’Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackled limiting our vision.’ – Salvador Dali

Fanaa is an Urdu word which means to destroy, to annihilate. In Sufism, the word is used for extinction of the self in the universal being. Fanaa is a common word in Hindi/Urdu poetry and even Bollywood songs. In their it generally means getting destroyed. And that is exactly how I felt every day of my life, destroyed to completion. Yet I still stood on my own two feet, barely I might add but I had survived and withstood all combats of destruction self and societal forms of it and was still alive to share my story with the world. My self-destruction is the inspiration for my creativity, my writing, and my own self-healing.

Self-destruction is usually defined as “the voluntary destruction of something by itself. In human personality terms, we are really talking about counter-productive and self-defeating habits which deny oneself happiness but can instead cause pain, either deliberately or inadvertently. Self-destruction in the literal sense of suicide is the most extreme form. Mostly, however, it is subtler, such as repeatedly committing professional suicide”. It’s an umbrella term for a variety of self-damaging patterns, from doing things that always seem to backfire, to habitual self-harm, to crazy recklessness.

While psychologists speculate that self-sabotaging behaviors could be coping mechanisms (e.g. For stress, pressure, social demands etc.), others consider self-destructive behavior as ways of maintaining comfort zones due to lack of confidence or feelings of unworthiness (e.g. Staying at the familiar bottom of the social ladder).

As with the opposite trait of greed, self-destruction represents a dysfunction in a person’s fundamental relationship with life. A person with greed fears that something vital is lacking or missing from life, and so constantly needs to have more. A person with self-destruction, in contrast, feels that something fundamentally bad or toxic is consuming their life, and needs to keep this under strict control.

Self-destruction can also take the form of self-sabotage or self-defeating behaviors—continually doing things which are bound to lead to one’s own failure or downfall. Deliberate self-injury is surprisingly common in young people worldwide. It has also been linked with borderline personality disorder in adulthood, a chronic and difficult to treat condition characterized by impulsive behaviors, unstable mood swings and a tendency towards suicide.

The constant need to push the edge of control, plus the fear of losing control and thereby experiencing both powerlessness and pain inside oneself, creates inner conflict and a rising tension which demands to be relieved. Being successful in life in whatever way will only serve to increase the tension, since there is even more need to keep everything bottled up and under control.

The self-destructive person may be therefore caught in a cycle between periods of grim self-control and explosive episodes in which a valve blows and some component of the conflict is set free. And for me that happened to result in stealing. This behaviour is what set me free from the inner conflicts within me and with those around me. It gave me a sense of purpose when I had been stripped of that by my husband and parents. Left with nothing but of a shell of my very own existence I compensated for all I lost by stealing it all back. That was my sweet revenge.

‘I think that self-destructiveness can also mean self-reflection, and it can mean poetic sensibility, as well as empathy, it can mean a hedonism and a libertarianism and a lack of judgement.’ – Courtney Love.

Apologizing for your behavior, seeing that you did something to hurt someone else, acknowledging that the way you are wired may sometimes serve you well but other times backfire for you – these are all exercises to help you learn to be more self-reflective. The problem with blame is that you can’t control what you don’t like. The one thing you have masterful control over is yourself; your own attitude, actions and reactions. Reflecting helps you to develop your skills and review their effectiveness, rather than just carry on doing things as you have always done them. It is about questioning, in a positive way, what you do and why you do it and then deciding whether there is a better, or more efficient, way of doing it in the future.

When taking time to self-reflect you are looking inwards. This helps to build two components to emotional intelligence, self-awareness and self-regulation. Self-awareness gives you the ability to understand your emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals and recognizes their impact on other. Self-regulation involves the ability to control or redirect your disruptive emotions and impulses and adapt to changing circumstances. Cause let’s face it in a destructive role that we find ourselves playing constantly the circumstances in which we find ourselves in are ultimately in no one’s control more than our own. Sure, my mother could have loved me more, supported me and not given up on me but that isn’t the reason for my destructive patterns in life and the more I blame others the less chance I have at ever being heard again in this one life I was given to hold proudly and be rewarded not criticized and blamed and ultimately destroyed in the end. That cannot be my ending to my story, my destruction cannot over power me and make me lose control, it’s just a matter of me realizing the control has been there the whole time right at my fingertips, I just haven’t reached far enough to grab a hold of it yet. But I will someday, someday very soon I hope.

“in order to understand, I destroyed myself.” ― Fernando Pessoa


One thought on “Self Destruction

  1. You are smart enough to see causation and self destruction, be smart enough to realize the control you think you are getting back is what is keeping you the most re-strained! 😘

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