Destruction - what is it, the main causes and symptoms, what types and forms are there?

“It was a very productive day”, “I want to hear constructive criticism” - these expressions are familiar to everyone and understandable to everyone. Is the meaning of their opposite – destructiveness – known? This is how they talk about something destructive, dangerous, leading to regression, degradation, disintegration of society and personality. Let's get acquainted with the concept of “destructiveness”, define what “destructive” is in all popular phenomena.

What is destruction?

This concept is used in many scientific disciplines and means destruction, violation of integrity or structure, destruction. In psychology, destruction is the rejection of generally accepted norms and moral values, which is destructive for the individual. Moreover, this behavior affects all areas of a person’s life – his health, relationships with loved ones, communications with society.

A destructive person demonstrates in every possible way his disdain for established norms, traditions and ways of life in society. Tries to express protest through actions or words. Psychologists say that most of humanity is capable of such a model of behavior, but it manifests itself in especially difficult and critical life moments. That is why this term is more often used when studying the psychology of adolescents.

History of the term destructive

The term definitely comes from the Latin word destructivus - destructive and from the verb destruere - to break, destroy . The prefix de is added, meaning separation, elimination, lack of completion of an action, etc., with the root struere, meaning to put, impose, spread, extend. So, thanks to the formation of the word with the help of a prefix, it received a different meaning.

First of all, the word destructive appeared in French, then it passed into English and spread further.

Causes of destructive behavior

Psychologists and psychiatrists argue that a destructive pattern of behavior can be characteristic of any person on earth, only the forms and methods of its manifestation will differ. However, there are very specific reasons for destruction:

  1. The atmosphere and model of behavior in the family in which the child grows up. A child up to the age of five, like a sponge, absorbs everything that happens to him: how mom and dad communicate with each other, how they treat their children. Lack of attention, love and respect may spill out in the future into abnormal behavior of the individual. Also, a child can simply copy the life model of his relatives.
  2. Mental disorders and addiction to drugs or alcohol.
  3. Major failures in life and serious illnesses in which the individual decides that he has nothing to lose.
  4. The impetus for the development of destruction can be massive social deviations. For example, rampant crime and speculative activity, bureaucracy, mass alcoholism.
  5. Weakening measures of public control from the liberalization of some values ​​and freedoms to an imperfect system of fines and punishments.

History of the study of destructiveness

In S. Freud's theory of the forces that drive each personality, the death instinct occupies a significant place.

It means that a person strives for a primary inanimate state through destructive behavior.

K. Lorenz, like Freud, believes that aggression is inherent in the instinctive mechanism. It promotes adaptation (what is it?), adaptation to various conditions. As well as survival among other individuals, taking their position in the social hierarchy.

A. Bass gives the definition:

“Aggression is a reaction that brings pain to the organism at which it is specifically directed.”

This is one type of behavior to achieve a goal. Often the meaning of aggression is to force another person to do something - a type of manipulation (what is this?).

F. Allan believes that this is simply a way to gather one’s strength in order to withstand external factors. L. Bender says that people use destructiveness to get closer or further away from a person or situation.

Other points of view on destructive behavior:

  1. natural human reflex;
  2. reaction to mental or physical discomfort;
  3. drive and passion, which brings pleasure, despite all the negativity;
  4. the result is frustration (what is it?) – when it is impossible to satisfy one’s needs or solve a problem.

Symptoms of destruction

Abnormal or destructive behavior can be directed at people and animals, intangible objects, and even oneself. From here, scientists identify several behavioral patterns with their characteristic destructive symptoms:

  1. Aggressive and cruel treatment of surrounding living beings.
  2. Hostile tone and construction of phrases when communicating with people around you.
  3. Tendency to destroy or damage intangible objects and other people's belongings.
  4. Personality destruction also manifests itself in the desire to destroy the usual way of relations between people close to the individual.
  5. Episodic or constant inability to experience emotions, lack of expressed feelings.
  6. Threats to one's own life and those of other people and animals.

Signs of a destructive person (destructor)

A person's destructive nature may not be corrected in childhood or adolescence, so he will carry it throughout his life. How do you know if this type of person is in front of you?

