Is Breaking the Cycle of Shame and Self-Destructive Behaviors Worth It

Is Breaking the Cycle of Shame and Self-Destructive Behaviors Worth It


Most people are caught in a destructive cycle of self-destructive behavior and shame: they act destructively, feel so bad about all this, and then act destructively repeatedly. Shame may be a painful and terrible emotion. When you're humiliated, you can have the urge to harm or punish yourself. Or, to avoid or numb the pain, you might engage in self-destructive behaviors like taking drugs. The cycle therefore continues. However by focusing on mindfulness and self-compassion, it is possible to end this destructive cycle of shame and harmful behavior.

Cycle of shame

Shame is a normal human feeling that we all experience sometimes. Shame results in emotions like:

  • I am not lovable.

  • I'm a bad guy.

  • I've failed.

  • I'm not worthy of joy.

  • I don't matter or important to anyone.

Sometimes, shame can be so overwhelming that it motivates us to act destructively toward ourselves. You may feel more ashamed as a result of these self-destructive behaviors, which may encourage you to act out even more destructively. This sets off a vicious cycle of self-hatred and shame.

Meaning of self-destructive behaviors

Simple examples of self-destructive behavior include:

  • Drug and alcohol abuse

  • Excessive eating

  • Dangerous sexual conduct

  • Dangerous sexual conduct

  • Self-harm 

  • Careless spending

The following are examples of subtle self-destructive behavior:

  • Persistent avoidance

  • Seeking relationships with violent partners

  • Negative self-talk and identity comments that harm your relationships, job, or health

Self-destructive actions may be used as a short-term escape from humiliation. They can also serve as a form of self-punishment for engaging in actions you perceive to be undesirable, unhealthy or bad.

For example, you might feel guilty about skipping all of your classes at school and spending the entire day in bed. You keep up with this destructive behavior because you feel so embarrassed. Another example is that you might have a night of drug and alcohol use. The next morning, you can experience extreme guilt. Alcohol and drugs may be used by you because you feel so bad about yourself. You might also engage in self-harm or another damaging habit. For that, it's important to seek support from a Counseling psychologist or the  Best psychologist delhi.

The Price of Self-Destructive Behavior

This self-destructive loop can be intellectually and physically draining. Frequently leaving us feeling helpless, insecure, and stuck. Numerous mental health conditions, including low self-esteem, generalized anxiety disorder, and depression, could either create or aggravate this behavior. We may eventually get burnout if we don't take the appropriate action to prevent and stop this behavior. In effect, we are further drowning ourselves in self-doubt each time we give in to these tendencies. Seek support by searching the Therapist in delhi or visit an Online counsellor.

Effects of a self-destructive attitude can include the following

  • Inability to express feelings in words

  • Low self-esteem

  • Dissociation

  • Perfectionism

  • Disorganization

  • Pessimism

  • Fear paralysis

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Procrastination

Breaking the cycle of self destructive behavior and shame

Take note of your triggers

Shame is frequently associated with the worry that we are not even good enough. Different things make different individuals feel ashamed, and what makes one person feel ashamed might not make another person feel ashamed. Try to become more aware of your triggers. Think back to the last time you engaged in self-harm. What took place previous to that? What makes you feel so horribly ashamed? You could become more aware of your feelings of shame if you can identify your causes.

Try talking about it

Talking about the things you are ashamed of can be quite difficult. Because talking about something that makes you feel unpleasant will undoubtedly make you feel exposed. Think about discussing your thoughts and the reasons for your embarrassment with a friend who won't judge you or in a support group.

Reframe your shame if you can.

Shame frequently comes with negative self-talk. This self-destructive self-talk can worsen your self-esteem. Try rephrasing your feelings of shame as they arise, whether they are related to self-destructive conduct or not. According to 2019 research, talking negatively to yourself can have an impact on your self-image. Although if you can try to stop your negative self-talk, it can make you feel better. Keep in mind that feeling ashamed is normal. But feeling ashamed doesn't make you a "bad person," and it doesn't need you to hurt or punish yourself.

Try practicing mindfulness to reduce shame.

A 2019 study examined shame, self-compassion, and mindfulness. It was shown that mindfulness practitioners were less likely to feel a lot of shame. Further study revealed that it is non-judgmental which is an important component of mindfulness, it teaches us to observe the world without passing judgment on our thoughts and observations which will help with reduced feelings of shame.

There are various techniques for practicing mindfulness, they are:

  • Including loving-kindness in your meditation, which emphasizes developing compassion for oneself and others,

  • Focusing on your breath, movement, and physical sensations are all part of mindful yoga.

  • Writing in a notebook can help you pay attention to your thoughts and deliberately practice more self-compassionate mindful breathing, which in a 2017 study significantly reduced shame.

You can break the destructive cycle of self-hatred and shame with the help of mental health services. You can begin to process, understand, and change your behavior in a judgment-free setting with talk therapy or psychotherapy.

The symptoms listed below suggest it might be time to think about consulting a mental health expert: You feel disturbed or upset about your behavior since it's interfering with your relationships, home life, finances, or career or You're abusing drugs more frequently than you'd want and acting in a way that could be dangerous.

Additionally, you may schedule an appointment with the top professional psychologists and receive Mental health counseling at the Psychowellness Centre, which has many locations in Delhi NCR, NOIDA, Faridabad, Janakpuri, Dwarka, and Vasant Vihar.

Contribution: Dr (Prof) R K Suri, Clinical Psychologist, life coach & mentor TalktoAngel & Dr. Sakshi Kochhar, Psychologist.