Are you feeling stuck in a cycle of self-destructive behaviors? Kristine and Lauren are here to guide you through understanding these behaviors, their roots, and how they can impact your life in unimaginable ways. You'll gain insights into how low self-esteem and these behaviors intertwine, especially in relationships, and can lead to dangerous outcomes such as inactivity, addiction or even death.
We're not stopping at defining the problem; we will guide you through solutions. Let's get real about childhood trauma, its lasting effects on adult lives, and the initiation of self-destructive behaviors. We'll have a deep conversation about healing past traumas, taking control of our lives, and the power of self-love and self-care. Through our journey, we'll discover the power of belief in self, how and where to find help if you're stuck, and the importance of self-awareness in managing these behaviors. Join us on this empowering journey and transform your perspective on self-destructive behaviors.
This week’s source notes:
Self-destructive behaviors https://www.pinerest.org/newsroom/articles/halt-self-destructive-behaviors-blog/ Childhood trauma and adult patterns https://www.choosingtherapy.com/self-destructive-behavior/ https://www.barbrarussell.com/new-blog/2020/12/12/if-you-dont-address-your-childhood-traumas-your-romantic-relationships-will 8 Rules of Love - Jay Shetty https://psychcentral.com/lib/breaking-the-cycle-of-shame-and-self-destructive-behavior#recap https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1957928/
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Welcome back to your Always Fine a space to show up for yourself and embrace the mess that lives underneath because, let's be real, it's exhausting always being fine. So grab your headphones and allow yourself to listen, laugh and even cry, because you are not alone and we aren't always fine. And that's okay.Speaker 2:
We are here with another episode of You're Always Fine, and today we are untangling the web of self-destruction. I'm your host, christine.Speaker 1:
And I'm Lauren. All right, Lau.Speaker 2:
We could have done this episode very surface level and talked about the behaviors that we kind of all know are self-destructive, ranging from having a stuff in dessert, impulse shopping or maybe having one or too many margs but that's not how we roll. So before we dig in, can you just give us a baseline definition of self-destructive behaviors?Speaker 1:
Sure. In a nutshell, destructive behavior is a behavior that causes harm, physically or emotionally. It can be unintentional and also manifest along a spectrum that can vary from mild to severe, impacting an individual's life, safety and or health. So, on the milder end, these patterns might result in negative social, financial or vocational impacts. However, as you can imagine, on the severe end of those self-destructive tendencies, those can result in significant harm or death to the individual.Speaker 2:
So where I actually want to go today is in the middle of those two, which I know probably seems like yeah, Christine, you always want to go into the balance, but I actually don't think this is the balance. The middle of these two, I think, is actually like forgot in place of self-destructive behaviors, Because I think those are the ones that live very deep inside our subconscious. It really hits on that unintentional aspect of the definition and this is the ones where it's like no one would choose negative things for themselves knowingly, like literally nobody. But there's this deep, deep subconscious element here that creates that pattern that we just keep doing and at times that we're completely blind to know that we're doing it or how we even got there.Speaker 1:
Subconscious is the key word there, because we can very easily ask ourselves, maybe even in retrospect, why we done, did the damn thing. Was it a coping mechanism? Or perhaps was it a way to stay in our comfort zone, encased in this lovely little predictable bubble that we have created? I think, by first examining or at the very least dipping our toe into the deep, is definitely worth exploring as a way to uncover some of those dark behaviors. Regardless, though, of what those root causes might be, of those behaviors, it's important, it's crucial, to highlight the very real dangers or threats to our well-being and lives. If such behaviors are allowed to run rampant Mildly, those feelings of anxiety and depression can certainly occur. Furthermore, that inaction or, quote unquote paralyzed feeling can prevent progress and lead to a life on autopilot which shameless plug. Check out our previous episode on autopilot because it's not a life worth living. I shouldn't say that that sounds very grave, but still I mean, yeah, check out that episode. Similarly, addictions addictions are, they coexist right there along with self-destructive behaviors, and those can begin to warp your sense of reality and self, and ultimately, death or grave, irreversible self-injury can occur, and I mean this to have the impact that I hope it does to kind of shake us all into waking or becoming aware of those self-destructive behaviors, because I think we can all think of an instance where it truly and rarely is contained within you know someone else, at least one person almost always has to pay the price along with you, and that's unfortunate.Speaker 2:
