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Self-Destruction Is So Much Harder to Resist Than Other-Destruction

·330 words·2 mins
Mental Health

In my dream last night, I poured a soda over someone else’s head.

This is something I’ve never done in real life, although there have been moments when I wanted to. When I’ve thought about doing it, because someone’s said something that offends me to my core.

But I’ve never actually done it.

There are a lot of things like that. Oddly specific urges that I’ve had and suppressed. It’s typically easier to suppress the ones that are destructive to others. With the self-destructive urges, my track record has been quite a bit more mixed. I think it’s because being destructive towards others typically has immediate consequences. Ones that I can see and hear and have to deal with.

Where self-destruction has seemed more like a victimless crime. Which is funny, really. Because if you’re hurting yourself in some way, shape, or form, it affects you. You’re getting hurt. In theory, you’re the victim of your own actions.

And yet, the whole thing hasn’t felt that way in practice. Instead, it feels more natural, since you’re consenting to it. Because you brought it upon yourself.

So while I’ve suppressed millions of other-destructive urges without much trouble, I had to very learn — very intentionally — how to resist the self-destructive ones. And while I’m much better at that than I used to be, I can’t help but see how much further I have to go. I suspect it will always be that way, that I’ll always be battling self-destruction in some way (in my case, it’s more emotional self-harm and self-sabotage than physical).

Because I’ll always have that tendency in me. I’ll always be able to do something self-destructive if I let down my guard. But on the other hand, as my dreams keep reminding me, there are plenty of other things I manage not to do, even though somewhere deep down inside I very much want to and am completely capable of it. Like pouring sodas over people’s heads.


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