You might not think of yourself as doing self-harm with your behavior. When many people think of the phrase ‘self-harm’, they think of physical harm with behavior like cutting, burning, pulling of hair. It is important to remember that self-harm comes in all kinds of forms, and emotional self-harm can be as damaging as physical self-harm. Emotional self-harm can result in other disorders, like depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
Why Self-Harm Happens
This sort of emotional self-harm often arises due to the people in your sphere of influence. Whether it is family, friends, coworkers or other people, their behavior toward you can drive behavioral patterns that are harmful. This can be a pattern that is very difficult to break. Some signs of emotional self-harm are:
- Having overly emotional reactions to small problems
- Inability to maintain friendships or relationships
- Low self-esteem
- Issues with body image
- Thoughts of physical self-harm
- Feeling ashamed of who you are
- Rejecting reality
- Belittling your own accomplishments and progress
- Not making yourself a priority
- Pleasing others at the expense of your own happiness
- Holding a grudge
It is human nature to be overly critical of ourselves, to tell ourselves we are not good enough and make unfair comparisons to other people. We critique our bodies, our capabilities, and this kind of emotional self-harm can be devastating. Often, it stems from early childhood or adolescence, when the people around us when we are growing up have a significant influence on how we think and what we think about ourselves. Whether it’s strict parents, or bullies at school, or any kind of physical, mental, or emotional abuse, it can cause us to grow up with damaging opinions of ourselves.
How to Heal
Knowing that being a people pleaser is causing you self-harm, you now know to take steps to learn coping mechanisms. Psychotherapy would be a great benefit to give you the tools to overcome self-destructive patterns. Some simple things you can do today to avoid self-harm are:
- Give yourself credit for your achievements
- Take time out for yourself to relax
- Start surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people, who have healthy habits
- Understand that it is ok to feel bad sometimes. None of us can avoid pain, but you can avoid suffering
- Realize that it is ok to help others, it is even a good thing, but never at the expense of your own happiness
- Start saying no to people
A Step in the Right Direction provides quality care for clients seeking support for addiction recovery. We teach people how to live a sober life through programs, therapeutic support, and evidence-based therapies. Our recovery program is staffed by people who understand the power of addiction. For more information on sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702.