From earlier this summer, this article looks at a few possible reasons we may punish ourselves and punish more harshly in some cases.
What would be really helpful would be to look at those who self punish as adults after being physically punished as,children and if the level/severity goes up. That is, if you were punished as a children, largely through the use of spanking which occurred at least twice a week if not more spankings and those spanking were for different “offense” levels, i.e. spanked for not finishing homework versus say being spanked for disobedience where you took too long to do something such as not putting clothes away in ten minutes when it took you fifteen even though you put the clothes away and they were put away correctly or being spanked for running out into the street with oncoming traffic.
To me, kids would learn to expect punishment for every failure and not having learned to manage failure and mistakes, choose to punish themselves instead. Punishment could include self inflicted pain, self beating, negative self talk, withholding food and/or drink from yourself, withholding other items such as not allowing yourself to wear a favorite shirt or outfit, surrounding yourself with people who hurt you physically/mentally/emotionally/etc., talking yourself into staying in an abusive situation because you think you deserve that abusive treatment.
There are certainly more and I honestly think, knowing my own experiences and things I’ve done to myself, that self punishment becomes a habit because I believe I deserve to be treated like garbage. I think corporal punishment/spanking/abuse writes people’s brains to accept punishment and abuse and not mercy and love.