Emotional Self-Harm: When We Hurt Ourselves?

When we talk about self-injury it is common to think almost instantly of a physical injury. Moreover, this type of deliberate self-aggression is becoming increasingly common as a way to calm (dramatically) anger, suffering or frustration. Now, as striking as it may seem to us, there is something even more recurring about what is barely spoken: they are emotional self-harm.

Injuries are not carried out solely in the universe of the physical, in the territory of the skin and the senses . We know that punches hurt, just like words hurt . That is why, it is almost easier for us to identify that form of pain that comes from outside and that causes others in infinite and twisted ways, either through contempt, abuse, emptiness, shouting, deception, etc.

Now … and what about that form of pain that is inflicted on oneself? Is that possible, are there really “emotional self-harm”? The answer is simple and resounding, yes; in fact they are very common, we practice them all frequently and we are not aware of it . They are wounds that also leave serious consequences.

They are lacerations to self-esteem, direct blows to one’s dignity that end up suppurating in the form of anguish or anxiety. Gradually, the wound becomes infected and brings with it a depression. Let’s know a little more about this topic.

Emotional self-harm, what are they?

The emotional self – injury can be defined as those thoughts and behaviors that act against us and also are clearly harmful to our emotional well – being. Something like that forces us to reflect on the concept of wounds as such.

Thus, while it is true that we are concerned with behaviors such as cutting, risuka, or self-injury that many adolescents carry out when wounding their body through cuts, there is this other dimension that goes more unnoticed. Emotional self-aggressions are the substrate of mood disorders , especially if that form of internal injury is practiced constantly, day after day.

Now how do we do it? What are these types of dynamics that erect that form of self-inflicted suffering? Let’s see it below.

That internal critic so relentless

In each of us there is a voiceover , a figure with whip and other tools of torture with which he likes to martyrize us . He does it in the form of a boycott, convincing us that we are not valid for certain things, filling us with insecurity, reminding us of yesterday’s mistakes and putting ballast on our potential.

Now, make no mistake, because that torturer has our face and our voice: we are ourselves . We who give it strength through negative internal dialogue, irrational ideas, meaningless fears and that discourse fueled by low self-esteem . That internal critic is responsible for much of our emotional injuries.

Emotional self-harm in the form of patterns

When we talk about behaviors that follow the same pattern we mean behaviors that repeat over time, which follow the same line. How do we relate this to emotional self-harm? In a way that will be familiar to all of us. Some people always end up finding the same kind of emotional partner : someone narcissistic and abusive with establishing a dependent bond .

It’s like falling back and forth on the same stone without having learned to identify and dodge it. These types of situations generate double suffering and recurring frustration. Because we not only feel the pain of that harmful relationship, but we also end up blaming ourselves for falling in love with the same type of person.

When you don’t set limits, when you’re the doormat that everyone steps on

There are people with an immense heart, an infinite goodness that has no limits or protective measures. And this, let’s be clear, is a danger. Being noble, being an accessible person, willing to help, to do what is possible for others is admirable. However, in case of not putting protective barriers and not knowing how to say “no” when necessary, it ends up generating numerous emotional injuries.

There are many who take advantage of the goodness of others and do not hesitate to use others as mats , as surfaces that trample at will. Let’s avoid it, because the effects of these situations are very harmful to self-esteem.

Lead a life without passion, without motivation

Life is not just work or routine or pleasing others as much as we love them . An authentic life needs passion, projects to fulfill, illusions, to be able to do what we love, to dedicate time to ourselves through experiences that excite us, that make us grow.