Hidden and obvious threats

It is important for destructive individuals to know that they are better than others, and the whole world owes them. To maintain this role and pride, he does not allow others to express their opinions. It also suppresses any disobedience and criticism. The interlocutor may hear a commanding tone or a threat.


A person involves third-party people in a dispute, whose opinions supposedly coincide with his, and not his opponent’s. He makes references to the fact that his colleagues, friends, scientists are also on his side. Thus, it puts pressure on the victim to break and accept the interlocutor’s position.

Bounds checking

Such people like to check where other people's boundaries are. And every time they try to break them, while they remain unpunished. Therefore, if the victim returned to the offender, then this gives the latter a reason to further exhaust her with his exploration of the framework.

Cruel sarcasm

Humiliating others is a favorite activity of narcissists (who is that?) with destructive personalities. Sarcasm (what is it?) helps a lot with this, since you can turn everything into an innocent joke in time. And if a person is offended, then it is his “problem” that he is so sensitive.


If you hear, in response to your remark about the behavior of the character being discussed, the phrase: “That didn’t happen!”, “What happened to your memory?!”, “It seemed to you,” then know that this is manipulation. The interlocutor is trying to destroy confidence in reality and shake the conviction that he is right.

Types of destruction

A large number of scientists have classifications of destructive activities. However, the complexity of such studies is complicated by the fact that the concept of norm changes over time. The most common types of abnormal behavior:

  1. Delinquent , in which an individual commits illegal acts punishable by criminal or administrative law.
  2. Deviant , during which a person actively rejects the cultural values ​​and moral norms accepted in society.

How is destructiveness dangerous for society?

Destruction is, in psychology, an individual’s desire to commit destructive actions, provoke conflicts, and oppose himself to all accepted norms of social life. A destructive personality creates a number of problems, both for himself and for his environment.

With less pronounced forms of destructive behavior, such people oppress the environment morally, being toxic friends, relatives, colleagues, parents.

They try to avoid them, since communicating with them does not bring any pleasure, and the opponent always feels humiliated and depressed after a conversation with a destructive person.

With more pronounced destructive behavior, in addition to verbal pressure, such individuals can pose a real threat not only to the psychological state of their environment, but also to their physical health.

In a fit of rage and aggression, these people can injure, maim and beat others, especially if they suffer from addictions and have poor control over their behavior.

A destructive person feels especially at ease in a home environment, where he can often mock with impunity those close to him who are weaker than him.

The problem of domestic violence and tyranny is precisely connected with this behavioral disorder, when wives and children are abused by their husbands and fathers, and the law enforcement system reacts poorly to complaints and often the situation becomes tragic.

The destructive behavior of adolescents is also of particular concern, since it can often not manifest itself clearly and parents may not even suspect that their child is prone to destructive behavior. External destruction at this age is usually expressed in vandalism and fights.

In some cases, teenagers may become involved in extreme sports and have too many tattoos on their bodies. All this is a manifestation of internal negativism. Sometimes children at this age do not express their protest openly, but completely withdraw into themselves, while having suicidal thoughts.

In such a situation, it is very difficult to recognize internal destruction, since outwardly the child’s life may look ordinary - school, friends.

In this case, it is important to know what the teenager is interested in, what he watches and what social groups he is in, since often information received from these sources can push the child to take an irreparable step.

Forms of destructive behavior

Depending on the characteristics of a person’s relationship with society and the degree of adaptation in it, destructive behavior can take the following forms:

  1. Radical adaptation . In such a situation, a person tries to completely change and adapt the surrounding reality to himself.
  2. Hyper-adaptation , in which a person sets unattainable goals and objectives.
  3. Conformist adaptation . With this form of behavior, the person visually adapts to those dogmas and norms that he does not accept.
  4. Deviant adaptation , that is, the commission of actions and deeds that contradict accepted norms.
  5. Socio-psychological disadaptation , during which a person is sure that he is not obliged to adapt to society and comply with its norms and laws.

Destructive Interpersonal Interactions

Destructive interpersonal interaction is understood as such forms of contact in which one or each of the interlocutors is detrimentally influenced by the other. Examples: manipulative or authoritarian communication, silence in order to hide any information or as a so-called punishment.

