Self-flagellation - what is it and how to get rid of it

Self-flagellation is a person’s conscious and intentional accusation of himself for committed wrongdoings, a self-critical attitude towards one’s own personality and actions taken, which turns into forms of inflicting moral and physical suffering on oneself in order to reduce or wash away feelings of guilt and shame. It may not always have an adequate attitude and arise in the process of attributing someone else’s guilt to oneself or criticizing oneself for completely socially acceptable forms of behavior. The meaning of the word self-flagellation is synonymously comparable with self-accusation, self-torture, self-criticism, self-criticism and other actions aimed at emphasizing the negative aspects of a person and causing moral suffering under the guise of repentance or guilt.

Psychology explains self-flagellation as an attempt to cope with external conditions that do not satisfy a person’s internal picture of the world. This is one way to cope with intolerable feelings about one’s own personality and its weak or rejected sides (often such behavior is motivated by receiving praise or encouragement from others, which is easier to obtain through self-deprecation than through real actions and achievements). Lost competition, the discovery of stronger and more successful people in the infantile psyche is poorly tolerated and practically impossible to accept, hence similar behavior is born that helps to survive the fiasco, and the life principle looks like a choice of maximalist concepts, where a person has no right to lose or be weak.

An idealistic perception of the world plunges people into despair with every failure or when events turn out differently than expected. A person constantly feels great responsibility in its childish form, when the real world is replaced by an illusory one, and mega-abilities are attributed to oneself (just as children blame themselves for parents’ quarrels or accidents, with the same infantile and enormous responsibility a person blames himself for the slightest troubles or even random coincidences, in any non-ideality).

Self-flagellation forces one to make global conclusions, leading to devaluation of oneself completely due to a collision with minor non-ideality (or even significant, but this is still not the whole person). High demands and the inability to see the beauty in shortcomings do not allow you to get to know your real self, recognize those things that irritate you in yourself and accept yourself entirely.

Psychology of self-flagellation

In psychology, self-criticism or self-flagellation is a negative analysis of one’s own actions and thoughts. Negative attitude towards oneself as a person in general. A person who engages in soul-searching experiences a storm of emotions. Among them are anger, fear, hatred, pain, anxiety. Over time, they do not go away, but only intensify. In the most severe cases, a person blames himself for dissatisfaction with himself. It turns out to be a vicious circle.

Self-criticism and moral self-flagellation have serious consequences. Most often these are depression, neuroses, psychoses. There are times when people seek to harm themselves in some way or decide to commit suicide. Fortunately, this is rare. But life still gets worse. New reasons for self-accusation are being found. In this state, a person can go to the other extreme: try to drown out negative emotions and feelings with the help of alcohol and drugs. In addition, due to his long-term tendency to self-criticism, he develops serious illnesses. Sometimes even doctors cannot determine the cause of their appearance. And everything is banally simple: the “sick” person is corroded from the inside by negative emotions. Self-criticism has nothing to do with healthy criticism. There are two differences between these concepts:

  1. Adequate self-analysis helps to find the connection between actions and consequences, draw conclusions, and correct mistakes.
  2. Unlike self-flagellation, criticism does not have a negative impact on mental and physical health.

Self-blame often becomes a habit. It becomes so rooted that a person can no longer correctly perceive reality, himself, or what is happening around him. He spends all his resources on remorse, on trying to find another flaw in himself. It turns out that he is eating himself from the inside.

What is an inferiority complex?

An inferiority complex is the feeling that you are much worse off than everyone around you and that you will never achieve anything. Always in constant stress and anxiety. Other people's comments are taken very seriously.

It is formed on the basis of an appearance defect: real or contrived. Due to specific qualities or living conditions (for example, low salary). Low self-esteem, as a rule, is always characteristic. It is she who does not give the opportunity to change something in her life.

The independence complex can manifest itself as oppression and a constant feeling of anxiety. Depressive disorder may develop. Self-flagellation is another possible manifestation.

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Reasons for self-flagellation

The description of the meaning of the word “self-blame” says that it is often a public accusation of oneself for selfish purposes. The person doesn't want to get advice. He needs pity, justification, consolation.

There is an opinion in society that those who publicly reproach themselves and admit their wrongdoings truly repent of their actions. But what these people really need is an audience. Anyone who really wants to improve will work on their mistakes alone, draw their own conclusions and draw up an action plan. Such a person does not need pity. He “turns on” the strong qualities of his character and confidently moves forward.

The causes of self-flagellation, like other psychological problems, lie in childhood. A child who has not received enough affection, warmth and care from his parents tries to receive them at an older age from the people around him. Only in this case does he use manipulation. Another reason for self-flagellation is considered to be psychological trauma. Imagine a child who was often beaten as a child for doing bad things. The parents explained their behavior by the desire to raise a good person. Or, for example, the baby was often criticized, and then they gave him a little kindness and affection. How will this affect his behavior in the future? A young man or girl will most likely behave in the same way as their mother and father, implementing this model of behavior on family members, friends, and acquaintances.

