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12 Signs Of Self-Destructive People

12 Signs Of Self-Destructive People

Although the meaning of life has been debated since the beginning of time, perhaps the most valid reason we have for existing on Earth is simply to do just that: exist. Human beings, like all living creatures, are meant to thrive. It’s a wonder, then, that so many of us unfortunately practice habits that are self-destructive. Think about it: if all humans practiced all of these behaviors 100% of the time, our species would cease to exist much sooner than later. Though some of these actions may not seem so harmful, the long-term effects they have on a person’s life can be increasingly detrimental if left unchecked. Most self-destructive people practice many, if not all, of these in some way throughout their daily life:

1. They hold a self-defeating mindset

Many people who suffer from depression or anxiety actively believe they are no good whatsoever at anything they try to do. If they blow a job interview, it will take weeks for them to rebound and work up the guts to apply for another job. If they fail a test, they’ll simply give up and never learn the material they were supposed to. Self-destructive people focus on when things go wrong in their lives, rather than realize that, up until the moment things went wrong, things were going just fine. Reversing that mindset is the first step toward leaving your self-destructive outlook on life behind.

2. They don’t take action

Self-destructive people also rarely take action to better themselves. After bombing a job interview, they won’t look back at what they did wrong and try to improve for the next time; they simply blow it off and say “It’ll never happen for me.” Of course it won’t, if you don’t learn from past mistakes. People who are considered true success stories have lost out on job opportunities in the past, but they learned from the experience and figured out how to do better the next time. If you try, you have a chance of succeeding or failing; if you don’t try, you have zero chance of either.

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3. They practice forced incompetence

The most common example I can think of to illustrate forced incompetence is when a student (or adult, for that matter) says “I’m just not a math person.” While some people do have a natural gift for certain skills, these gifts mean nothing if they’re not practiced. Just because you’re “not a math person,” or “not very musical,” doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to learn those skills. Sure, it might be more difficult for you than it is for others, but that’s all the more reason to be proud of yourself for working hard and achieving something. If every player in the NBA quit just because they’re not as good as Michael Jordan, there wouldn’t be enough players in the league to field a single team.

4. They practice self-pity

This goes along with the past three entries. Feeling bad for yourself gets you nowhere. Everyone has shortcomings and weaknesses; everyone does. Having the attitude that God put you on this planet to be miserable is a self-fulfilling prophecy. What good is wallowing in your own sorrow? After your pity party is over, you’ll still be just as miserable, and will have wasted precious time you could have used to better yourself in some way. Stop feeling bad for yourself, and work on the negative qualities in your life that are dragging you down.

5. They act negatively to others

Self-destructive people are also usually rude and abrasive to other individuals as well. While it certainly isn’t productive to be nasty to your own self, there is absolutely no reason you should take your misery out on others. In fact, being kind to others may be the catalyst that brightens up your day, and puts you on the path to being kind to yourself as well. No matter how bad your life is currently going, you never know what others are dealing with. Being kind to others may help you realize you don’t have it so bad, after all.

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6. They abuse drugs or alcohol

Perhaps the most vicious cycle a self-destructive person can get into is that of drug or alcohol addiction. You drink because you’re miserable, you wake up miserable, and start drinking again. Meanwhile, the world around you keeps turning, and you’re another day older without having built any sort of skills to help better your situation. And, of course, once this thought crosses your mind, you feel absolutely worthless, so you reach into the fridge for another bottle. If you’re feeling depressed, alcohol or drugs are certainly not the answer to your problems.

7. They run from emotions

Whether through alcohol and drug abuse or not, self-destructive people hide from their emotions. They might put on a happy face and make others believe that “everything is okay,” but bottling up emotions only leads to an explosion at some point in the future. Self-destructive people not only run from negative emotions, but positive ones as well. Sometimes, self-destructive people might even be scared to find that they actually do feel happy, and be looking for things to go all wrong. If you’re always looking for the negatives in life, you’re sure to find them.

8. They isolate themselves socially

Whether actively or passively, self-destructive people tend to isolate themselves from their peers, and society in general. This is done by either alienating friends and family by actively insulting them or generally being a nuisance, or passively, by not answering phone calls or texts, ignoring invitations, or blowing off special occasions. A self-destructive person may think that by isolating themselves from others they’re doing the world a favor, but in actuality they’re doing harm to themselves and everyone that cares for them.

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9. They refuse to be helped

Along with isolating themselves from loved ones, self-destructive people fail to acknowledge they need help. They wouldn’t be caught dead in a therapist’s office, no matter how much they know deep down that they need it. This is due in part to the stigma attached to visiting a therapist, but this pressure can be alleviated if they take the first step and make that initial appointment. They might be pleasantly surprised at how much better they feel after spending just one hour speaking to a professional who can help put them on the right track.

10. They neglect their needs

Along with refusing to be helped, self-destructive people often don’t take very good care of themselves. They don’t eat healthy; they either eat too much, or too little. They don’t go to the gym. They don’t bathe or shave regularly. They usually live in squalor. Sadly, all of these factors point to severe depression. If just one step is taken toward bettering themselves, they might begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. A fresh shave and a change of clothes could be the catalyst that gets someone up and out of the house, moving on to the first day of the rest of their lives.

11. They practice unnecessary self-sacrifice

This probably hits home to more people than any of the other sections in this entire article. Some of us are so intent on making others happy that they don’t take time for themselves. Whether by working too hard, volunteering for too many things, or going out with friends just because they feel like they have to, so many of us neglect ourselves in favor of others for absolutely no reason. Many times, its best to put yourself first, and let others know it’s nothing personal; you just need time to recharge.

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12. They practice self-harm

If this applies to you, I implore you to seek professional assistance immediately. Those that physically abuse their own bodies are clearly unhappy with themselves and their lives, to the point that they actively want to disfigure their own being. Some see it as a way to relieve stress, but it is an incredibly counterproductive way of doing so. This is the one part of this list that I have absolutely no personal experience dealing with, so I will not pretend to be able to give you advice except this: Please, if you ever feel like hurting yourself, please seek professional help.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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