Negative personality traits of one or all participants in an interaction give it a destructive character. They can manifest themselves intentionally or unconsciously. Motivated or unmotivated aggression, for example, can come from one interlocutor to another, either as a result of nervous strain, or from a desire to cause physical or moral harm to that person. Personality traits such as prejudice, hypocrisy and cynicism are also the basis of destructive interpersonal interactions, which, however, in contrast to open aggression, are more reminiscent of the Cold War. Thus, this process can take place in an implicit form while destructiveness continues to progress.

Destructiveness - how to get rid of it?

After some people learn what this concept of destruction is, they begin to understand some of the symptoms of its manifestation in themselves or in their loved ones. To eradicate them, psychologists recommend:

  1. Work through fears of inferiority and love yourself. This can be done either independently or with a specialist.
  2. Develop altruism and the ability to empathize.
  3. Learn to develop your own importance by improving yourself, rather than humiliating others.
  4. Learn techniques for environmentally friendly disposal of accumulated aggression.
  5. Express yourself in creativity, in which you can splash out your emotions in a civilized manner.

Destructiveness in childhood

Psychologist Alfred Adler was the first to study destructive behavior in children and classify possible motives.

Power struggle

Every child strives to show his strength and try to pull the veil of power over himself.

Some do this passively, and after mom says: “Do your homework” or “Wash the dishes,” they simply do not follow these instructions. Others immediately aggressively show their position: “I don’t want to, I won’t.”

In such a situation, parents should explain what the consequences of non-compliance and disobedience will be. Let your son or daughter take responsibility (what is that?) for their actions and decide what to do.

To attract attention

If a child constantly pulls at his parents at home, on the street, and in the store, and also annoys teachers by frequently leaving the classroom during class or talking loudly, then these are all ways to attract attention. It's obvious that he's missing.

Parents should devote more time to their children. Not only when you need to criticize them, but also in a positive way. And if the child whines: “Pay attention! Play now!”, then you should say: “Okay, in 10-15 minutes, when I’m free.”, and not run away immediately, so that this does not become a mechanism for manipulation.


If children don’t like how they are treated, they will take revenge in a variety of ways: calling people names, lying, stealing, painting the walls or their mother’s favorite book, or even hitting.

In such situations, it is better to consult a psychotherapist. Most likely, the parents cannot establish a trusting relationship, and they themselves show initial anger. Therefore, we need a specialist and an outside perspective.

Demonstration of insolvency

The child does not believe in the success of completing tasks and instructions. Therefore, he skips school and tutors, does not want to go to the blackboard and starts a scandal on this basis, lies.

Most likely, the reason is constant criticism and an authoritarian method of education, which needs to be changed immediately. Such children need to be supported in all their endeavors, praised and given attention when spending time together.


It takes a lot of effort to influence the condition. If you are severely upset, it is better to consult a psychologist.

Developing empathy and compassion

Being able to have compassion and sympathize with others, a person becomes less aggressive. It causes less fear in others, which promotes communication and the expression of reciprocal feelings.

Getting rid of fear

Fears can be true or false. True circumstances include those that actually threaten life and health. False fears are fears experienced by a person about himself. For example, it seems to him that he is funny, inferior, imperfect. This is not something to be afraid of. The main thing is to perceive yourself adequately; in this case, others will not be able to offend or humiliate you.

Getting rid of aggression

An individual can cause harm to his health if he fails to discharge in time. It is necessary to find a safe way for emotional release.

Someone may start playing music, another will choose sports and become interested in running, swimming, a third will be happy to hit a punching bag. It is important that any of the chosen activities contributes to emotional relief.

Increased self-esteem

If you succeed in achieving completeness and self-sufficiency in your own eyes, there will be no need for proof and self-affirmation at the expense of others. Personal growth will help - every day strive to become better than yourself yesterday.

How to stop being jealous of other people

Thyroid. Fibrous thyroiditis

In relation to the thyroid gland, the destruction process occurs without destruction of the cells that form the gland. Instead of the death of the cells that make up the thyroid tissue, they are transformed into connective tissue, which is denser and tougher, which compresses the adjacent muscles and blood vessels. One possible cause of tissue changes is a viral infection. It is worth noting that fibrous thyroiditis is quite rare in medical practice and mainly affects women.

