11 Signs Of Self-Destructive Behavior And Ways To Correct It

Do you lack confidence? Or, do you feel like giving up? Or are you always timid, indefinite, or depressed? Do you eat too much or too less, hurt others, demean yourself, and hurt yourself physically? Have you been hiding your true feelings and avoiding responsibilities? If yes, you’re harming yourself. You probably are advancing to self-destructive behavior, a deliberate action causing harm or destruction to oneself, physically or mentally.

Although unknowingly, in a small way or big, we sometimes do things or behave in certain ways that may directly or indirectly harm us and others too. For instance, if you’re being over sensitive in situations, not allowing others to help you, letting others take advantage of you and run over you, urging for excessive recognition, setting yourself up to fail, and having compulsive behaviors, you are most likely to indicate self-destructing behavior.


Have you ever pondered why people want to hurt themselves? Well, they believe that it’d distract them from overwhelming thoughts and help them release tension, or perhaps, they just want to punish themselves. Actually, when the body is hurt, endorphin – a neurochemical – is released, that is produced as a response to certain stimuli like fear, stress, pain. That’s when we experience a euphoric rush.1

Harming oneself physically is also a way to numb emotional pain, feel something physically, and express themselves which they otherwise can’t, as they are incapable of speaking their heart out and communicate their inner feelings.2


Not everybody has self-destructive behavior. Some of the teenagers or underage children may experience various forms of sexual trauma, who later in their lives, get into harming themselves.3Or, those who grow in a family prone to addiction, trauma, and a quarrelsome environment, have a higher risk of indulging in self-destructive behavior.4High-achievers too have a common tendency to engage in self-destructive behavior as and when they thrive on challenges and fail.5

Self-destructive behavior is a personality trait with signs that may be common, and unnoticed as well. To correct that, you first need to figure out what those signs are.


11 Signs Of A Self-Destructive Behavior

1. Being Negative

Being Negative Is A Self-Destructive Behavior

A belief that things would go wrong and not as you want, is a sign of self-destructive mentality. People with self-destructive behavior – self-saboteurs – tend to have a negative mindset about everything in their lives, leading to an inveterate feeling of disappointment. Unable to cope and getting too overwhelmed, even in a trivial situation, are most important signs of pessimism.


Use past failures to learn and don’t be let down by others. An empty mind is a devil’s workshop so, keep your mind occupied. Be involved in activities of your interest, like sports, books, movies, and socialize with a full-of-life company to flush out the pessimism from your life.

2. Being Afraid

Being Afraid Is A Self-Destructive Behavior


The self-defeating mindset causes a strong sense of fear. Fear is like a termite that slowly eats up confidence and wrecks havoc in our lives. Thoughts of failing, not getting out alive, being caught in trouble, or, things not working in favor etc. incite fear in people, that is a self-destructing behavior.

If you are fearful, stop for a moment and focus on your breath. Deep inhalation and exhalation will relax you. List down your fear, and control over it. Thinking straight when anxious is tough. So try to use parts of ‘the thinking brain’ that will dilute the emotion and begin to calm you down.6


3. Having Eating Disorders

Having Eating Disorders Is A Self-Destructive Behavior

Eating too much or too less does no good to your health in a long run. Many over and under-eaters believe they are justifying their body but that isn’t the truth. Overeating prevents emotional contentment, affects societal relationships, leads to health disorders and organ malfunctioning, and shatters confidence on appearance.7 For under-eaters, thinking and concentration are affected. Also, panic attacks, heightened obsessiveness, and depression are common psychological disorders of under-eaters.8


Routinize and eat optimum. Get rid of all the junk food in your home. Don’t hang out with people in junk food joints. Reward yourself with a ‘massage’ or something that you like, if you stick to the routine. Remember, no over or under eating at any cost! It won’t benefit you, either now or in future.

4. Misusing Alcohol And Drug

Misusing Alcohol And Drug Is A Self-Destructive Behavior

If you think resorting to alcohol and drugs will help you get away with your worries and problems, it is definitely not the right choice. Alcohol and drug abuse may temporarily help you forget your worries. But once when you regain consciousness, you will find yourself in the same state. Causing endless misery to your acquaintances, alcohol and drug abuse has terrible effects on your life, often leading to a premature death.

This addiction is difficult to  get over with. It may take weeks, months, or sometimes years to get clean. Seek help from your friends and family. Ask them to hear you out and let you not fail. Even a supportive group on the internet may help. You can recover easily with some help and a strong determination to adopt addiction-free life.

5. Having Low Confidence

Having Low Confidence Is A Self-Destructive Behavior

Have a feeling of ‘Can I do this?’, or do you demean yourself? Well, this lack of confidence will fail you and you don’t want to be a failure. Honestly, you can do anything. Impossible means “I M Possible”!

Learn to believe in yourself. Consider yourself to be competent and capable enough to achieve anything that others too can. I know, it isn’t easy if you’re already shaken up. But start with a baby step and see to it that you stick to it.

6. Neglecting Mind And Body

Neglecting Mind And Body Is A Self-Destructive Behavior

Ignoring the cycle of an 8-hour sound sleep, proper workout, nutritive diet, and work-life balance is a chronic self-destructive behavior that self-saboteurs take up naturally.

Health is wealth. To maintain a good health, sleep well, eat healthy and nutritious, exercise daily, and think positive. On doing so, you will slowly adapt these daily chores as a habit. This will help you groom holistically.

7. Undermining Relationships

Undermining Relationships Is A Self-Destructive Behavior

Do you deliberately alienate yourself from the society, or manipulate your children and family? Are you over-possessive, jealous, insecure, or extremely emotional? If yes, you are causing damage to your relationships with others, let alone you.

Mingle with lively people, share your feelings with loved ones, find happiness in what others do, and be self-satisfied! You too are worth the happiness.

8. Pitying Yourself

Pitying Yourself Is A Self-Destructive Behavior

If you blame yourself for petty things and feel sorry for yourself, you are demoralizing yourself. Pitying yourself urges you to remain inactive, nixing you to take a proactive approach in life.

Nobody is ‘perfect’. You too can make mistakes but remember to use those affirmatively next time. You need to untangle yourself from this loop of the blame game. Failure is important for learning.

9. Harming Oneself And Others

Harming Oneself And Others Is A Self-Destructive Behavior

Going out of the way to hurt yourself and others are predominant. You may pick up fights, or look for situations of people arguing, or indulge in fight games, only to suffer and harm others too. It’s a sign of self-hatred.

Harming yourself or your loved ones is not just. Take a proactive approach to life. Communicate your thoughts and worries, and aim for praise and admiration.

10. Refusing Help

Refusing Help Is A Self-Destructive Behavior

Have you been refusing help from your friends and families? Ignorance of taking any sort of help from people is a self-destructive behavior too. The people who approach you love and care for you. Denying to let them support you is a bad news.

Humans are social beings. You ought to seek help from at least somebody in life. Those advancing to support you are your dear ones and would never harm you. Trust them and accept their guidance.

11. Giving Up

Giving Up Is A Self-Destructive Behavior

An evident sign of self-destructive behavior is to give-up. If you settle for less and sacrifice your happiness, hopes, and dreams for others, then you need help. Quitting is definitely not the way!

Don’t let the thoughts of being incapable haunt you to quit. Abnegating your rights is selfish. Be a fighter and stay focused. All you need to do is keep following your dreams and keep working.

At some point in time, we’ve all had a performance pressure, fear of losing, and dashing hopes. But always remember, you can do it! Now, do you think you can change the self-destructive behavior? The answer is, ambiguously yes! Giacomo Casanova rightly said, “Be the flame, not the moth”!