Self-harm: how auto aggression manifests itself and how it is dangerous

3 min


Self Harm

Self-harm, or aggression against oneself, is not just about severe physical damage. Accumulated and seemingly mundane actions can signal inward-directed negativity. How to recognize auto aggression, identify the cause and avoid the consequences.

Nature of Self-harm

Auto aggression is often understood as physical harm inflicted with one’s hands. However, the phenomenon is broader and, therefore, more dangerous: even if a person does not reach the stage of intentionally injuring the body, self-hatred is also destructive. Psychological auto-aggression can have an equally harmful effect on both mental and physical health.

Usually, such tendencies are born based on negative experiences – anger and resentment caused by someone or something outside. However, an internal ban on spilling out is triggered: aggression is not allowed to pour out on the addressee, but it still looks for a way out. Then the person loops and directs destructive energy against himself.

The tendency to self-harm is often formed in childhood. The most common situation can be called when initially the addressees or the source of aggression are parents.

Most importantly, even in the early stages, one can track disturbing trends to adjust the living conditions and emotional background.

Auto aggression in children

The first manifestations of self-harm are things so ubiquitous that they are rarely treated with proper attention.

Necessary: you can’t change behavioral responses mechanically or through a ban — this will only drive the problem deeper.

Auto aggression in the early years is expressed through a tendency to:

  • nibble, peel, tear your nails;
  • biting your lips;
  • tear off or bite off burrs;
  • pick up pimples;
  • wrap your hair around your finger.

Very young children, even infants, sometimes deliberately hit themselves until they bruise, beat their fists on their foreheads, and pull out their hair.

Up to the age of seven, self-harm is almost always the result of unmanifested aggression of the mother, who is angry at something, but keeps her face and pretends that everything is in order. At the same time, the child redirects negative energy to herself.

A dangerous tendency is that a person unconsciously causes minor physical harm to himself and gets used to such methods of expressing negative emotions.

Complications of auto aggression in adults

Direct physical harm, such as scratched skin-is not the only consequence of auto-aggression, and this is its main danger. After all, self-destruction often leads to systemic, autoimmune diseases.

Self Harming Children

The scheme is the same as when external injuries are inflicted on oneself: the human immune system begins to act against the body. Self-hatred becomes the source of a whole spectrum of psychosomatic pathologies.

The first step to a healthy exit from the state of self-harm is to understand that aggression is not inherently an enemy of a person. You can compare it to an alarm that goes off when personal boundaries are violated. Anger is a protective function that allows you to defend your territory. They should not be locked and directed at themselves.

Help for self-harming children

If you notice symptoms of self-harm in your child who is less than seven years old, it is most likely your suppressed aggression. The only way out is to learn how to manifest self-harm which does not mean that you need to immediately beat up the addressee of negative energy: to begin with, it is enough to say “no” and express disagreement – to protect your borders.

For some people, informing a cafe that they have received the wrong order is already an unacceptable manifestation of negativity. Still, a lot will change if you do not compromise your interests in small things.

Child Relieve Stress

To help your child relieve stress, you can allow them to cut a pile of unnecessary paper with scissors or start a game – fight with pillows, jump on the bed, and find an eco-friendly outlet for aggressive energy.

Getting rid of auto aggression in adults

If the tendency to self-harm is observed in adulthood, the principle is the same: aggression must be recognized, accepted and environmentally directed to the outside.

Productive or competitive physical activity is one of the most effective and safe ways to let off steam. Sports allow you to throw out aggression in a fight or shooting.

But you can find ways to get rid of accumulated negativity even in everyday life: arrange a general cleaning or throw away excess. Sudden movements when cleaning pans or chafing floors are a very effective method of an economic outburst of aggression; the main thing is to allow them to yourself. Some people intuitively start cleaning, feeling on edge, and this is not accidental.

Another effective option is singing, which serves as an alternative to shouting.

Aggression is expected, as it allows you to defend yourself when personal boundaries are violated. The main thing is to provide a healthy outlet for negative emotions to channel the destructive energy in a secure channel.


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