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How Can I Stop Self-Destructive Behaviors?

Self-destructive habits and behaviors may seem impossible to break. These cycles can exist for most of your life and become exacerbated the more they play out. The first step to breaking the cycle is having the desire to change.

What Constitutes Self-Destructive Behavior?

The term “self-destructive” can be pretty broad. It’s often thrown around to describe any number of habits or actions that cause you to sabotage or hurt yourself. According to the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, self-destructive behaviors can include suicide ideation, self-injury, substance abuse, eating disorders, and risky sexual behaviors. These behaviors can range from mild to severe. Self-sabotage and feelings of self-loathing can also be considered self-destructive.

Breaking the Cycle of Self-Destructive Behaviors

The more self-destructive thoughts and behaviors you have, the worse you will feel about yourself. This cycle will continue until you make the conscious decision to stop it. In order to break these patterns for good, you can gradually implement positive actions each day.


Learning how to truly love yourself will help you shift your mindset off of self-destruction. Self-love and compassion will help you create the foundation for a life you can enjoy.

You can overcome self-destructive behaviors like physical harm and addiction by learning to put yourself first. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), self-acceptance, along with “developing a positive and meaningful sense of identity and regaining belief in one’s self,” are particularly important in addiction recovery.


You can start boosting your self-love by taking time out for self-care each day. Some ideas for self-care include:

  • Keeping a journal to record your thoughts and strengthen your connection to yourself
  • Meditation, breathing exercises, and physical activity
  • Mindful walks
  • Treating yourself to your favorite dessert
  • Relaxing with a bath or foot bath

Trauma and Recovery

Traumatic events can take hold in your body and manifest in self-destructive ways without you even realizing it. Trauma therapy is one method you can use to begin processing traumatic experiences. Instead of leaving trauma bottled up, you can talk through it with a trained therapist. This can also make you feel a lot less alone.

At The Guest House, we understand how difficult it can be to open up about trauma. Our certified trauma therapists will help you feel safe and comfortable as you explore the root cause of self-defeating behaviors.

We offer a wide variety of programs to help you heal trauma, addiction, mental health, and self-destructive patterns. No matter what you are struggling with, we will help you find a way to shift your mindset and begin the journey of living a healthy and fulfilling life.

Self-destructive patterns and behaviors can lead to dangerous consequences. It may feel impossible to break the cycle, but with the right tools and support, you can shift into a more positive state of mind. At The Guest House, we will help you learn how to put yourself first. Our certified trauma specialists will support you in creating a healthy and fulfilling life, free from the trauma, addiction, and self-destruction weighing you down. For more information, call us at (855) 483-7800.