Destruction of the thyroid gland manifests itself in painful sensations when swallowing, similar to the feeling of a lump stuck in the throat. Gradually, the symptoms intensify: the fibrous tissue enlarges so much that it compresses the digestive organs and vocal cords, leading to difficulty breathing and loss of voice. Thyroiditis is treated through surgery and medication.

Which organs are susceptible to destruction?

Every cell of the human body exists within the framework of a program that includes the process of self-destruction. It occurs sooner or later in every cell that forms tissue, in any organ, and is safe if it is natural.

However, destruction is often a pathological process that leads to disruption of the functioning of organs and all vital functions in general, presenting in some cases a mortal danger. The pathological process of destruction most often affects the lungs, eyes, female genital organs and, much less frequently, the thyroid gland.

Application of the term “destructiveness”

The term destructiveness means a kind of destructive , aggressive human behavior, which can be directed both at certain external objects and at oneself. This word consists of the prefix “de”, meaning “denial, destruction”, and the word “structure”. That is, literally this term can be translated as “destruction of the structure.”

In some situations, the concept of “destructiveness” is applicable to the actions of not only a person , but also certain organizations. Thus, the basis of most totalitarian sects is a destructive cult that destroys the human psyche. In medicine there are the concepts of “destructive processes”, and in computer science - “destructive virus”.

Envy - underestimating one's own achievements

It is unlikely that anyone will argue that envy is a very bad feeling that needs to be fought. Attempts to divide it into white and black are simply a reluctance to accept this emotion as a fact.

Envy arises for two reasons:

  • you do not know how to rejoice in the achievements and happiness of other people;
  • You underestimate yourself, so you envy others.

When you are consumed by such a feeling, you stop being sincere in relationships, you feel offended, so you want to do something bad, as if to take revenge on the one you envy. It seems to you that there is nothing in your life that is worth being proud of, so you castigate yourself with thoughts of inadequacy and reproach your loved ones for the fact that they, too, have not achieved significance in your value system.

If you feel envy, you just need to analyze your life. Think, or better yet, write down on a piece of paper what you have achieved, what makes you unique, what ideas, actions and events you can be proud of.

Let's say you're jealous that your friend has built a wonderful career and earns decent money. What do you have instead of a successful career? Perhaps you married a loved one, are raising a wonderful child and have succeeded as a mother. Believe me, your friend may also envy you for this, because happiness does not lie only in a good financial situation. Appreciate yourself and then you won’t have to envy anyone.

Lungs. Tissue death

An infectious disease such as pneumonia, which consists of inflammation of the lung tissue, can result in more serious problems for human health, leading to extremely negative consequences. If the patient does not receive professional medical care, then pneumonia develops into gradual destruction of the lungs, which in 10% of cases ends in death.

The destruction of lung tissue is preceded by the first phase of lung destruction - massive pneumonia, characterized by high body temperature, pain in the affected part of the lungs, wheezing and shortness of breath. During the change of phases, the symptoms are temporarily weakened, the patient feels normal.

If pneumonia develops further, then the second stage appears - directly destructive changes in the lungs. At this time, their cells die through necrosis, and purulent cavities are formed. Against the background of a high febrile temperature, the patient begins to cough up a foul-smelling purulent substance, which, however, allows him to feel better. If surgery and drainage are not performed at this time, rupture of the lung tissue will become inevitable.

General conclusion

Destruction is a process of cell death that has two variations: apoptosis (natural, programmed death) and necrosis (cell death due to external influences). The pathological condition is characterized by damage to entire tissues and an inflammatory process.

Destruction of cells and tissues, as a consequence, is observed in pneumonia and changes in tissue quality in fibrous thyroiditis. Destruction can also be a process of intentional destruction of cells in various pathologies by cauterization, freezing or a chemical substance.


Conflict occurs when the views and interests of several people conflict. Psychologists teach us to take control of conflict. Only in this way will all participants be able to share their point of view and find a compromise.