Oof, there was a lot in there, and so I mean, I couldn't agree more especially with that. I wanna hit on that last sentiment of the fact that very rarely do you pay those consequences. You know a loan or the destruction that is in your wake, if you will, when I was at tea and I developed an eating disorder out of a self-destructive pattern that I was very aware of. Actually, I mean, I remember the night that I decided, like cold turkey, I was not gonna eat anymore and I was like actively restricting and it felt like a decision. To this day it felt like a decision. You know, of course, like there's a lot of control in there because you feel out of control, but you know, before it got out of hand, it was a decision. Just think that hit really hard because that it's so true. You know it's all these things Like there's multiple people in your wake and you know the subconscious is a tricky, tricky beast. It wasn't until I really started to prioritize healing that it became evident how deep like that introspection has to be and how vulnerable you have to be with yourself to get to those dark, dark places of the subconscious. I don't know. Laura what about you. Any examples of self-destruction on any end of the spectrum.Speaker 1:
Ha ha ha. Yeah, where do I begin? Ha ha ha. Well, so one of the one area that I definitely do it and I know I'm not alone in this is in my relationships Not everyone but I there is a degree of self-sabotage, you know, present in them. One example, you know, or one reason that self-sabotage is present in my relationships is, you know, low self-esteem when it comes to my body. You know, I come from a bi-racial household where, you know, my dad is Mexican and my mom is, you know, white and tall, thin, you know, dead modeling in her days and my dad was, I mean, my dad was not this portly little man, but I mean all of his sisters, all the women in his side of the family. Like we got them Latin curves. Okay, like I'm, like Shakira, my hips don't lie. They give me away, people, they give me away. But when growing up, comparing myself to my siblings who looked more like my mom, you know I was constantly comparing and there were definitely times that negative self-talk was ever present and guess what? That stayed with me, like that's still present, like right now, to this day, you know, and I led with sex a lot in my relationships, you know, so that the focus wasn't so much on my body.Speaker 2:
You know, compensating with sex to feel loved or to make up for something, while that that had deeper than I expected it to.Speaker 1:
But I came to think that if I was really good in bed, that I would not be able to have that focus, you know, on my body. And so this, these behaviors led me down some very risky paths, as you can imagine. And after a health scare, you know, I was brought back to reality. Luckily I was unscathed, you know, and it was just that it was just a health scare. It was like the universe's way of warning me, like, hey, listen, you know, you better knock that off, you know. And so that was just one aspect of self-sabotage, you know, and that negative thinking and self-talk that really just kind of went hand in hand. And then another reason that I sometimes tend to self-sabotage in relationships is kind of like an imposter syndrome, almost, you know, worrying that my guy would find out that I'm not that cool or don't really have it all together. Spoiler alert, I don't, I do not, I do not. I'm still figuring life out. But you know, keeping men at a distance didn't really allow me to let me be vulnerable and consequently test the true emotional capacity of that relationship.Speaker 2:
Again. Just so much in this last little bit, because I think when you said how you were lucky to be unscathed, I can tell you how many times I just look back, and I'm not sure if it's because I'm older now, but I so often think to myself holy crap, I do. I often just feel much like you, just extremely lucky that I didn't have to pay a higher consequence For the self-destructive behaviors that I engaged in, especially in my 20s.Speaker 1:
Oh yeah.Speaker 2:
And then that last point you made about the emotional capacity of the relationship. Gosh, yes, and I think so much of that is. We literally create the situations we're so afraid of. Attachment theory, I think, does a beautiful job in explaining this, but so many people are kind of like struggle to look at why that is right and that is all. Attachment is rooted within your childhood and I think people are really scared to go there, but the reality of it is is childhood trauma contributes to the initiation of self-destructive behaviors, and then the lack of secure attachments, coupled with the shame and the narrative we create for ourselves, foster and maintain it.Speaker 1:
