Psychology and Psychiatry


Self-reproach is a conscious and deliberate accusation by a person of perfect misconduct, a self-critical attitude toward one’s own personality and actions taken, turning into forms of causing oneself moral and physical suffering in order to reduce or wash away the feeling of guilt and shame. May not always have an adequate attitude and arise in the process of attributing to oneself another's guilt or criticizing oneself for completely socially acceptable forms of behavior. The meaning of the word self-blame is synonymous with self-accusation, self-torture, self-criticism, self-criticism and other actions aimed at emphasizing the negative sides of a person and causing moral suffering under the guise of repentance or guilt.

Self-blame psychology explains how to try to cope with external conditions that do not satisfy the inner picture of the human world. This is one of the ways to cope with intolerable feelings about the self and its weak or unacceptable sides (often this behavior has its motive to receive praise or encouragement from others, which is easier to obtain through self-deprecation than through real actions and achievements). Losing competition, finding stronger and more successful people in the infantile psyche is poorly tolerated and almost impossible to accept, hence this kind of behavior is born that helps to survive the fiasco, and the life principle looks like a choice of maximalistic concepts where a person has no right to lose or weakness.

Idealistic perception of the world plunges people into despair at every failure or in the event of a turn of events not in the expected direction. Personality constantly feels a great responsibility in its childish form, when the real world is replaced by an illusory one, and mega-abilities are attributed to themselves (just as children blame themselves for parents quarrels or accidents, with the same infantile and huge responsibility a person blames himself for the slightest turmoil or even random coincidence of circumstances, in any non-ideality).

Self-flagellation makes it necessary to draw global conclusions, leading to the devaluation of oneself entirely due to a collision with a minor non-ideal (or even significant, but this is not the whole person). The high demands and inability to see the beautiful in flaws does not allow one to get to know oneself with the present, to recognize those things that are annoying in oneself and to accept oneself entirely.

Causes of self-flagellation

Psychology defines self-blame as a hypercriticism at one’s own address, which is shown in order to gain approval, support or justification of one’s own actions. The mechanism is based on the fact that anger directed at one’s address is perceived by others as sincere repentance and a tendency towards perfection, but the mistake is that ostentatious repentance is perceived as true. With insight, a person does not wring a picture of the hand, does not throw mud at himself, but recognizes the fact of committing an offense, does not loudly draw conclusions and begins to correct the situation, while recognizing positive features that help to cope with shortcomings.

The choice of such a way of manipulating one's own perception of the world and social relations can be formed in childhood, where there was no place for the formation of a feeling of love and care for oneself. Under various traumatic conditions of development, mechanisms can be formed that give an understanding of love through pain (when the mother was tender only after the complete defeat of the child’s self-esteem, or when the infliction of physical pain was explained by the benefit for the child and was performed “out of love”). The experience gained in the parental family shows a person how to treat him, and if the parents put on moral pressure or physical beatings, then the person lives on this model, dealing in a similar way with himself and others.

The meaning of the word self-blame also makes sense of inflicting physical suffering upon oneself, as a way to escape from heartache, interrupting it physically or as a variant of self-purification from misdemeanors. In the first case, individual mechanisms of the psyche work, helping to control feelings, the experience of which is frustrating for a person (when there is no experience, how to cope with pain, guilt or despair, emotions overflow and become unbearable, and self-blame is always controlled by man, therefore it is used as destructive, but still a method of living emotions). The second one traces the influence of various religious and educational concepts, which consider the body and care for it to be something shameful or putting physical punishment at the center, instead of accepting and explaining. Low self-esteem and lack of recognition pushes to the idea that a person does not deserve anything good. The feeling of lack of love and the right to receive it can lead to deep depressive disorders and a lack of understanding of the meaning of existence, for which self-punishment is inflicted.

The polar worldview, the infantile responsibility inherent in children and adolescents, as well as those that persist in some as a personality characteristic, do not allow the world to be accepted and, accordingly, in the form in which it exists. There is a need to conform to ideals or to destroy ourselves completely, the inability to see half tones and accept negative qualities leads to the destruction of our own personality, in forgetting that it is the flaws that make us unique, and mistakes make up life experience.

Self-blame appears as protection from traumatic conditions and influences, being traumatic in and of itself. It illuminates the flaws for others with a searchlight, but leaves the main thing hidden from the person himself and is not conducive to change. The main point when working with self-flagellation is to find ways of reacting and coping with emotions using less destructive methods, as well as developing a caring concept of life.

How to stop practicing self-flagellation?

When the disadvantages and the pain of self-torture begin to outweigh the secondary benefits obtained, the moment of getting rid of the self-blame strategy comes, but this process is more complicated than it might seem. After all, the temptation to act in a proven, albeit painful way is great.

So that motivation does not slip away, it is worth analyzing separately what destructive moments and negative consequences you have already received in your own life, thanks to self-flagellation (if your memory is not fixed in memory, then make a list and periodically look at it). Also ponder where such behavior will lead in a few decades, what you will gain (nervous tic, reputation of a mourner, shattered nerves), and what you will lose (desire to develop, achievements, friends).

Excessive self-criticism and self-flagellation continue to lower the already low self-esteem, destroying personality. So your task is to continue to develop, select classes, in which there are visible results, so that you have something to praise yourself for and not just scold. Every time when you want to give up and start a song about the fact that everything is lost and you do not deserve anything - do something aimed at self-development (redo the report out of stubbornness, improve your appearance, answer the Internet troll, go to a master class or photo session). The world is full of places where you will lose self-esteem, but just as full of places where you will be praised (any service from hairdressing to horse riding will add to your sense of praise and beautiful words).

Another feature of self-flagellation is self-centeredness, while the surrounding world is not noticed, such people are easy to manipulate, but it’s not interesting to communicate with them, because they are constantly focused on themselves.

How to get rid of self-blame? Switch attention to the outside world - look at what is interesting in it (weather, events, passers-by), ask what's new with friends (not for the purpose of comparing how everything is bad at you and nothing new, but with the goal of finding out how they have turned out), check out the latest news and trends. In each of his attention to the outside, look for inspiration and tips for development, contacting with people, you can get adequate feedback, and perhaps the discovery of your talents that you could not see on your own.

And do not forget to analyze the situation. After all, most often the critic sitting in our head has a very specific voice (fathers, grandmothers, caregivers, first love) and says this from past situations that ended, but left their scar in perception. In fact, if you were scolded for restlessness in the kindergarten, and you continue to do this with yourself as an adult, then you limit your possibilities, for example, in activities that require such vigorous energy, and this is bad only for an old teacher, who has pressure and no in your life. Analyze and compare your own reactions with the situation, without relying on the first emotional automatic reaction. The first time you have to control, get to know yourself and choose to take care of yourself, instead of the usual prejudice.

There are no ideals, try to derive benefit and pleasure from disadvantages, turn them into virtues. It is not the total mustering of oneself that gives a person happiness, but the ability to accept oneself tired, imperfect, evil — then a lot of freedom is born and a place for joy appears, not just for pain.