Self-destruction: 5 common behaviors we destroy ourselves with — causes and functions

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What is self-destruction?

Self-destruction has more than one name — for some people it is constant self-punishment, for others it is “getting ahead of themselves”, still others consciously destroy themselves by falling into serious addictions. To understand this term, it is best to explain what exactly self-destruction is in psychology.

What are the causes of self-harm?

The causes of self-harm are most often associated with negative memories. If we were unappreciated by our parents, experienced a tumultuous relationship, or were rejected in social settings, our self-esteem has likely plummeted. However, low self-esteem is not the same as self-destruction — in fact, we only behave in a self-destructive way when we act to our own detriment instead of trying to fight against adversity and negative thoughts.

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What are the functions of self-harm?

Even though self-destructive actions are difficult to understand, they have specific functions for the person who uses them in his or her life and serve something specific.

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Self-destructive behaviour

Self-destructive behaviour can be defined as acting against oneself — but how does it manifest itself most often?

Destroying relationships

Sometimes people with self-destructive personalities deliberately destroy relationships full of happiness. They point out that they are not worthy of sacrifice and love with such vehemence, as if they wanted to bring about the breakdown of the relationship, after which they could put themselves in the position of a rejected and unwanted person. Why is this so? Self-destructive personalities sometimes feel comfortable in their “loser role” — paradoxically, the more drama going on around them, the more fulfillment they feel.


As long as we use drugs moderately and for pleasure, we are not self-destructive. But if pleasure turns into need, and we don’t find joy in anything else, we damage not only our health, but also — our mind. An addicted person with a self-destructive personality knows very well that he or she is destroying their life — the biggest problem is that they accept this state of affairs.

Denying success

The natural response to success is joy and contentment. People with a tendency to self-destruct feel sadness or embarrassment instead — they look for the smallest flaws and faults in their project or achievement, rather than seeing the very essence of success or social appreciation.

Skin biting, hair pulling

Self-harm is mostly associated with self-harming your body. However, not many people are aware that self-destructive behavior also includes pulling out hair, eyebrows or biting nails or cuticles around them.

“I’m not going to make it anyway”.

Self-destruction includes not only direct actions, but also clipping your wings. Some people deliberately stand still and take no action that can improve their situation. They’d rather complain about not achieving celebrity success than take fate into their own hands and do as much as they can to make their lives better.



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