Responses to Trauma, Re: Self-Sabotage

TW: This post is going to talk about self-harm and self-sabotage. There will be a brief mention, in the beginning, of traditional self-harm techniques, but this will not be the focus of the post. This post is not intended to encourage self-harming behaviors.


When most people think of ‘self-harm,’ they imagine burning or cutting or depravation of some sort. What most people don’t realize, however, is that self-harm is so much more intensive than that.

Take me, for instance—I self-harm all the time. Only, you can’t see it because it doesn’t come in the form of a scar or a bruise, but emotionally, I rip myself to shreds. I spend money that I know I can’t afford to be spending. I force myself to work over-time—at multiple jobs—with no concrete end date. I allow myself to be lodged in situations where I am being treated poorly by those who are supposed to care for me. I disregard my own boundaries. I make poor decisions—knowing that they are poor decisions. I don’t leave room, or time, to take care of myself, and I neglect all of my own needs to take care of the needs of others.

This is not healthy. And I know this is not healthy. And yet, all these years, I have allowed myself to do it because I felt, intrinsically, that I deserved to be punished. That I didn’t deserve good or better things. That I wasn’t ‘good enough’ for anything other than this life I had that wasn’t really worth living.

But that is hateful thinking, and it came from a place of self-loathing so deep and dark that I’m not sure light has ever bounced off the walls there. Though, this isn’t all my fault. You see, it’s really just a byproduct of long-form trauma and warped coping mechanisms for the symptoms of the mental illnesses that I’ve been taught make me ‘ugly’ and ‘unlovable.’ But I am not ugly or unlovable.

And neither are you.

Please, recognize the agony you are putting yourself through when you self-sabotage. Please know that you deserve so much more than you have been allowing yourself to have, that you deserve to feel the sun on your face and for that to be enough. We don’t have to make this harder than it has to be; we just thought we did. But I’m here now to tell you that we can be so much kinder to ourselves and that that will, beyond anything, make the grandest impact on our lives.

I know it’s hard to unpack and unlearn these bad habits, but it’s not impossible, and I’ve got plenty of time to help you put your things away.

Author: Rowan Hart

For work, I'm a medicolegal death investigator, harm reductionist, and a board member here for BipolarClubDX. I also have a bad habit of simultaneously starting multiple projects and businesses that end up falling to the wayside, but that just means I'm a "go big or stay home" personality. In my personal life, I'm deaf, kind, and extremely passionate. For fun, I'm a cemetery habitué because of my taphophilic interests, and I will always maintain that I am in love with love incarnate. Also, I'm bipolar. And that's not listed in any of the above groups because it doesn't ever just fall into one subcategory of my life; it's a huge part of me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: