Destroying myself. Why does the psyche begin to work against a person?

Imagine a friend who points out your every mistake, constantly repeats that you are good for nothing and stops your attempts to change for the better.

You tell him: “I have decided to quit smoking.” To which he answers you: “Come on, your whole family smokes, your friends all smoke, don’t make things up, you don’t have a single chance to quit.” It is unlikely that you would greatly value such a friend...

Neil Moralee/

But we often do exactly this to ourselves. We know that some habits are bad for us, but we still continue to follow them. We feel like we should be doing something for our health and well-being, but we usually neglect to do so.

It turns out that the worst enemy that prevents us from living a normal life is ourselves.

Essence of the question

The term “autoaggression” is derived from two words: “auto” (“directed at oneself”) and “aggression” (“attack”, “attack”). This concept is quite ambiguous. “Auto-aggression is considered to be the infliction of harm by a person on himself. If we consider situations of pronounced harm, then these conditions will most likely be regarded as a symptom of mental illness,” says a psychologist of the highest category at the Institute of Child and Adult Neurology and Epileptology. Saint Luke Elena Makarova .

In fact, one can interpret such a destructive process as the fact that for a number of reasons the human body begins to fight not with the stressful situation that brought the body into stress, but with the person himself suffering from stress. The brain is in anxiety, which causes a disruption in the production of endorphins, which are called the hormones of happiness. As a result, the biochemistry of the brain changes, and the number of stress hormones in the blood increases, prompting it to actually aggression.

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If we consider psychoanalysis, then in it auto-aggression is a defense mechanism in which a person needs to give a release to the psyche, but since he cannot do this on an external object, he directs it to what is at hand.

Of course, many are concerned about the risk group, or more precisely, who is more susceptible to this phenomenon. “Auto-aggression can be encountered at different ages. In any case, it is necessary to understand what these manifestations are, how they arose, what could have been the reason, and whether the person himself can be critical of these actions. Based on the results of the conversation, the doctor decides what condition or disease the auto-aggression relates to,” says the psychologist.

Types of damage

The described damage can be divided into the following types:

  • Impulsive. A person (often a teenager) causes harm to himself under a strong influx of emotions. This happens without intention or desire, unexpectedly, thoughtlessly and automatically.
  • Stereotypical. People with a stereotypical type of self-harm in most cases inflict bruises on themselves. Typically for people with autism or developmental delays.
  • Compulsive or moderate. Obsessive thoughts force a person to cause physical harm to himself. May be present in persons of any age.

Reasons for the problem

There are several impetus for the development of such a pathology. One can be a ban, or rather, prohibitions. Auto-aggressive actions are typical for children aged 3-4 years, who react in this way to a parental “no”. Another reason is a lack of love and care. In this case, we are talking about the fact that a person feels unnecessary, looks for reasons for this in his not very good behavior and punishes himself.

Another reason is humiliation. If a child or adult is bullied, humiliated, experiences ridicule and inattention to his problems, the mechanism of self-blame and destruction may turn on. There are frequent cases of self-aggression in conflict situations. “Manifestations of auto-aggression can be different. In the practice of working with children and adolescents, we often encounter the fact that manifestations of auto-aggression are associated with elements of manipulation of people around them. A child may bang his head against a wall or bite himself if something is not given to him; adolescents may also harm themselves for show, “so they can see how I can do it.”

Old robbers. Where does aggression come from in older people? More details

The initial manifestations of such behavioral disorders can be corrected by psychological means. There are cases when children really do not know other ways of communication, do not know how to communicate and interact constructively, do not know how to negotiate and explain to their interlocutor in words the reasons for their conditions and the best options for solving problems. The methods of communication set by the family environment play a major role in the formation of negative behavior patterns. We primarily focus our efforts on them when constructing correctional work. An authoritarian parenting style, for example, can also provoke manifestations of auto-aggression,” emphasizes Elena Makarova.

Sometimes, with the help of auto-aggression, a person tries to cope with the feeling of guilt that torments him. Self-punishment brings him relief. True, it is temporary. It is best to act differently if there is an understanding that the psyche is working against its own body. “If you are faced with auto-aggression, you need to consult with a specialist about the possibilities and methods of correcting it. In case of auto-aggression in childhood and adolescence, specialists from children's centers will be able to offer you high-quality advice. If we are talking about adults, then we need to contact those who work with people of that age,” the psychologist advises.

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Why don't people find other ways to cope with emotional stress?

In medicine, the desire to self-harm is explained by the following reasons:

  1. Low self-esteem. Teens who suffer from cutting themselves often have low self-esteem. They consider themselves ugly, stupid, worthless, uninteresting, and do not see anything significant in themselves and their lives.
  2. Perfectionism, excessive demands. In order to relax and enjoy, a teenager requires impossible conditions. This is due to high expectations and high standards set by parents, school, loved one, and friends. The highly competitive environment in which it finds itself also has its impact. The subject of competition can be beauty standards, educational achievements and social status. Teenagers in such conditions are subconsciously convinced that everything must be perfect, otherwise they have to punish themselves.
  3. Emotional vulnerability. Cold relationships in the family are also one of the causes of self-harm. Such behavior is provoked by a peculiar culture of attitude towards the emotional component. Teenagers living in such conditions are emotionally incompetent and have difficulty understanding and expressing their own emotions. An incorrect emotional attitude leads to the fact that adolescents cannot turn to loved ones for help.

Clinical picture

If we talk about the external manifestations of the problem, doctors identify the following signs:

  • unconscious tendency towards risky behavior;
  • destructive habits;
  • improving the body with extreme persistence;
  • deliberately refusing to eat to make others feel guilty;
  • sacrificial behavior;
  • self-accusation, invented suffering, shyness bordering on unhealthy, increased sense of duty, chronic feeling of resentment.

Often, mental problems, when emotions in relation to external measures are suppressed and redirected to oneself, lead to malfunctions in the body at the physical level: problems with the heart and blood vessels, increased blood pressure, problems in the digestive system, etc. So don’t It’s worth engaging in self-flagellation; it’s better to focus your efforts on finding a good specialist and deal with the problem at a professional level. Then life will receive new colors, and nothing will threaten your health (both physical and psychological).

Myth #3: Attracting attention to yourself

People who hurt themselves need love, attention and good treatment from others and loved ones, but this does not mean that they are trying to attract attention to themselves by self-torture. People who find themselves in such a situation try to stand out with their appearance and behavior: they either dress brightly or have excellent manners and politeness. The consequences of self-harm are never revealed, but are hidden and hushed up by wearing long sleeves or inflicting injuries in hidden places.

Ants and hair shirts: why did Christians torture themselves?

In early Christianity, ascetics were those who spent their lives in solitude and self-torture, in fasting and prayer.

Traditional self-torture is common in various cultures. The Satere Mawe Indians of Brazil have a male initiation rite during which the young man must endure painful ant bites. The festival in honor of the Hindu god Murugan, leader of the army of gods, includes wearing shoes with nails.

The Islamic holiday of Ashura is widely known, it is celebrated by all Muslims, but its meaning varies in different branches of the religion. Sunnis consider the tenth day of Muharram a significant date: it was on this day that the Almighty created Adam, the Great Flood ended and the prophet Musa (Moses) escaped from Egypt. But for Shiites, this is a day of mourning for religious martyrs, primarily for Hussein ibn Ali. Mourning lasts the first ten days of the month of Muharram, and the culmination of mourning ceremonies occurs on the day of Ashura. On October 10, 680, Imam Hussein, his brother Abbas and 70 of their companions were killed in the Battle of Karbala. In memory of their martyrdom, Shiites organize religious mysteries - tazias, which include self-flagellation, symbolizing Hussein's suffering before death. During the ritual, believers beat themselves in the chest with their fists and hit themselves on the back with a zanjeer - a chain with blades attached to it. Each blow rips open the skin and leaves bloody wounds. Some men cut the skin on their heads and blood floods their faces.

Among Christians, religious self-torture appeared under the influence of the traditions of the ancient Jews, who wore rough clothes made of goat hair as a sign of sadness and memory of the dead.

All close relatives of the deceased had to wear sackcloth or hair shirt; in special cases, these clothes made of coarse hair were not removed even at night.

In the Middle Ages, a hair shirt was a mandatory attribute of monasticism. Monks and communicants wore these clothes as a sign of humility and frailty of the flesh. Suffering from constant itching and skin irritation had to be overcome with fortitude and prayer. Wearing a hair shirt was an integral part of serving God, and wounds on the body were perceived as evidence of suffering for Christ and his faith.

Devotion to faith, expressed in self-sacrifice, is the only justification for voluntary death (that is, suicide) in Abrahamic religions and Eastern religious and philosophical teachings. In Christianity, Judaism and Islam, suicide is condemned because, in addition to murder, it involves the sin of despondency. In addition, in Christianity, suicides are deprived of funeral services, and sin can be forgiven only if the person is declared insane.

Alternative Behavior: Free and Strong Personality

The opposite state of the victim complex is personal freedom.

Freedom means that no one is stopping you from managing your own life according to your choices. To settle for anything less is to choose a form of slavery.

"How to get rid of the victim complex"

Don’t buy into the tricks of people who suggest that freedom means selfishness and irresponsibility. Responsibility is the result of choice; you take it upon yourself voluntarily. In no case should it fall on you at the whim of someone or under pressure from society.

