Self-Destructive Behavior & Your True Self

August 14, 2014

For many individuals growing up overweight, the need to psychologically protect themselves from criticism and manage their internal shame became a habitual act of self-protection.  At the expense of the development of a true self, the psychological protection included destructive behaviors as forms of punishment. In addition, a false self (rather than a true self) may have developed focused on pleasing the needs of others as a way of distancing oneself from painful feelings.

As a sense of inner strength developed with the shedding of pounds there could also have developed an overwhelming sense of anxiety over a loss of “Self”. Although that sense of self was someone laden with negative feelings it was still someone that was recognizable.  Not knowing who one is and not having developed into who one will become can create anxiety and emptiness akin to feelings of death. An old sense of self must die for a new one (true self) to be reborn. That process can be terrifying and may be filled with the reactivation of psychic trauma.  The process of being reborn is painful.  Self-destructive behavior can be a form of returning to the womb — the illusion of safety and security.  Having a true self is very important.

Reduce Self-Destructive Behavior and Your True Self

In order to reduce any self-destructive behaviors you have and cope with that pain, it is important to develop your true self.  To develop a strong sense of self there are seven essential factors to consider:

The Seven Essentials to the Emergence of Self

  1. You experience a unique need for growth.
  2. There is an atmosphere of security – there is support and good will.
  3. You develop an inner freedom – an ability to express your feelings.
  4. You can experience healthy conflicts – you can mature within the context of relationships.
  5. You understand the development of conflicting desires in your own life and understand/accept differences in others.
  6. You recognize and accept the need for solitude as well as the need for social interactions.
  7. You develop the ability to fight for your beliefs.  You develop creative solutions to conflicts with the environment, with yourself, and with others – you have a healthy understanding of compromise.

To retain a true sense of self that is not burdened with self-destructive behavior one must display of fortitude and a passionate desire to tell the truth and not resort to overeating.  This is key to the emergence of a “True Self”.  It is at the heart and soul of the act of taking responsibility.

Photo credit: James Jordon cc

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Howard Gluss is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist (Psy21522), an executive coach, author and radio show host with an expertise in psychological assessment , understanding individual, group and organizational psychology. Dr. Gluss is also the Director of Men’s Support Groups. The group is open to male weight loss surgery patients or any males experiencing issues from being overweight in the Greater Los Angeles area and is free of charge.

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