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The 4 Steps I Took To Overcame My Addiction To Self Abuse

Written by: Jill Witte, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


“You are Braver than you believe, Stronger than you seem, Smarter than you think and Loved more than you know” These are the words that are on a keychain that I have on my car key. Typically this phrase is associated with people recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. I have never done drugs and alcohol was never an addiction. My addiction was abusing myself.

It started when I was in middle school. I had convinced myself that I wasn’t smart, I wasn’t pretty and that I was worthless. I tried to be a perfectionist on the outside so that everyone wouldn’t realize I was these things. If I didn’t do something perfectly or wasn’t up to the standards that I held myself to, I would get so angry and frustrated that I would yell and punch myself in the leg until it hurt.

I eventually became addicted to yelling/belittling myself because in my mind it cemented in me that I wasn’t smart, pretty and worthless. I got a rush out of punching myself in the leg.

This addiction lasted into my early 30’s. One day I realized I didn’t want to live like this anymore. Here are the four steps I took to overcome my addiction to self-abuse.

1. Wanting the change

Much like anything that we want to change about ourselves, we have to want to change the habit, the addiction or whatever it is we are trying to overcome. Just talking about it doesn’t actually bring results. We have to take action for anything to be different. I knew that I was ready when I decided to love who I was and not beat and berate myself anymore.

2. Taking small steps

Once we start the process of change we need to take small steps. Trying to take bigger steps and rushing the process can cause us to have frustrations that can lead to failure. Having patience is hard but it is important when change is involved.

My first step was to stop hitting myself in the leg when I got frustrated. It was the easiest to overcome. Every time I got angry at myself, I would control my breathing which would help alleviate my frustration. It took me about 6 months before I finally stopped punching myself in the leg.

The next step was to stop belittling myself. It took me 8 years to overcome before I truly loved myself.. I took each insult that I had internalized and turned them into positive ones. I had to tell myself numerous times that I was worthy, pretty and smart, until the negative thoughts became positive..

3. Recognizing the potential for a relapse

Much like with any addiction there is the potential for relapse, because it can send us spiraling into old habits. For me, there were days that were harder than others. When life became so overwhelming, I wanted to return to belittling and abusing myself. I would say, “you are not going back to who you were” and I would feel at peace.

4. Acknowledging how far you have come

It is important to acknowledge how far we have come in our journeys because it shows us that we are strong and can accomplish anything. Admittedly it has been hard for me to do this, but with help from my therapist and my own self-awareness I have been able to acknowledge the amazing adventure of self-growth and overcoming my addiction to become a stronger person.

If you are in the process of trying to overcome something, know that you are not alone in your struggles. You are a strong, amazing person who can do anything.

Follow me on Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Jill Witte, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Jill Witte, is the founder of True Fit Balance. She is a personal trainer who is certified as a Senior Fitness, Cancer Exercise and Clinical Exercise Specialist. Jill also has certifications as a Nutrition, Brain Health and Life Coach. She created True Fit Balance because of her past experiences of trying to find what exercises and foods worked for her. Now, Jill helps her clients find what works for them by connecting the brain, body and nutrition to create a healthy balanced body. Jill also hosts "Can You Relate Fit and Health". A podcast were she talks with people about their stories of overcoming injury or illness.



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