“The freest people in the world are those who are at peace with themselves: they simply do not pay attention to the claims of other people, because they themselves effectively arrange and direct their lives,” writes Wayne Dyer in his book.

How to stop suffering and start enjoying life

Stopping suffering and starting to live a new life is a task that is difficult only at the first stage, while suffering has benefits. Viewing everything in dark colors, intensifying your pain on your own and continuing to live in a state of despair when the exit is as close as possible is just a habit of building life in this way. Being joyful and successful has always been more difficult than being a suffering loser, because it requires not only the ability to notice the beauty in every moment (as most articles on the topic of the joy of life advise), but also to create moments and things that captivate you into pleasure and happiness.

Instead of torturing yourself with painful experiences, you need to change your life, make it active, and the vector in this activity should be aimed at self-realization and the promotion of ideas that bring happiness.

Reorganize your day so that by the evening you are exhausted from pleasant fatigue, and during the day you give your best. Happiness has no end point, since it is a process and the richer a person lives, the closer he is to realizing his destiny, the less he suffers. A similar approach is found in both psychological and esoteric schools, spiritual teachings and religions - the greater the immersion in inactivity from purpose, the less energy he is given, the less level of happiness he is able to live.

When suffering begins to seem unbearable or drags on for a long period of time, with no end or reduction in intensity in sight, it is necessary to direct your inner gaze towards the suffering. Attempts to distract yourself, to pretend that these experiences do not belong to you, are unlikely to help overcome negative feelings. If you transfer the experience of trauma and pain to the future, then the accumulated energy will not go anywhere, but it may well tear a person apart from the inside.

When a conscious path is chosen towards one’s experiences, they are legalized and there is no longer any internal conflict, the situation becomes available for transformation. It is this recognition, the ability to look at the factors causing suffering, to admit how painful it is from what is happening, that will ultimately help to gain new experience, benefit, and find solutions. Only acknowledging the situation, and perhaps helping yourself instead of resisting, will give you peace of mind. Instead of keeping a mask of positivity and a grin instead of a smile, it is better to immerse yourself as deeply as possible in the experiences of negativity, then in the end the light will shine, because the psyche cannot suffer for a long time in an intense mode, but will require the release of these emotions.

When emotions are recognized and your purpose is determined, then it is necessary to structure this process by setting clear goals, both for the next day and for several years. A long-term perspective is necessary in order to give your activities the right vector, and not spin like a weather vane every new morning. Daily tasks help you realize your potential to the fullest, but it is important that the plan is varied and aimed not only at realizing your talents and maximizing your strength. Try to have a few minutes every day dedicated to the pain that has occurred - let it be sessions with a psychotherapist or yoga, swimming or walking.

The main thing is that you do not forbid yourself to experience pain while moving towards happiness - cry, release negative experiences, but let this happen within a clearly defined time frame (for example, first give yourself a couple of hours in the evening, and then gradually reduce this period), and that’s all Dedicate the rest of your time to transforming your life in a happier way.

If you can't do it yourself

My name is Galina Zhemchugova, I am a psychologist, and I can help you get out of the victim state in life, I will help you deal with situations of the past, as well as fears and anxieties for the future. I can help you understand how to become a happy person and enjoy life. I conduct consultations on Skype, here you can sign up and see the cost of consultations, and follow the link to read reviews about me and my work.

Join me in the VKontakte group. Subscribe to my Instagram and YouTube channel. Let's improve our lives together!

Methods of psychological assistance

Psychologists help determine the cause of the problem if the patient cannot do this on his own. In most cases, the latter cannot explain why they specifically harm themselves. Depth psychoanalysis helps to determine the preconditions for such behavior.

The treatment method is selected individually and may include the use of drug therapy. Taking medications is strictly controlled by a doctor. Cognitive behavioral therapy can achieve the maximum effect in the fight against self-torture. Psychotherapists advise patients to replace the habit of cutting veins or cauterizing themselves with any other actions not related to trauma. For example, you can start tearing paper.

Replacing them with your favorite activity or hobby will help you take your mind off obsessive thoughts. If harm is caused with the aim of obtaining certain emotions, then a cold shower, which intensifies the sensations, can help.

Method number 4: conscious breathing

I'm not kidding now. This is the best way to calm down. If you feel like you're about to explode, try the following. Take a deep breath, feeling the air fill your lungs, and then exhale just as consciously. Count to 10, and then continue the dialogue. I'm sure the desire to blow up the planet will disappear!

Psychologist's comment

— You should breathe as deeply as possible, making the exhalation several times longer than the inhalation. Another effective technique: inhale through the left nostril, closing the right one, and exhale vice versa.

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