Sharp Objects and Self-Destructive Tendencies

TV shows and movies are full of characters with self-destructive tendencies. Such is the case with the new HBO series, Sharp Objects. This series is an adaptation of the dark Gillian Flynn novel. We’re going to discuss self-destructive tendencies in the context of this show, as well as recommendations for how to avoid and fight this harmful attitude.
Sharp Objects and Self-Destructive Tendencies

Last update: 14 July, 2020

Self-destructive tendencies make people harm themselves. That includes intentionally injuring themselves, starving themselves, and drug abuse, among other things. Self-destructive tendencies are common in people with low self-esteem or who suffer some kind of childhood trauma.

TV shows and movies are full of characters with self-destructive tendencies. Such is the case of the new HBO series, Sharp ObjectsThis series is an adaptation of the dark Gillian Flynn novel. We’re going to discuss self-destructive tendencies in the context of this show, as well as recommendations on how to avoid and fight them.

Sharp Objects characters at a funeral.

Sharp Objects: A journalist in search of answers

The series tells the story of journalist Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) and the investigation she’s doing in her home town. The investigation is about the murder of two pre-teen girls. Camille Preaker dives in deep to figure out what happened to these two girls, while confronting her traumatic past at the same time.

At the beginning of the show, Camille returns to her home town for the first time in 11 years. There, she’s reunited with her cold and manipulative mother, as well as her passive and unexpressive stepfather. As if that weren’t enough already, she has to deal with the painful memories of a sister who passed away and meets her half-sister for the first time. Her half-sister is a teenager just as manipulative and possessive as her mom.

Camille’s difficult childhood scarred her. Since childhood, she has cut herself on purpose. She hopes that the physical pain she inflicts on herself will provide some relief from her emotional pain. She also uses different types of drugs and consumes alcohol.

Self-destructive tendencies in the Sharp Objects characters

There are two types of self-destructive tendencies. One is direct and implies immediate self-harm. An individual engages in this behavior by hitting, cutting, or burning themselves. In the most extreme cases, this tendency could manifest itself in suicide. The other kind is indirect. These actions damage the body over time. Drug abuse, gambling, eating disorders, extreme sports, or unprotected sex are all examples of indirect self-destructive behavior.

Frederic Nauman argued that this type of behavior might be conscious or unconscious. Either way, it sabotages an individual’s chance at health and happiness.

In Sharp Objects,  many of the characters are indirectly self-destructive. Camille’s mother and many of her childhood friends spend their days drinking a lot of alcohol. The parents and family members of the murder victims also turn to drugs and alcohol to deal with their loss.

On the other hand, Camille’s half-sister Amma practices all kinds of high-risk sports. She sneaks out at night to skate as fast as she can go in deserted and dark alleys all over town. She also participates in underground racing. Everything she does is to “kill time” and try to get her mother’s attention.

Camille is the character with evident direct self-destructive behavior. She used to cut herself in many places to write words that summarized her personality and depression. For example, certainty, shame, sick, invisible, wrong, etc. Over the course of the series, she continues to make small cuts on her fingers and thinks about the wounds that cover her body.

Amy Adams' character has self-destructive tendencies.

How to fight auto-destructive tendencies

These auto-destructive tendencies tend to reproduce themselves if they aren’t treated in time. What’s more, this type of behavior tends to become more frequent and intense with the stress and anxiety that people who practice self-harm feel. On the other hand, the support of family and friends can be very helpful. Likewise, professional help or support groups are always great options.

If you have self-destructive tendencies, here are some steps you can take to change your behavior:

  • Know and identify the root of the problem. When you accept the root of the problem, you can start to fight your self-destructive tendencies.
  • Talk to someone about these harmful behaviors and what their cause might be. Telling someone about your self-destructive tendencies is an important step towards healing. You can talk to a friend, a family member, or a doctor.
  • Look for other ways to deal with your problem. Try to find alternatives to self-harm, like something that keeps your mind occupied. Whatever activity you choose, it should make you feel good and help you let off some steam. Doing some kind of non-extreme sport is a great option. Playing music or making art are other healthy alternatives.

These are some of the things you can do to try and address your self-destructive tendencies. They can help, but they might not be enough. That’s why we always recommend that you seek help from a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.