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Why Do I Engage in Self-Abuse?

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I verbally abuse myself “You’re worth nothing,” “You’re a piece of bleep and don’t deserve to live,” “No one loves you,” and I hurt myself only by hitting myself. I punch myself in the head and leg multiple times and very hard. I’ve had suicidal thoughts, and how serious I am about actually committing it is unsure. At times I think “I can just do it,” but something tells me I probably won’t. I did this today, I thought it was an abnormally excessive amount of sadness, for this particular situation was very small. I’ve done it before and cannot remember why it was caused. Now knowing the background I want to know — Is it normal in the first place to do these things, and if not can you explain why I do this?

Why Do I Engage in Self-Abuse?

Answered by on -


The things you say about yourself should not be happening. They are highly critical and demoralizing. Happy and well-adjusted people don’t engage in self-abuse. It is a clear sign of your unhappiness.

Self-abuse is often a sign of depression. Depression may stem from an individual not feeling “good enough.” It is a common theme underlying depression and suicidal thinking.

Abraham Maslow’s theory of human development suggests that in order to psychologically prosper, we need to know that we are “good enough.” That stamp of approval is an essential element of healthy psychological development. He also says that it’s necessary to have experienced unconditional love, at least once in our lives.

I would recommend counseling. Counseling is the ideal place to analyze the reasons for your self-abuse and more importantly, to correct your unrealistic and negativistic thinking.

If you’re open to counseling, choose a therapist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The basic premise of CBT is that your maladaptive thinking significantly contributes to your emotional distress and problems. Once you adjust your thoughts to be more in line with reality, you should feel better and your life should improve. Counseling can help you to overcome this problem. I hope you will consider it. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Why Do I Engage in Self-Abuse?

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Why Do I Engage in Self-Abuse?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 19, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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