Learn from the professionals

Find helpers in achieving your goals. The ideal way to become more cheerful and confident is to find a professional who can support and coach you. He will help you achieve any goal and accidentally indicate success. It’s one thing to see achievements yourself, and another thing to have someone point them out to you. And if this is also an expert in your field, then self-esteem soars through the roof. What kind of self-flagellation can we talk about when you are praised by a professional whom you trust?

Have you started learning from an expert, but he scolds you? You made a mistake, no big deal. It's just not an expert. Look for someone else. Not everyone can support and teach at the same time. Look for just such a specialist.

Signs of self-criticism

The main symptom of self-flagellation in psychology is considered to be a negative attitude towards oneself. If something bad happens, a person tends to blame only himself. At the same time, he often repeats the following phrases:

  1. I am a loser. That's what I need.
  2. It couldn’t have happened any other way for naive people like me.

Over time, life becomes bleak. The desire to move forward, develop, and simply do something good for yourself disappears. There are other symptoms:

  • all kinds of complexes;
  • self-hatred;
  • tendency to compare oneself with others;
  • depression;
  • embarrassment for your life;
  • poor appetite or, conversely, constant overeating;
  • insomnia;
  • desire to change life and lack of readiness to do something;
  • non-acceptance of one's appearance;
  • constant pity for oneself, for one’s worthless existence.

Interestingly, self-blame manifests itself differently in men and women. The first reproach themselves for financial problems or lack of career growth. The latter are more often dissatisfied with their body and appearance.

Advantages and disadvantages

Personal growth - what is it?

In order to understand what the word self-flagellation means, you need to have a good understanding of the characteristics of this feeling. Analysis and evaluation of one's actions allow a person to identify errors in behavior. Sometimes it is possible to realize the negative manifestations of actions only after several years. Therefore, engaging in self-criticism is useful, as it leads to repentance.

Self-flagellation also has negative traits. If a person sees everything only from the negative side, then this leads him to devaluing his actions. Constant remorse prevents you from changing your life for the better and achieving something.

It is impossible to say unequivocally whether self-flagellation is useful or harmful, and what it means for a particular person. Self-criticism is useful in small quantities, but if it is constantly present in an individual’s life, then this is an alarming sign.

Types of self-flagellation

In psychology, self-criticism is conventionally divided into three types:

  1. Demonstrative. The person does not plan to cope with problems, correct mistakes, or change. He needs to play repentance well, to evoke sympathy, pity and, possibly, forgiveness from those around him. In many countries, such behavior is considered a sign of high morality. Therefore, it is not considered something wrong.
  2. Introverted. What does self-flagellation mean in this case? It has no external manifestations. A person leaves all his feelings and emotions inside. He is looking for new reasons to blame himself. By any means it supports a bad mood, blues, melancholy. Every mistake becomes a real tragedy and aggravates self-dislike.
  3. Neurotic self-flagellation. Over time it becomes a way of life. Leads to serious physical health problems.

The latter type of self-criticism is almost impossible to diagnose in yourself. We need an outside perspective.

Consequences of self-flagellation

Sometimes it seems that eternal soul-searching is a harmless activity. A responsible person, always striving for the ideal, is very convenient for others. But proud and selfish people are the opposite. However, in reality, as mentioned above, Samoyeds face many serious problems:

  1. Dissatisfaction, anger, and depression become permanent character traits. A person pours out negative emotions on others. Throws hysterics, begs for sympathy, treats everything with pessimism.
  2. Over time, insomnia develops. Eating disorders may occur, such as compulsive overeating or complete refusal to eat.
  3. There is no energy left for development and self-improvement. They go to self-flagellation.
  4. It becomes difficult to solve even simple current difficulties.
  5. People who engage in self-criticism suffer from low self-esteem. They don't love themselves. And those around them treat them the same way.
  6. Vulnerability to manipulators develops.

We eradicate the phenomenon

There is nothing complicated, the main thing is:

  1. Love yourself. Stop scolding yourself for your weaknesses and imperfections.
  2. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you've made.
  3. Learn to think positively. Don't look for flaws, pay attention to the advantages. Praise yourself more often, laugh at your mistakes.
  4. Accept the fact that self-criticism is an ineffective self-defense mechanism that does not help, but, on the contrary, drives you into a corner.
  5. Learn to control your negative emotions.
  6. Take action. Stop self-criticism and torturing yourself, analyze the situation, look at it from the outside, accept mistakes.

And, in general, self-flagellation, according to the Christian faith, is a sin. Get rid of it.

How to get rid of self-criticism

First, accept the fact that you are tormenting yourself with unjustified accusations. The next step is to determine the reason for this. And only then try to get rid of the tendency to self-flagellation. How to do it?

Have a track record of achievement

If you have achieved goals and successfully completed projects behind you, it is easier for you to stop destroying yourself by self-digging. But this will only happen if these achievements are truly important to you. It happens that people achieve a lot in life, but remain dissatisfied with themselves. It's never enough for them. And this is bad, because it is difficult for them to cope with the feeling of dissatisfaction, to stop the desire to once again reproach themselves for something.

