Last update: January 03, 2018
That someone harms themselves may seem like a lack of logic, a real madness. However, it comes down to a negative impulse that we all have within us, to a greater or lesser extent, and that comes to light in self-destructive people.
Sigmund Freud discovered that we all have an impulse towards life and all that is constructive in it and he called it "life impulse"; but he also found that we have an opposing one, leaning towards death and destruction, and he called it the "death drive."
This would be one of the reasons why, in all times and in all cultures, wars have occurred. It is also the reason why many people develop self-destructive symptoms and behaviors. However, only in some cases, these behaviors are imposed and become permanent personality traits.
Generally speaking, it happens when there is a large component of suppressed anger. In reality, these aggressive impulses are directed towards something else, but, for some reason, it is impossible to express them. Sometimes because they are directed to a loved one, other times because the consequences of giving them a voice are feared.
In these cases, aggression it ends by pouring out on oneself. It is then that the individual learns to behave as his worst enemy and self-destructive personalities are configured. Below we present ten traits to better identify self-destructive people.
Traits of self-destructive people
1. Le idee negative
Self-destructive ideas they include all those thoughts destined to devalue a person, to hinder his progress or demerit his successes. In the mind of a self-destructive person these thoughts arise almost automatically.
Therefore, the propitious context for "self-fulfilling prophecies" occurs: you will not make it, you will not be able, you will not succeed. Their strength is so great that they end up happening. It is also an approach in which the individual always puts the emphasis on what is missing, what was not perfect, what is not or does not have. All of this constitutes a very potent nutrient of self-destruction.
2. Forced passivity or incompetence
In this case, passivity has to do with ceasing to act in the face of a situation or circumstance that it hurts us. It is recognized that something is bad, but steps are not taken to hold or control its effect. It happens when, for example, we do not defend ourselves against abuse or aggression.
Forced incompetence is that inclination to point out the lack or deficiency of skills. Instead of trying, all those personal limitations that make it difficult to achieve something are inflated. Efforts are not made to overcome them, but they turn into a justification for not acting.
3. Eating disorders
The way we eat speaks volumes about what we think and feel about ourselves. Many self-destructive people injure themselves by not eating. They don't provide your body with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
The same happens at the other extreme. Eating too much generates various health problems, both in the short and long term. Sometimes, an insatiable appetite appears. You gorge yourself, but without any satisfaction, you feel rather sadness, guilt and ... the desire to eat more.
4. Hurting others and self-compassion
Self-destructive people many times develop hostile or harmful attitudes towards others. They create unnecessary conflicts or are reckless, coarse, envious, gossip, etc. They see the other, fundamentally, as a source of comparison. Others see them as a source of frustration as their constraints are based on comparisons in which, for an "x" or "y" reason, they always lose.
As a result of such conflicts, it is common for self-destructive people to feel deep self-compassion. They attack but, when answered, they behave like the victims of an unfair attitude. They insult but, when they are insulted, they feel sorry for themselves. They do not admit that the fruit of their harvest is the fruit of what they sowed.
5. Self-harm and substance abuse
Self-harm is sometimes evident, while others are not. Some people deliberately injure themselves: they cut or pull their hair. They also expose themselves to risky situations, which give rise to relatively frequent accidents. Other times this occurs in a less obvious way: with a painful tattoo or piercing on a very sensitive part of the body.
We can speak of self-harm even in the case of abuse of substances that harm the body. The most obvious case is excessive alcohol consumption. Addictions are highly self-destructive and, in their most extreme degree, always lead to death.
6. Social suicide
Social suicide occurs when emotional bonds with others are severed. Generally, it is a gradual process: first the reticence to be with others takes place and, little by little, this results in a progressive isolation.
Self-destructive people isolate themselves and develop a variety of behaviors that are irritating to others. Sometimes they are too demanding or show contempt for others. They only see people's flaws. They believe their conduct of rejection of others is justified.
7. Concealment of emotions and refusal to receive help
For self-destructive people, it is very difficult to be honest with themselves. They cannot admit their feelings and emotions, and unconsciously try to keep them hidden. They make any sort of reasoning to justify their conduct and refuse to admit that they have a problem.
This is why it is also very difficult to help them. If someone advises them to go to a psychologist, they will take it as a sign of aggression and contempt. They may react aggressively if they receive advice or if someone suggests that by changing some behavior, they may be better off. Specifically, these people want to not want to be well and are convinced that circumstances or others are keeping them in this situation.
8. Physical and mental negligence
Self-destructive people tend to forget about their bodies. They do not play sports, nor do they consider it important. They have a negative opinion of their own body and, of course, of the physical pleasure that, for example, sexuality implies. They pay even less attention to personal care. The lack of attention and care of their body is a manifestation of the low self-esteem they feel.
They don't even try to solve their mental problems. If they are insomniac, they accept it and are reluctant to take action about it. If they experience emotional distress, they opt to victimize themselves and not to seek a way to resolve it.
9. Superfluous self-sacrifice
Life often requires making sacrifices. However, they are worth it when they aim for a higher goal. When they are a necessary step to achieve greater well-being. If they simply become a constant suffering, which gives rise to a situation that does not proceed, they correspond to a self-destructive conduct.
There are those who assume that these ongoing self-sacrifices are evidence of nobility, good heart, or altruism.. In reality, they conceal an act of self-sabotage. Behaviors of this type conceal a renunciation of desires, dreams and successes. You maintain a painful or unrewarding situation just to reduce your chances of being well.
10. Relationship sabotage
Deep down, self-destructive people don't feel worthy of love. In fact, their self-love is very low. For this, somehow, they do not tolerate a relationship in which everything goes well. Strange as it may seem, if they feel loved or appreciated, they will do everything in their power to end the relationship. They feel better in the role of victims than in that of lucky people; they prefer luck to avoid them in order to complain about it.
They are equally likely to become temperamental or demanding. They try hard to get the other person to believe that it is not worth having any connection with them or that the affection they feel has no basis. Sabotaging positive relationships is a way to stay in a self-destructive position.
This type of behavior reveals undigested experiences and difficulties with one's image. Self-destructive people are, in the first place, victims of themselves. They are trapped in the order imposed by a person or circumstance against which they could not defend themselves. This distinctive character is due to traumatic situations. It is as if a person were trapped inside a mirror that reflects them in a distorted way.
It is evident that these traits outline a person with self-esteem problems as well as self-perception. Seeing yourself in a more constructive way involves challenging an authority figure or order imparted. Behind this profile lies an unconscious fear of being happier than one's parents, for example, or of proving that a religious "truth" is not so true. In any case, self-destructive people need to be treated by a professional.