Self-abuse how is it related to self-esteem

Everyday, millions of people all over the world engage in some form of self-abuse. Whether it’s through physical means such as cutting or burning, or psychological means such as negative self-talk or excessive criticism, self-abuse is a destructive habit that can have serious consequences. Left unchecked, self-abuse can lead to depression, anxiety, and even suicide.

What impact does self-harm have on our lives? How does it affect self-esteem? What do we lose when we hurt ourselves this way? We talk about it here.

Self-abuse is the opposite of self-esteem, and it’s a much more common practice than you might think. Many of us make internal judgments about who we are, what we deserve, what our work is worth… We minimize our accomplishments and magnify our mistakes.

The level of requirement is high: we always feel that we could have done better. The actions carried out are then despised, which seriously damages self-esteem.

How does self-abuse develop?

In general terms, self-esteem is the ability to value oneself. This concept also involves the challenge of dealing with the negative thoughts that other people may think about us.

Low self-esteem makes us more open to criticism from others. It is even likely that we consider the criticisms of others as absolute truths. This is when the “inner dictator” of self-abuse begins to develop. We downplay our accomplishments and focus on our mistakes, among other things.

Self-abuse: the origin of the inner dictator

We are exposed to the evaluation and judgment of others from our birth. If, our failures have been punished and if our achievements, to some extent, have been downplayed, we will probably come to see ourselves as people with few resources.

Moreover, we will have the feeling that not failing is particularly important. Otherwise, we will have to face the judgments and criticisms of others. In this dynamic, the criticism of others can be internalized, and we then end up considering that we have little value.

In turn, our own criticisms of ourselves become far more callous than those of others. We may harbor the belief that we are not valid, that we are not worthy of love, etc. We may believe that our essence is based on our accomplishments, which are seen as having little value.

How do we practice self-abuse?

Normalizing self-abuse is very dangerous. Not only does this damage self-esteem, but it can also lead to serious problems, such as mood disorders, especially depressive disorders.

Self-abuse does not appear suddenly. This kind of self-aggression has been ingrained for years. Sometimes it is even difficult to distinguish the reviews of others from our own reviews.

When self-abuse is established in our lives, even the most constructive criticism we receive from others to improve ourselves is seen as a failure. For instance :

Have you ever been told to do a task at work, in a different way for better results, and thought you weren’t doing your job well?

How many times have you focused on your mistakes even though your efforts were recognized?

Have you ever thought that you are not worthy of the job you have, that someone could do it better than you, and that at any moment your bosses are going to find out?

Stop listening to the dictator within

The voice of the dictator within can be so loud that it can paralyze our values-based action. If we interrupt activities that we deem worthwhile, we will base our lives on the will not to fail.

Trying not to fail means not being ready to experience uncomfortable situations on the path of values. However, we will not get rid of the “inner dictator” of self-abuse. He will probably tell us that we are in the situation we are in because we are afraid and cannot cope with it.

But what is the role of self-esteem?

Have you ever stopped to observe your situation as if another person were observing it? If you do, you will see for yourself that this inner dictator drives you away from what you consider important.

Listening to this internal dialogue and believing it to be absolute truth can be frustrating when it comes to pursuing goals. Often the mind will tell us that we are not capable of it. However, trying to eliminate the “dictator within” is like weeding out a garden. We can uproot them, but they will continue to grow.

Reading self-esteem books also does not help eliminate these forms of self-harm. They only teach guidelines to improve self-esteem. But they are only one more knowledge compared to the experience of several years.

However, there is the possibility of looking at this struggle between self-abuse and self-esteem from another point of view: the practice of self-compassion. Self-compassion allows us to observe this struggle from another angle: it allows us to fail and encourages us to observe what is happening in our inner world when discomfort arises.

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Vogue Health Team


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