Monday, 14 March 2016

Ways in which we self harm with no weapon...

When we think of the term "self harm" we think of teenagers with razors or addicts refusing to get help, but I think the problem is a far wider one with a good percentage of the population coming under the umbrella of "self harm" at one point or another in our lives.

For instance who hasn't looked at up an ex just to "see" what ever he or she is doing knowing full well that they have probably moved on with their lives and are seeing other people. We know that seeing this will insight some emotional response mostly we hope the response we want to get from ourselves is contempt or relief but 9 times out of 10 it only gives us pain but we still go ahead and do it.

I'd like to think that no one is ignorant to the fact that abuse in relationships is not healthy or right and yet there are thousands of people that stay within an abusive relationship with flimsy justifications of why we should stay or how breaking up isn't an option.

Then there are those people who are spend their lives trying to compete in a contest that no one else is involved in. They spend precious time and energy scratching around for information about a person and then try to compete with that person in an effort to somehow "one up" them and that continuously fails as the target of their obsession is normally ignorant of them and so the person is in a never ending cycle of disappointment and with that further deflating their self esteem and actually harming themselves.

As I think about these things it seems to me that people feel a need to punish themselves which in turn allows them to feel in control of their own being.

From the day we are born we are being told what to do by other human beings for good or bad we are instructed in the many ways it takes to become an adult and while for the most part this is done with good intentions and love it is also done with the sense that it must be done, that it is the only thing that is to be done and when the rules aren't followed then punishment of any kind is often quick to follow.

As adults we are suddenly let out in to the world without further instruction and without the familiarity of rules and punishment which has given us our sense of security for the last 18 years.

When my eldest child turned 18 last year I was shocked to see the fear on her face at the realisation that she was now solely responsible for herself.  Obviously over the last few months she has come to terms with that, reassured by us as parents that we aren't going to just abandon her now she is 18 but also respecting the fact she must make her decisions about where she wants to go and how she wants to proceed with her life. What strikes me is that with that sense of fear she first felt it can be followed by anxiety and the feeling of losing control over the life she's always known and this in turn may bring her to try and emulate the limits and guidelines we have given her while growing up.

Now we all know that being an adult is nothing like being a child and the rules of the games are not the same so to it makes sense to try and self govern when a world of possibility is opened up to you in one turn of the 24 hour clock and while we may try impose on ourselves values and ideals that we think are right we are often left floundering when things don't turn out how we expected them to. This is when the "self punishment" side of our character kicks in,

I think we use this as a way to control and correct mistakes we feel we have made.  If we can "tell ourselves off" to the point of either mental or physical pain we feel we can make our lives go the way we'd like them to, as in the way we can "sorry" as a child and make everything better again.

I feel it is good that this is something I am aware of in my own personality, with a constant stream of chatter in my head telling me I'm not good enough the impulse to do things that I know will cause me pain is very strong as a way of a "punishment" to myself. It is a constant thing that I need to remind myself that I am good enough and I am worthy even when I make the occasional mistake.

I hope I can keep fighting the battle and that I don't get swallowed in to a vicious cycle of mentally self harming myself, as not only will I suffer but my family will suffer too.

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