Self Destructive Behavior, How To Stop It

January 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog

Angie Rubin Photo

I know a thing or two about self-destructive behavior.  In my life I had two distinct cycles; first when I left my family in Brazil and moved to NYC.  Second, when I left my first husband in NYC and moved to Los Angeles.

Now even prior to my move to NYC, I find a girl who always had trouble understanding why people would love me.  Even a friend.  So I would look at every relationship I had and ask myself what was I providing that person with to justify them being my friend. One can say I had a serious case of low self-esteem. And of course it wasn’t justified. I’ve always had many qualities that make me a person worth being with and loving.

My first cycle ran for about ten years.  I married a man who was controlling and abusive and little by little lost myself to depression.

When I left my family, I felt great guilt for “abandoning them”.  I had this sense of responsibility and leaving them back in Brazil made me feel like I was a bad person.  So I needed to punish myself.  I needed to find ways to pay for what I had done.  So I married the abusive man. Obviously, that was not a conscious conversation I had with myself.  It “happened” to me and I felt like a victim.

When I left my husband, the guilt of leaving him – even though he was a terrible person to me – chased me all the way to Los Angeles.  I found myself in a state of low self-esteem, profound guilt, no money or friends.  In the first few years of my life in LA, all these horrible things happened to me and I just kept thinking I was an unlucky person.  It didn’t cross my mind that my exterior life was a reflection of what was going on inside me.  I didn’t realize that others would mistreat and take advantage of me because I didn’t take care or respect myself.

Once I realized I was not a passive bystander of my own life but actually an active participant, things changed.  That is not to say no bad things ever happened to me again.  But what did change was how I other people’ neurotic behavior stopped affecting me.  Or how by feeling a sense of ownership of my life, I was able to set limits.  And how much more in control I feel because I get to plan and decide how my life is going to go.  And finally how fulfilled I feel for having discovered a great source of love within me.

What has made me think about self-destructive behavior is watching a friend right now go through one loss after another.  She feels her life is out of control.  And unfortunately it will continue to feel that way until she can take ownership for her own life. None of us are passive bystanders of our lives.

If you feel your life is out of control and things just happen to you out of nowhere, maybe this is the time for you to quiet down and ask yourself these questions:

1                     – What do I really want?

2                     – How can I take better care of myself?

3                     – Have I really embraced the unique person that I am?

4                     – Do I really value myself?

5                     – Do I listen to my own set of values and intuition?

Once you’ve answered those questions for yourself, take a deep breath and act on your life.  You are in control of how you react to everything.  Decide what kind of life you want to live.  Decide how you want the world to see and treat you.

  • Winsor Pilates


4 Responses to “Self Destructive Behavior, How To Stop It”
  1. Vicky says:

    thank u for the eye opener, made me rethink things.

    • Dear Vicky,

      I’m glad something I’ve written has made you think of things differently. I write from personal experience and as I write I get to rethink my life.



  2. qr4j says:

    The five questions are really good ones. This entire article is quite helpful. Thank you for writing it.