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ZetaTalk: Self Destructive
Note: written on Nov 15, 1995

Drunk every day, gambling the nest egg away, recklessly careening down a winding road, insulting the boss, or eating high cholesterol foods - why do people do this to themselves? Such self destructive behavior often has a motive behind it that is not recognized, just as suicide does. Where suicide to end a life of chronic physical or psychological pain is understandable, many suicides seem without purpose. People in the prime of life, or young people with their whole lives before them will either attempt suicide or engage in self destructive behavior sure to leave its mark.

Since maiming oneself or one's reputation is so lacking in benefit, the purpose of this behavior puzzles many. The answer to this puzzle lies in whom the actor wishes to punish, and what avenues are open to the internal rage that drives this behavior. Perhaps mother only noticed the child when the hospital called, or the only way to escape an unwanted obligation was to be disabled. Look behind the behavior to the dubious benefit, and address this when trying to help those who would be self destructive. Anger vented in the right direction may make all the difference, allowing those who are self destructive to stop using their bodies and reputations as a bludgeon.

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