Self-destruction is a scary trait, and it can be pretty easy to spot in other people. From people drinking too much, to someone who doesn’t address their anger until they punch walls.
But those are the obvious (and serious!) ones, and if you notice these in yourself, I would encourage you to seek help. There are also plenty of self-destructive habits that are harder to recognise because they are subtle, or they are disguised as good things. We live in a society that prizes hard work and can perceive burning out as a good thing, and that’s really unhealthy. I am definitely guilty of taking on way too much and then burning out, and procrastinating everything! These are the self-destructive habits I have noticed that can really mess with people (particularly me!) and because they look okay, they don’t really get addressed, but they can actually be quite harmful.
Moving goal posts when you get close to achieving them:
This could be moving a savings goal further ahead as soon as you get close to achieving it, or it could that couple of extra kilos off your goal weight. Moving the goal just as you get close is destructive because it means you’re never letting yourself be satisfied with your own hard work and effort. In my experience, perfectionists are the worst at this one
Distracting yourself from your big goals with tiny, meaningless things:
Like if you want to get your assignment done and then spend all your time on your format, or when you have a deadline, but you decide cleaning the whole house is a better plan. Prioritising small, ultimately short-term goals in front of long-term, but more difficult goals, cushions you from really trying.
Being hypercritical of yourself
This could be in the form of negative self-talk or something you worked really hard for immediately losing value as soon as you achieve it, but if you’re constantly beating yourself down, you’re not in the mindset to grow and develop.
Food, alcohol, drugs, Netflix.
Sub-Consciously making choices that suck because you think you don’t deserve to succeed:
This could be picking an unsuitable partner or something else, but making decisions out of your low sense of self-worth can have negative impacts on your life.
Setting Unrealistic Goals:
Setting unrealistic goals, like going from a couch to a marathon in a month is unrealistic, it will discourage you from trying because the goal is too big and when you don’t reach it, it’s discouraging to try again. It’s a way of stopping you from actually trying because it’s too hard to even start.
Alienating Yourself from Other People:
I love hibernating, but hiding from the world, and alienating yourself from your support system can make feelings of depression and helplessness worse.
Burning Yourself Out:
By going at a 100 miles an hour, without giving yourself a break or time to look after yourself, you end up exhausted, sick and discouraged to do anything. I know this because I do this all the time.
Not Enjoying Your Downtime:
Have you ever done the thing, where you’re watching Netflix (or something similar), trying to enjoy your downtime, but you’re really stressing out about all the stuff you need to do? It’s not great, and it taints your relaxation time, making it less enjoyable.
Being a Perfectionist:
Nothings ever going to be perfect, you can find flaws in everything.
Keeping a toxic friend in your life:
It could be people you have known for a long time or people you feel obligated to in some other way, but hanging out with people who are condescending, manipulative or otherwise treat you badly is not a great self-care move.
What are sneaky forms of self-destruction that you have noticed?