Quite few people punish themselves. It is not just ADHD. All sots of people suffer from it. It turns up as limiting behaviour, self-mutilation, cutting, hair pulling, scratching, consistent failure, and, according to some researchers, as disease such as arthritis and cancer.
The origins of self-destructive behaviour generally run like this.
First, when you are born your only awareness is that you are the centre of the universe. Everything is about you. Gradually you achieve separation from your parents and a beginning of an awareness of self.
However, you still retain the belief unconsciously that you cause everything that happens, and that means that if something bad happens, it is your fault. There are probably early human origins for this guilt: it helped you conform to the life of the tribe. By causing something bad or non-conforming, we acquire blame, guilt, shame and negative thinking. All this means to your unconscious mind is that you should punish yourself.
Also when you are young you may be persistently criticised. But we really want to be loved, so we get on the side of the criticiser and criticise ourselves in the hope of being loved for doing it - usually in vain! We become the abuser to ourselves. This can be so powerful that we have a diminished ‘self’ and our mind is most focussed on this pattern of abuser and abuse. We need to resolve this to become our real self.
So now we have a habitual ingrained pattern of self-criticism. This may be in persistent self-talk or it may be more powerful in the unconscious, so it chooses a squashed personality or a disease.
Some of the effects can be:
Smoking, drugs, overeating
Cyclic anger and resentment
Wasting time which could be used for development
Making inappropriate remarks
Living with clutter
Not doing essential planning
Having no attractive future.
Now this is overlaps with behaviours we find in some types of ADHD. However, feelings of self-destruction do not by themselves mean that you have ADHD. Anyone can have some of these feelings, but as they become more extreme they may appear as part of other disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder.
Some types of self-harm, at least superficially, have more immediate causes such as poor mother-daughter communication problems (which needs solving first).
SO WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?
Some people need to work with a therapist using Regression to go back to events in their life where self-denigration-blame occurred and resolve it.
Some are able to work through the process themselves.
It is important to recognise that people live out their own lives and beliefs. Whether they support you or harm you, they are doing what they want. We tend to believe that their bad behaviour is about us. We take in hurt and believe that somehow we caused it and so should take blame, and feel guilty and ashamed.
This is added to the victimised feeling which reduces our self-esteem, and we can carry this set of feelings, limiting our participation in life.
The self-blame process is sometimes used by sexual predators - “It was your fault, you made me do it!”
Dealing with self-blame means going back in memory to the event and rejecting the person or people who harmed us by rejecting the connection and putting a distance between them and us. They are separate and ding their thing, it is not about us. We need to forgive them - let them go though not approving of what they did.
Then we need to forgive ourselves. We dump all blame, guilt, shame and negative thinking. It was a mistake made in the past and we let it go and leave it there.
You are free and whole.
This process is not always easy and may need repetition. The problem is that self-criticism and self-blame can become a dominant pattern in life. The change to freedom is considerable for many.
You may have a habit of hesitation. Usually this is because you are afraid that you might fail, which will reinforce your low self-esteem.
But you cannot learn or achieve anything without making mistakes, so “failing” now and again it is the only way to succeed.
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© David Townsend 2014