Punishing and sabotaging ourselves

Princess DianaPrincess Diana is among many people who have self-harmed. She admitted cutting her arms and legs, explaining, “You have so much pain inside yourself that you try and hurt yourself on the outside because you want help.”

[From the page Cutting.]

Physical self-harm is a complex experience, not simply explained as just a cry for help. And some physical modifications like tattooing and piercing are accepted and even culturally sanctioned.

Most of us don’t engage in cutting, but we may still self-injure in more secret, emotional ways.

In his article The role of self-punishment in Dis-ease, counselor Steve Wells mentions a participant in one of his workshops who had a migraine severe enough she was thinking of leaving.

“I asked her what she felt might have brought on the migraine,” Wells writes, “and she told me that she had been a ‘bad girl’ and had a coffee earlier that morning and this migraine was clearly coming on ‘as a punishment’ for having had that coffee!

“Now I know that drinking lots of coffee can have a negative effect on people but one coffee? That seems a little harsh to me, to have to suffer so much as a result of having just one coffee… she seemed to be manifesting the migraine in order to punish herself for being a bad girl and having that coffee!”

Wells adds, “The challenge with these sorts of situations is that the person often feels a victim to their own internal processes, as if what happens in their body is completely out of their control.”

The Biology of BeliefSteve Wells is a practitioner of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), which Bruce Lipton, PhD [author of book The Biology of Belief] describes as”a simple, powerful process that can profoundly influence gene activity, health and behavior.”

In his article Let Your Subconscious Mind Go To Work for You – Part 2, David J. Pollay notes that in his book, cell biologist Bruce Lipton reported, “…the subconscious mind… processes some 20,000,000 environmental stimuli per second v. 40 environmental stimuli interpreted by the conscious mind in the same second…”

[Also see more Positive Psychology articles.]

Psychologist Dan Neuharth, PhD advises us to be more forgiving of ourselves: “If you sometimes miss the boat, ‘step in it,’ or trip yourself up, you are not flawed, bad, or dysfunctional. You are human.”

He notes that “self-defeating behavior is a habit reinforced by biology, culture, and your individual upbringing and development. Like any habit, it can be unlearned.”

[From his book Secrets You Keep from Yourself: How to Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness.]

[Quotes from the page Self-limiting.]


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