It is increasingly understood that self-destructive behavior is an expression of past child abuse or trauma. Yet it seems illogical that survivors of abuse would harm themselves rather than the abuser.
But, on the level of energy, self-destructive behavior makes sense.
We store the essence of our life experiences in our bodies. We can also hide unpleasant past experiences by reducing our connection to that part of the body that stores the essence of that experience. That part of our body is also less connected to our physical immunity and is more susceptible to disease and illness.
After we have survived our traumatic experiences and find a relatively safe life situation, our body’s emotional tools begin to heal the effect of the trauma. We go through the stages of shock, anger, sadness, grief and finally re-empowerment. The essence of the traumatic experience is transformed into an even deeper essence on the spiritual level, that allows our spirit to understand cause and effect, and allows us to avoid actions that lead to harmful outcomes. Most simply, we learn from our experiences at the deepest level and our spirit retains this lesson. Our being returns to a peaceful state and the parts of our body that held that essence return to their normal wellness.
However, in order to survive the extended trauma of war, our culture teaches us to suppress emotional expression, especially negative emotions, and especially crying – we are taught to ‘harden our hearts’. Faced with these restrictions on our self-expression, we turn to deeper defense mechanisms such as self-destructive behavior. It simply stems from the unwavering desire to process the essence of the trauma. That essence must be moved, released, processed, one way or another. We turn to self-destructive behavior to give essential attention to the agitated body. It is like scratching an itch until it is an open wound. We may continue with self-destructive behavior until it becomes another traumatic phase in our life.
On a cultural level, a nation will eventually self-destruct if it cannot find a way out of this self-defeating trap. This final, worst-case outcome protects the human species from groups that follow a non-peaceful path – they will eventually destroy themselves, and the culture that preserves their self-destructive behavior weakens and collapses.
Without understanding why we engage in self-destructive behavior, we cannot easily break out of that strategy, that habit. We remain unaware of the consequence of the cultural restrictions on our emotional expression. We remain a victim of our trauma or abuse until we reject the guidance of our ignorant culture.
Once we encounter information about the cause of our self-destructive behavior, we can return to our emotional healing mechanisms and recover from the past trauma. Starting our recovery, we also end the journey of that trauma from generation to generation, because we become the one that stops the cycle of abuse and trauma. We are not only healing ourselves, but we open the door of healing for those around us and for our culture. More than becoming a recovering individual, we become a healing node in our culture.