With destructive behavior, a person does not know how to treat other people's opinions with adequacy. In this situation, the conflict is waged in two ways:

  1. Destructive: a person deliberately contributes to the aggravation of the conflict, insults the opponent, shows excessive emotions, and tries to provoke retaliatory aggression.
  2. Conformist: complete submission occurs, even in case of disagreement with the opponent.

Both models demonstrate the wrong way to handle conflict, since neither of them leads to a resolution of the controversial situation, which can cause it to recur in the future.

Approaches to understanding destructive personality

Destruction is one of the components of personal development. It manifests itself in the destruction of social objects, objects, processes, acting as a method of dealing with difficulties and difficulties.

The phenomenon of destructiveness, destructive behavior in modern scientific literature is determined by the form of manifestation of personality activity, focused on the collapse and rendering of social objects and structures unusable.

In essence, the individual opposes himself to the social structure, the structure of its organization, its principles and norms. At the same time, the discovery of the external structure carries out the formation of the personality itself.

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Destructive behavior, thus, acts as a method of activity of the subject, manifested in destruction, i.e. destruction of external social structures and construction of one’s own, different from existing, structural model, one’s own uniqueness.

A destructive personality is always social, it can only function in a social environment, since within society it chooses options for self-actualization, self-presentation, self-development in a certain social, life, and professional situation.

There are two main forms of destruction:

  1. Spontaneous – the actualization of which is determined by a set of specific conditions.
  2. Associated with the structure of personality, the presence of destructive criteria that an individual always has, regardless of external conditions, one or another social, life, professional, academic situation.


A manipulator prone to generalizations is not going to get acquainted with the opinions of other people. Anyone who disagrees with him is wrong not in essence, but in form. Such a person believes, for example, that the judgment of the interlocutor is unworthy of attention, since the interlocutor does not pronounce certain words correctly, wears unfashionable clothes, or has (or does not have) a certain education or property. Any feature of the interlocutor makes him wrong from the very beginning, regardless of the current situation.

In this case, the manipulator seeks to subjugate other people, forcing them to justify themselves in “sins” that in fact are not sins, or to deny obvious facts that are not related to the situation under discussion.


Any behavior has its own components and affects every area of ​​human life. Destructive is no exception. It consists of the following components:

  • external activity (movements, statements, actions);
  • internal activity (includes motivation, goal setting, cognitive processing, emotional response).

The manifestation of internal activity is always visible from the outside. Destructive actions depend on the same thoughts.

Destructive behavior has the following features:

  • marked by a negative, negative assessment;
  • goes beyond social norms;
  • the harm from it is felt both by the person himself and by those around him;
  • is the answer in case of a non-standard situation;
  • occurs when a person is unable to adapt socially;
  • has its own individual characteristics.

Characterized by:

  • lack of motivation;
  • inadequacy;
  • inability to adapt to circumstances;
  • autism;
  • lack of effectiveness.

Very often, destructive actions are characteristic of irresponsible people who are incapable of making independent decisions.
These individuals are more likely to engage in abnormal behavior. Manifestations are expressed in ignoring:

  1. Spiritual and moral norms (universal values).
  2. Moral and ethical standards (rules not recorded in writing).
  3. Legal norms (laws).
  4. Organizational and professional standards (instructions).
  5. Individual norms (personal rights).

Characteristic features include:

  • cruelty, hostility towards other people;
  • aggressiveness;
  • the desire to destroy material things and values;
  • the desire to destroy the usual way of life of loved ones;
  • emotional detachment;
  • danger to yourself and others.

Frequent manifestations of aggression are one of the signs of deviant behavior


In an attempt to influence you, the manipulator may involve other people. Most likely, he will choose your relatives, colleagues or friends and begin to complain to them about the grievances you allegedly caused. As a result, after some time you will have to make excuses for no reason and listen to advice based on (undoubtedly good) intentions to persuade you to change the “wrong” style of behavior. And this is not the saddest scenario: there is a possibility that one of the listeners of such complaints will believe in slander and stop communicating with you. The activities of a manipulator will lead to you losing people with whom you are interested and comfortable.

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