Mental health problems may manifest in different ways. Sometimes they are overt symptoms that can easily be seen by others, such as behaving erratically or demonstrating irrational emotions.
Other times, and most of the time, mental health troubles happen in the solitude of one’s own mind. For example, people may have recurring thoughts of being unworthy, unlovable, self-destructive, suicidal, and more.
In many cases, a person who wants bad things to happen to them is likely experiencing some persistent mental health issue that needs to be addressed. The language that I am using to describe this is specific for a reason, so do take note. A mental health issue may not be a mental illness. Not every mental health issue falls within the scope of mental illness.
That matters because you might not be experiencing a chronic mental illness. Instead, you may be experiencing a more temporary issue that can be resolved with appropriate treatment. Of course, mentally ill people can do that, too. It’s just often more challenging and may recur later on.
Let’s investigate why you might feel like you want something bad to happen to you. There are likely three main candidates.
Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you address the feelings you are having about wanting bad things to happen to you. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.
1. You feel as though you deserve it.
You may want bad things to happen to you as a form of self-punishment. You may have done something seriously wrong that you feel terribly guilty for. You may feel like you deserve to suffer for whatever pain and hurt you may have caused someone else.
The idea is that you may be able to absolve yourself of guilt if you experience pain and hurt like what you caused.
Even though that’s not a healthy perspective, it’s not necessarily an irrational feeling. The desire for self-punishment might seem like an equal opposite if you were responsible for the suffering of someone else.
One may even go so far as to view it as some kind of penance because they don’t feel like an apology can compensate for the hurt they caused. And, let’s be realistic, sometimes an apology just feels inadequate compared to what we sometimes need to apologize for.
There are some different complexities to feeling as though you deserve it. Okay, maybe you did something seriously wrong that hurt someone, and you feel guilty about it. That’s not unreasonable.
On the other hand, some people feel that level of guilt for minor wrongs, circumstances outside of their control, or for no reason at all. Unreasonable feelings like those may point to something more serious like PTSD, depression, surviving abuse, or a traumatic experience.
A good example is suicide bereavement. Alice’s brother completes suicide after years of struggle with mental illness. The guilt crushes her. She tells herself that it’s her fault. If she had only been more patient! If she had only made more time for her brother! If only she had been there! If only she could have gotten him the help that he needed!
Alice may feel like she deserves her suffering and pain. And if you’ve experienced a similar circumstance, you may feel like you don’t deserve to be happy too.
The truth is that terrible things happen to innocent people all the time. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you did or didn’t do because the circumstances were always outside your control.
It could also be that sometimes you make an honest mistake that causes someone else hurt. You didn’t mean to do it, but it’s done, and your suffering isn’t going to change that.
2. You may be a child or domestic abuse survivor.
Guilt is a common tool for manipulation by controllers and abusers. An abuser will often use guilt to coerce their target into accepting harm or taking actions that comply with the abuser’s will. Let’s better illustrate this through a couple of examples.
An abusive parent may hold their child to an entirely unrealistic, unreasonable standard they can never live up to. Nothing is ever good enough. The parent is never happy. That abusive parent makes that child feel like they are not good enough because they can’t live up to this impossible standard. And because a child is innocent, they don’t understand what’s happening or why their adult is being so mean to them. They are taught that if something is wrong, it’s their fault, and they should feel bad about it.
The same can happen in domestic abuse situations with a spouse. Domestic violence is often a slow burn where the person starts off nice and loving, then slowly reveals themselves to be abusive. Suppose the abused does not realize what is going on. In that case, they may take their abuser’s word at face value: they aren’t good enough, they aren’t smart enough, and they are responsible for the bad things happening.
A person in a relationship like that for years may look to accept blame and self-punish because it’s a habit that’s been drilled into them for control. Not everyone is fortunate enough to clearly see the negative situation they are in. They may even feel as though they deserve to suffer because of it.
3. You may be experiencing trauma, depression, PTSD, or another mental illness.
Feelings of guilt and shame are common with mental health issues that feature negative emotions and perceptions. Depression can be a disorder of its own, or it might be a part of a bigger picture, like trauma. It can make you feel like self-harming is a good coping skill, like you deserve to suffer, or even make it so you don’t care if you die.
A desire to have bad things happen to you or to be harmed would typically fall under the umbrella of “self-harm,” though not quite at the actual harming part yet. Self-harm isn’t always directed by means of putting yourself into physical pain to be punished or to try to relieve what’s going on in your mind. It can also be putting yourself in dangerous or harmful situations where you could be harmed.
That might include things like not wearing a seatbelt, having unprotected sex, substance abuse, crossing the street without looking for traffic, skipping work purposefully, or any other action that may have harmful consequences.
How can I cope with these feelings?
The simple truth is that if you fantasize about bad things happening to you or you truly want them to happen to you, you will need to see a certified mental health professional to address this problem. This is not an issue that falls within the scope of self-help. These feelings are usually rooted in trauma, depression, or mental illness. Self-help is a superficial bandage over a deeper wound without professional help.
You can try to do some things to cope with the temporary feelings. You may try distraction techniques like watching something funny or reading. You can try to get those feelings out of your system by creating art or journaling. It may be worthwhile to put on some of your favorite music, then get out and exercise.
But these things are all temporary measures and should not be used as a long-term fix for the problem. Do seek professional help. With professional help, you will hopefully be able to improve your mental health enough to no longer feel as though you want to have these bad things happen to you.
BetterHelp.com is a website where you can connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.
Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.
Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.