Episode 36:
Ending Self Destructive Behavior

Sensitive Material Ahead

Sweet friends, we want to let you know that today’s episode is a sensitive one. We’re talking about self destructive behavior and this content may be triggering for some listeners. If this episode starts to feel overwhelming or triggering, we’ve got plenty of other episodes you can check out.

All we have to offer is our own experience with this topic, but if that isn’t what you need, we wholeheartedly encourage you to find the support you need. We want to reiterate that we are not experts or medical professionals. If you’re struggling with self-harm and need help, please send a text to the crisis text line at 741741. You can also call (800) 273-TALK (8255) to reach trained crisis counselors.

Cycles of Self-Destruction

Do you struggle with addictive or compulsive behavior? Are there behaviors you find yourself doing that cause harm to you but that also somehow promise relief? All three of us have struggled with self destructive behavior patterns that bring momentary relief but that end up hurting our physical, emotional, and spiritual selves.

If we zoom out to see the ways we are undermining or sabotaging our integrity, future happiness, self esteem, financial security, our physical bodies, most of us will be able to relate to this phenomenon. So we’re also going to include behaviors in this conversation that fit into the broader container of self sabotage. What if the way we are self harming causes injury to our integrity? Or if the destructive behaviors we do habitually cause harm to our relationships and to our self esteem? What ways do we distract ourselves from life that seem to give us relief in the moment but actually turn out to be self sabotaging in the long run?

Why do people self harm? According to psychiatrists, the reason we engage in self injurious behavior is not simply to harm ourselves. When we engage in self-harm and self destruction, we are “taking extreme measures to distract [ourselves] from the challenges of daily life or attempting to release [ourselves] from unbearable mental anguish.”

Moving Toward Self Soothing

This is helpful information because it points to the unmet needs that are likely underneath these misguided attempts to self soothe. We can use this information to guide us toward attending to those needs. Rather than punting those unmet needs into the future with self-destructive patterns, we can turn toward what we really need: a healthy way to self soothe.

We’re hoping that we’ll be able to offer some tools that can help all of us move away from these kinds of behaviors and toward self-soothing. We’ll talk about how we’ve learned to monitor and respond effectively to emotional dysregulation. Plus we’ll share some other really simple and practical tools that you can try today.

We are always looking for more tools, so please reach out and share yours with us. What’s helping you with believing in yourself and trusting your inherent goodness? Find us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Insight Timer, Google Play, Spotify, Soundcloud, Podbean, and Stitcher (or our Contact page) and share your feelings, thoughts, and anything else.