Yeah, and this is where, as cliche as it sounds starting with your childhood, to see if there is anything there that may have lent itself to your own demise. It can be helpful to investigate that and let yourself go there. And it's hard, especially if you're somebody that really survived through a trauma. And I'll say this the word trauma gets thrown around so easily nowadays and it's natural to think of trauma as something major. However, trauma can also be composed of aftershocks or microtramas that compound upon one another A few examples, such as growing up with emotionally immature parents, divorce, whether your own, or surviving through your parents, bullying, et cetera. So, yeah, I agree, I think it's really helpful to let yourself go there and start with your childhood.Speaker 2:
And I see this a lot in the beginning of sessions, but especially when people are just exploring that inner landscape there's definitely a stigma or a misconception that things from your childhood. If you carry them as an adult, there's something wrong with you or you should let that go because it's so far in the past. How long are you going to hold on to what happened to you in the 12th grade? But that is so far from the truth. Every part and every experience you have creates the foundation of how you see the world, how you interact with the world, how you survive it, how you feel secure, and you have to take time to understand and heal the very earliest memory that you do have all the way through. You can't ignore it or try to suppress it. You have to take care of it because there is no such thing as leaving it behind. So you can either lean into it and give that pain a seat next to you but no final board vote or whatever on how to handle your life or you can ignore it and then it's just something that haunts you and you almost become like a puppet to it.Speaker 1:
Yeah, something that was helpful for me speaks a little bit to that, and it was helpful after experiencing some of those micro traumas. It was a visualization exercise that was either given to me by a therapist is to visualize the little you in a scenario where perhaps you're relentlessly trying to garner the attention or attachment from your caregiver or your parent, but instead of looking up and finding your parent, you visualize looking up at big you.Speaker 2:
You as an adult. Yeah, yeah.Speaker 1:
As an adult already, having lived this life up to this point and in that moment, depending on what feeling is coming up or what little you needed, it is okay to visualize yourself kneeling down and come face to face with little you and comfort or care for you in that moment, and maybe you're not at a place where you're ready to do so. Maybe you're still upset or resentful or afraid to confront that, you know, or that it wasn't your caregiver or your community that could hear or see you. But you can give yourself that because it was you and it is you. You know. Learning to provide that self-care and self-love retroactively can also be a very transformative and healing experience and help you begin to forge that path on undoing the self-destruction.Speaker 2:
I think when I say, like everything you need is already inside of you, that's like the epitome of what I mean. You can give that to yourself. It gets lost. You know that how much power we actually have and how much control that we have. And I know for myself, I like did not see myself doing anything destructive in my relationships for so long. One of the most frustrating parts of my therapy was that I just wanted to remember something that like made me sad, Like I knew how I felt in the moment but I couldn't tie it to anything Like where did it go wrong? Like I was a happy child, I had great friends, I was, you know, really good at sports. I was an okay student but didn't matter because I was really good at sports. You know, Like I loved my life but I was so destructive in my intimate relationships and, you know, I think I'm still working through. If you don't address like a childhood pain, your relationships will address it for you.Speaker 1:
Yeah, yeah, to add on to that, you know, and not necessarily from an intimate relationship standpoint, but from a working relationship standpoint. You know, you know, you know I also felt like in my childhood I at times was unheard or sometimes like my opinions or feelings didn't matter, and so no surprise to me that I really took my job as a nurse when it came to patient advocacy, very, very seriously, because I mean to me these are people in like, the most vulnerable position you will ever see any human person existing when, like you, literally have no control over, like, your life is in someone else's hands. At this point, and I'm already feeling myself like getting passionate, it's so true. So I will say I say this because I tend to raise my voice. I have never yelled, I have insight, you know but I have definitely raised my voice in arguments or in confrontations when I feel like I am not heard or like my patient's needs aren't being addressed properly. And I will be the first to admit there are times where it probably came across very unprofessional and a couple of managers one very dear to me and actually was in the manager of my psychiatry unit, you know pulled me aside for some. You know