To avoid becoming one of them, take into account absolutely all your achievements. Let them be small and insignificant in your opinion. When there is a result behind you, it is easier to cope with self-criticism, increase self-esteem, and love yourself as a person.

Productive and unproductive self-criticism

You won't be able to stop criticizing yourself completely. Yes, this is not necessary. Healthy criticism helps you see mistakes, analyze them and confidently move on. A person who knows how to criticize himself is a successful person. He can handle any task. Productive criticism is very different from self-flagellation:

  1. Precedes some action. Imagine that you need to talk to a stranger about an important topic. But you are afraid to do it. A healthy approach in this case is to mentally call yourself a coward, collect your thoughts, and go talk while you have the opportunity. Self-flagellation in this example will begin if you still do not dare to approach.
  2. Criticism teaches you to control your emotions. You can strictly point out to yourself first the shortcomings, and then how to eliminate them. In self-criticism, shortcomings are mentioned again and again. But ways to deal with them are not considered.
  3. Adequate criticism will ultimately help you achieve your goal or get what you want. You will experience unprecedented emotions, joy, satisfaction. They will more than cover the negativity that arises when you encounter difficulties.

Constructive criticism and self-flagellation have nothing in common. In the first case, you act, and in the second, you only blame yourself and don’t try to change anything.

Pessimism and self-flagellation

Excessive demands on oneself and a tendency to self-examination are a consequence of a pessimistic mood. A person whose world is painted black blames himself, and sometimes those around him, for this. He becomes immersed in his problems, splashes out bad emotions on others, which greatly spoils relationships.

The only way to get rid of self-criticism in this case is to paint reality in bright colors. Look at the world from a different perspective. Maybe it's not so bad? Increase your self-esteem, limit the flow of negativity pouring on you from the TV screen and the Internet, and develop yourself. All this will help improve your mood and learn to enjoy the little things.

"Artificial Thought Stream"

An effective way to stop self-flagellation. You need to learn to talk to yourself. Yes, you heard right. Think about it, self-criticism is also a dialogue with oneself. Only you blame yourself, reproach yourself for what you did or didn’t do.

Treatment options

You need to get rid of self-flagellation as soon as it is discovered. You can use different exercises for this. For example, on a piece of paper you need to write down all the negative consequences that appeared after self-criticism.

You can fight self-flagellation only if the person himself wants it. Then he writes down on paper what will happen to him in 15 years if self-abasement continues. After this, you need to write down what exactly will change after getting rid of the negative feeling.

Relaxation techniques will help you distract yourself from bad thoughts

Getting rid of self-flagellation can take several years. You cannot quickly change your way of thinking; this requires constant training. You can combat feelings of guilt by analyzing the situation.

A person needs to ask himself what he did at a certain moment, what it brought, and what actions needed to be taken. In severe cases, you need to work with a psychologist. Many specialists accept appointments remotely and are ready to keep in touch via instant messengers.

Thinking will have to be changed by force. Therefore, if negative thoughts appear, you need to immediately start thinking about something else. For example, about conjugating irregular English verbs or planning things.

Ridding your mind of negative attitudes is difficult. You can write down all significant actions in a notebook. Such a clear demonstration will ensure that a person will always have proof of his importance.

Self-flagellation occurs in insecure and sensitive people, who can perceive even advice in a negative sense. With this way of thinking, the quality of life deteriorates. Therefore, it is necessary to get rid of self-criticism.

Advice from psychologists

Simple recommendations will help you cope with an attack of self-criticism and self-doubt:

  1. Think first, then do. This will help avoid mistakes.
  2. Control your emotions. Made a mistake? Severely reprimand yourself and draw your own conclusions. Don't come back to this situation again.
  3. Praise yourself for positive results. Good emotions will override the negative.
  4. Accept yourself for who you are. Don't let self-flagellation take root in your mind. Value yourself, don't compare with other people, be confident in your individuality.
  5. Fill your free time with positivity. Find an interesting hobby, start reading an exciting book, take a walk in the fresh air. Always keep busy.
  6. Reconsider your surroundings. Limit communication with those who constantly complain and grumble. Let there be only optimists and successful people around you.

And one more piece of advice on how not to engage in self-criticism. Plan for the future, don't go back to the past. Self-blame-prone people become fixated on what has already happened. Change direction. Every day make a plan for tomorrow. And in the evenings, analyze what you were able to do. And, of course, praise yourself.

Why is it important to have a track record of achievement?

When we have already achieved something, self-criticism is more adequate and moderate. She doesn't have such extremes. But this is only possible if this achievement is significant to you. Sometimes people achieve a lot, but remain constantly dissatisfied with themselves. This suggests that they have not read this article and do not know how important it is to focus on improving their lives, rather than eliminating shortcomings.

For such individuals, everything they achieve is constantly not enough. Therefore, you need to start by counting the number of achievements. And what is important: their scale should not be taken into account at all. After some time, you will see that the number of successes will be in the tens, hundreds and even thousands. And everything will be in your hands. And if you are already seeing results, then you will begin to like what you do, and this will lead to faster growth in achievements.

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