, self-harm, parasuicide, delicate cutting, self-abuse, self-multilation.
Broadly speaking, self-injury is the act of attempting to alter mood state by inflicting physical harm serious enough to cause tissue damage to one’s body.
What is self-injurious behavior? The forms and severity of self-injury can vary, although the most commonly seen behavior is cutting, burning and head banging. Others forms of self-injurious behavior include: carving, biting, scratching, bruising, branding, hitting, marking, picking, pulling skin, burning/abrasions and hair.
Also according to Dr. Dunn, we are self-destructive if we are using drugs to control emotions, when we spend beyond our means, when we are sexual in ways that cause us to lose respect, when we keep ourselves in personal relationships that cause us to feel inferior, abused or taken advantage of.
We are self-destructive when we neglect our bodies and not give them rest and exercise, overworking, overexercising to please others or to make ourselves feel okay.
Everyday I find myself glued to CNN News and the tumultuous complexities and sadness of the late Anna Nicole Smith’s life. It seems daily, another skeleton falls out of the closet or another roach crawls out of the wood work wanting a piece of the money action. This was a self -destructive person whose bad decisions may have been the reasons behind the mysterious death of her and her son Daniel.
Gia Carangi the beautiful model who became famous in the late 1970’s died of the HIV/AIDS virus. Gia modeled for Gianni Versace and her face covered magazines as Cosmopolitan and Vogue. Her self-destruction was the result of hard partying and drugs. She died the year 1980 not even in her thirties.
Today Lindsay Lohan, Brittney Spears, Paris Hilton are young Hollywood rich starlettes that also seem on the highway of self-destruction, with their parties, multiple male partners, alcohol or drugs, just bad decisions. These young women are role models, idols to millions of little girls and look at the example they are setting. Can these young women be helped in time?
We are self-destructive when we stifle our legitimate angers, when we turn disappointments into contempt for ourselves, avoid attempting our ambitions because we will not accomplish them perfectly.
I can relate to not attempting ambitions because we will not accomplish them perfectly. I want to be a motivational speaker with my poetry. March 15, I had a chance to recite my poetry on stage in order to participate in a big even in Charlotte, for the 4 Sisters Only Weekend Event reciting my poetry. I knew a week ahead of time when the recitals would be, I could have started practing before the date arrived. I did not , I waited for the last minute until I got the directions to the place, it took me 70 minutes for a twenty five minute drive, which resulted in me being late. I did not do anything that proved that I really wanted this audition. In the back of my mind, I kept telling myself I would not win if I tried. I kept changing my about going on but at the last minute I decided to. Well I did not win but I got exposure and I found out that I loved being on that stage reciting my poetry. There is another chance next week to try again, and this time I am going to be ready. If I kept listening to that negative voice, or doing things to jeopardize my chance at trying, I would not have at least tried. I am afraid of success as much as I am of failure, it prevents me from going for my dreams.
We are self-destructive when we make others responsible for our lives, by blaming them, an attitude of helplessness, by belieiving and behaving as if we have no capacity to change or manage our lives effectively and pleasurably.
Self-destruction is ruination of one’s life, murder, suicide. Clinical reports suggest that many adults who engage in self-destructive behavior have childhood histories of trauma and disrupted parental care.
Self-destruction for me also is not taking my medication for depression and waking up to a world of sadness. Instead of getting out of my bed and try to connect with the world, I will wallow in my bed in my room away from everyone. I also self-destruct when I never try to see the positive side of anything, always the negative. Negative energy breeds negative energy that other people possess and this draws that negative person to me. Instead of turning around and running the minute I know that this person is no good for me it seems I run straight towards them. I stick around and usually end emotionally distraught. Having a check book is self-destruction for me also, the service fees take me down, because I do not keep good balancing ledgers. I did the only thing about this that I could do, stop writing checks.
Self-destruction comes from when we feel ashame of our bodies because we don’t think we’re pretty enough, or thin enough.
Self-destruction comes from shame of competence, never thinking you can do anything right or having belief in yourself.
Self- destruction is shame in a relationship, thinking you do not deserve better, especially if you’re getting abused.
Self-destruction is shame about our character, thinking of only your negative character flaws, instead of building up on the positive.
Addictions, compulsions, all the forms of self-destructive behavior are self-awareness, self-responsibility, and a well developed process of personal choice.
In order to stop being self-destructive we need to recognize we have a problem. Sometimes quitting one self-destructive behavior can be replaced by another. Confronting the problem can mean confronting new emotions and memories.
The key to moving past a self-destructive behavior are self-awareness, self-responsibility and a well developed process of personal choice.
One positive thing that I have done is to realize the emptiness and lack of love I felt inside could alone be fulfilled by another person. I also had the cliched ephihany that I had to learn to love me before I could share my love or myself with another person. I no longer seek relationships with men to feel complete and I am in a good place.
If you have recognized some of the traits of self- destruction in you, remember you can never be happy neglecting yourself and not getting the best quality out of life that you deserve, these negative feelings and actions will lead to emotional shipwreck.