crucial conversations and very professional conversations, because I was one of the younger nurses on the unit at the time and she was from the South and, oh my gosh, she was just so sweet everything was in euphemisms Like she could have very plainly just come right out and said listen, you're hotheaded and you need to knock it off, you know. But instead she was like now, lauren, you are how am I going to say this Passionate and I just had to giggle and she giggled and she goes, you know, but essentially, while that enthusiasm and that advocacy is great to see, just remember that you know, sometimes the message can get lost when you're you know yelling, or when you're not yelling, but when you're raising your voice like that or you know being a little too passionate, as she would say. So I mean, you know those are. Those are things too that, again from a childhood where I felt unheard or unrecognized at times when it came to my opinions, like I can see how that has manifested in work relationships, but also, yes, in intimate relationships as well.Speaker 2:
Any of my clients, they would definitely smile if they were listening, because I say this all the time but don't let your childhood trauma or pain make your adult decisions. You know, when I say that I mean you're in control of your life. You're in control of your life. Honor that kid that you used to be, that was hurt and was in pain, and then forgive that kid for all the destruction and chaos they caused, because that was the only way they could survive. But do not let that kid drive. They can ride shotgun. They can ride shotgun with you. They can even advise you on the directions and pick the freaking snacks if they want. But this adult version, this version of you that is healing. That's the person who's hands around the wheel and that's the person who's driving.Speaker 1:
I love that analogy, christine. I love that. And what a simple analogy, you know. Letting the child you ride shotgun, but letting the adult you steer and drive the car, oh, love that. I think I will couple that visualization along with the one that I used earlier. That's wow, that's fantastic, I love that.Speaker 2:
I want to give you something that you can do that may slow down that knee jerk reaction to impulse or a strong emotion, or before you deploy that defense mechanism. However, when you feel that automatic impulse, try to halt before you take any action. So when I say halt first, check if you're hungry, hear me out. You know Maslow's hierarchy of need. Many times we forget the basic necessities, especially when we're stressed. We have GM pack schedules, we're multitasking, we have expectation of others, you know responsibilities. We tend to neglect that like bottom tier of Maslow's. I get that not, not physical health, not mental health, just health. Next is angry. I want to expand that to angry and all other emotions, because many of us were raised in families where anger or another emotion like was not allowed and this causes us to like avoid that emotion. When we acknowledge the emotion that we're avoiding, we allow that to have space and we don't push it down and kind of compound it. We're going to L now. So check in if you're lonely. When we're busy, when we're moving about or when we feel like something has triggered those behaviors that we usually deploy, it's the greater tendency we have to then like, get in our own way, to start playing that feedback loop and it gets very isolating. And then we put ourselves in that mindset of you know, shame and unworthy. Then the T check in with yourself about how tired you are. Have you done more than realistically any human can accomplish? You know, we get up earlier, we stay up later. We attempt to do everything for everyone. I think that's just our society in general. I think we're chronically sleep deprived. It will impact our decision making capacity and then again, either you might consume more alcohol, you might cave into some of those riskier behaviors, or you may just act outside of the person that you are or your character and lash out and stuff. So before you act in the moment, you know, go ahead and halt. There's a lot of inner child work and stuff to be done, but halt is definitely something easy to remember in the moment. I mean, at the very least, just ask yourself are you hangry?Speaker 1:
Okay, so you know that song Stop in the Name of Love. I just sang that in my head, but instead of stop I said halt in the name of love. Oh, this is such a great tool. I love this because that will help.Speaker 2:
Wait, halt. In the name of self love, boom. Oh yeah, I like that. I like that. Remember, your hands are on the wheel and you have everything you need inside of you. Just make sure you believe it for yourself Until next time. Mind your health. Seriously, you're fine. You're fine because you have the power to access your place of peace anytime you need it. However, if you get stuck, we're right at the palm of your hand to help Check out our show notes for this week's source list, recommended content and Kibana live group schedule. We'll catch you next week for a brand new episode of Love. You're Always Fine.