Many people engage in self-destructive behaviors that range from minor to potentially life threatening behaviors. Identifying these behaviors is the first step in learning how to heal. If you engage in these behaviors, therapy may be needed to help you stop. If you are dealing with a spouse who engages in self-destructive behaviors, therapy for yourself or couples therapy may be warranted.
The most dangerous self-destructive behaviors include dangerous acts such as self-mutilation and suicide attempts. These are very serious and can be lethal. It is important for anyone engaging in these sorts of behaviors to receive treatment. If your spouse engages in these but refuses help, consider seeking treatment for yourself.
Drug and alcohol use can also be very serious. It can lead to an addiction, relationship problems, and work-related difficulties. Health problems may also be an issue. Substance abuse treatment is necessary for the person using as well as their partner. Various forms of substance abuse therapy are available ranging from individual therapy, intensive outpatient programs, and self-help groups.
Less extreme problems include more subtle forms of self-punishment. For example, ruminating on mistakes, problems, and worrying about the future can be self-destructive. Some people take out their painful feelings on others while some people isolate themselves to try and avoid pain. If you have pain from the past that you have not dealt with, consider treatment before it ruins your marriage.
Some people punish themselves by overeating or under eating. Other people don’t participate in pleasant activities and they often say they, “don’t deserve to be happy.” They resign themselves to a life of pain and don’t try to make their life more fulfilling.
Passively not caring for yourself can be another self-destructive pattern. Not taking your medications, not sleeping, avoiding exercise and living a generally unhealthy lifestyle is self-destructive as well. It can take a toll on the family if you aren’t holding up your end of the bargain to care for yourself.
If one partner is self-destructive, it can make having a healthy, loving marriage almost impossible. How can your spouse love you if you don’t love yourself? Therapy can help you learn new ways to manage your emotions and use healthy coping skills. Learning new strategies to help you get your needs met in positive ways is vital to your relationship.