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Self-destructive people share these 15 traits

Self-destructive people share these 15 traits

June 24, 2024

Do you know any person with a tendency towards self-destruction?

From clinical psychology, individuals with a self-destructive personality share a series of characteristics in their behavior. They are behaviors that go against their interests, are counterproductive to their well-being and cause physical and psychological harm to themselves.

Who suffers this type of self-destructive personality?

Personality traits of self-destructive people they usually appear in the adult stage, and may be the effect of a wide variety of contextual, psychological and biological factors .

These people tend to shy away from all the positive and pleasurable experiences that life offers them. This leads them to generate chaotic situations and interpersonal relationships and in which there is often suffering. In addition, they are usually closed and do not accept the help of their relatives.

Diagnosis (warning signs and symptoms)

Several diagnostic manuals indicate the main characteristics shared by people who tend towards self-destructive behaviors and habits.

If the person presents at least the five diagnostic criteria , we can talk about a person with a tendency towards self-destruction.

  • Tends to relate to people and develop in contexts in which disappointments are likely to occur and disappointments. You may even have a tendency to suffer abuse from other people, even choosing to interact in healthier environments.
  • Do not let other people help or advise you .
  • If they achieve some important improvement in their life (for example a good job or any other positive achievement) they react with depression, guilt or self-injurious behavior.
  • Causes others until they get angry with him and then he feels humiliated and offended.
  • Does not accept to engage in pleasant activities , or if he does not like to acknowledge that he has a good time (even if he has enough social skills).
  • It fails to carry out the tasks and commitments necessary to achieve its academic or professional objectives , although it has the capacity to do it. It can help other people to improve, but they are unable to apply the necessary knowledge and attitude to their own lives.
  • Does not accept that others are interested in their welfare .
  • He is too prone to self-sacrifice to help to other people.
  • He endures and does not rebel against the psychological, physical or sexual abuse that other people inflict on him.
  • The behaviors described do not only take place when the individual is depressed or in especially harsh circumstances.

Understanding the behavior of these people

It is difficult to understand why self-destructive people do not let other people help them out of their situation. How do you explain that they have very bad habits that will sooner or later cause them problems?

In general, we all seek that our life improves. We seek to feel comfortable and loved, we are motivated to seek greater welfare and positive experiences for our lives. But nevertheless, self-destructive behavior breaks with this general trend, and this is something that worries mental health professionals .

The genesis: low self-esteem

Self-destructive behaviors are often manifestations of various emotional conflicts and underlying disorders. Mainly, low self-esteem is the most cited cause, in addition to resentment towards oneself.

The community of mental health professionals often agree that This type of self-injurious behavior can be adaptive mechanisms before situations and contexts of great cognitive and emotional demand . For example, stress, anxiety, work pressure and other factors may be the necessary (but not sufficient) basis for a person to react in a self-destructive way.

However, other professionals point out that people with this type of behavior could be imprisoned in their comfort zone, due to their low self-esteem, stigmata of indignity or poor self-confidence.

Habits and typical behaviors in self-destructive people

The self-destructive behavior can acquire different manifestations, some more severe, and others less worrisome.

In total, we can list up to 15 frequent behaviors and habits .

1. Negative thoughts

Recurring negative thoughts can be the foundation of self-destructive behavior. When these people focus on the bad that could happen, they end up obsessing and it is much more likely that these fatalities materialize in reality. Examples of these thoughts are: "I'm sure I'm going to fail", "This one will not go well", and so on.

2. Inability to face the problem

This is a passive manifestation, but it is one of the keys to understanding a self-destructive person.Psychologically balanced people are able to take action when they are living in a negative situation. Instead, individuals with this problem do nothing to avoid pain , with which each time they feel more useless and immersed in a spiral of inaction.

3. Eating disorders

Eating too much can be a self-destructive behavior with terrible effects in the medium and long term . It can also be the opposite: feeding very little, which is also associated with poor self-image.

4. Constant problems with other people

They often have frequent conflicts with other people . As expected, these conflicts end up turning against him. This can cause them to be rejected, isolated, and suffer humiliations and other problems related to the absence of social relationships.

5. Little confidence in their abilities

These people are perceived as unintelligent and do not believe in their chances of achieving important things . This low perception of one's own abilities can be the prelude to inactivity, and can bury any work or academic project.

6. Self-injury

Inflicting physical harm is a sign that the person has significant problems and is a clearly self-destructive behavior. It is one of the most dangerous and its ultimate and irreversible expression is suicide.

7. Self-indulgence: "everything goes wrong"

Another characteristic feature is self-pity . It gives them a certain unconscious comfort because the self-pitying thoughts help them to remain motionless, recreating themselves in their misfortunes. This prevents them from taking the reins of their lives and leaving the negative spiral.

8. Drug addiction

Another classic feature is the abuse of toxic substances, such as alcohol or other drugs. It is a behavior that not only affects the physical and mental health of the affected, but also breaks down the relationship with family and friends.

9. Isolation (deliberate)

Deliberately (although sometimes not at all conscious), self-destructive people move away from their friends and peers . This is achieved with a series of annoying and antisocial behaviors that irritate their relatives, to the point that they are excluded from social groups.

10. They do not express their emotions

They usually hide their feelings . This tendency to repress negative and even positive emotions can lead to different manifestations of mental and emotional problems, as well as psychosomatic disorders.

11. They refuse to be helped

They are people who do not let themselves be helped by family members , neither by friends, nor by mental health professionals.

12. Exaggerated sacrifices

Have you heard of Wendy's syndrome? It is a set of common symptoms among people who focus too much on meeting the needs of other individuals, neglecting their own well-being. It is a self-destructive behavior because, under the label of altruistic behavior, they are able to deny their own freedom and lose the way to happiness.

13. Uncontrolled expenses

Slot machines, addiction to shopping or gambling can involve uncontrolled expenses that indicate that a person does not enjoy emotional or psychological balance. It is a very frequent self-destructive behavior.

14. Lack of physical and mental care

They can be long seasons abandoning themselves physically and mentally : they sleep little, they feed negligently, they do not practice physical activity, they almost do not take a shower ... they are very typical signs among people with a tendency to self-destruction. They also do not pay attention to certain psychological problems they may be suffering.

15. Jealous, possessive ...

They are not able to take proper care of their romantic relationships . They exhibit jealous behavior, possessiveness, emotional blackmail, and even violence. Obviously, couples end up leaving.


Self-destructive people express different behaviors that, consciously or unconsciously, destroy their physical and emotional health. Your path to happiness and success is truncated by this type of attitude.

Luckily, this type of psychological pictures can be treated by mental health professionals , that can promote therapies and actions aimed at improving their quality of life and solve this type of internal conflicts.

5 Of The Most Self-Destructive Behaviors, And Why We Do Them (June 2024).

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