What does Breaking the Habit mean?

Linkin Park: Breaking the Habit Meaning

Album cover for Breaking the Habit album cover

Song Released: 2004


Breaking the Habit Lyrics

Memories consume
Like opening the wound
I'm picking me apart again
You all assume
I'm safe here in my room
Unless I try to start again

[Bridge:]
I don't want to be the one
The battles always choose
'Cause inside I realize
That I'm the...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    #1 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 28th 2012 !⃝

    To me, this is one of those songs with slightly ambiguous lyrics that seem to bring up whatever you relate with most at the time. When I heard it, it strongly brought to mind self-harm and suicide.

    "I'm picking me apart again"

    When you really hate yourself, you start tearing yourself down until there's nothing left, and it feels like it's all true--but there's a part of you that knows it's yourself saying those things, picking yourself apart.

    "You all assume I'm safe here in my room
    Unless I try to start again"

    Flatmates, family, friends... they assume you're okay, you're just quiet, in your room, doing whatever it is you do. Unless they know you've self-harmed before. Then, even if you say you've quit, they might think you're starting it again, when you're quiet for too long.

    "I don't want to be the one
    The battles always choose
    'Cause inside I realize
    That I'm the one confused"

    Here, the speaker says he's always in the middle of battles, but he doesn't choose them--they choose him. He feels like a pawn, helpless, caught in the middle of everything.

    "I don't know what's worth fighting for
    Or why I have to scream
    I don't know why I instigate
    And say what I don't mean
    I don't know how I got this way
    I know it's not alright"

    Things are getting to him, and the cracks are starting to show. He snaps at people when he doesn't really mean to, and he always feels like screaming. He doesn't know what's happened to him to make him like this. He doesn't excuse his behavior either. He knows it's not alright. He knows he's not alright.

    "So I'm breaking the habit
    I'm breaking the habit tonight"

    So he's come to a solution... a way to stop himself from constantly hurting the people around him like that.

    "Clutching my cure
    I tightly lock the door
    I try to catch my breath again
    I hurt much more
    Than anytime before
    I had no options left again"

    It's unbearable. Everything is unbearable. He's got what he needs to do the deed. There's no other way out. This time, when he sings the chorus, there's a difference:

    "I'll never be alright"

    He'll never be able to change, it's hopeless. And yet, "I'm breaking the habit tonight."

    "I'll paint it on the walls
    'Cause I'm the one at fault
    I'll never fight again
    And this is how it ends"

    He will choose to die because he's the one at fault, the one hurting everyone else. He admits his guilt, willing to "paint it on the walls" that he surrenders. It's over.

    "I'll never be alright
    I'm breaking the habit tonight."

  2. 2TOP RATED

    #2 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 13th 2014 !⃝

    This song made me stop cutting when I first heard it. It has powerful meaning

  3. 3TOP RATED

    #3 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 24th 2006 !⃝

    I find that the song has a meaning for almost every addiction. I talks about doing something, whether it is cutting or doing drugs, to hopefully forget the pain and hurt.

    The best part in the song, personally, I find is:
    "i'm picking me apart again
    you all assume
    i'm safe here in my room
    unless I try to start again"
    to me it talks about that you're pretending to the whole world and everyone seems to buy it. They think that you're okay, but they don't know how hurt you are from the inside.
    It's almost like nobody cares about you.

    The song also talks about helplessness.
    "cause inside I realize
    that I'm the one confused"

    and

    "I don't know what's worth fighting for
    or why I have to scream
    i don't know why I instigate
    and say what I don't mean
    i don't know how I got this way
    i know it's not alright"

    you don't know what to do except for the thing what you do, drugs or self harm. You feel helpless with yourself and there doesn't seems to be a way out.

    And as last it can also talk about suicide. It's just the way how you see it and how it feels to you personally. I find everyone can recognize themselves in this song. Mostly because everyone battles an addiction. No matter if it are cigarettes, alcohol, drugs or self harm.

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 9th 2023 !⃝

    the song explores themes of personal struggle, addiction, and the desire to break free from destructive habits. While the meaning of the song can vary depending on individual interpretation, it is widely regarded as an introspective exploration of overcoming inner demons and finding the strength to change.

    The lyrics of "Breaking the Habit" convey a sense of anguish and inner turmoil, reflecting the internal battle faced by someone trying to escape a harmful pattern or addiction. The song's protagonist expresses their determination to break free from the cycle of self-destruction and seeks to find a way to change their life for the better. It touches upon the theme of hitting rock bottom and the subsequent realization that change is necessary for personal growth and healing.

    The music video for "Breaking the Habit," directed by Joe Hahn, incorporates animated sequences and a visual representation of the protagonist's struggle. It portrays the emotional journey of overcoming addiction and features themes of self-reflection, redemption, and the power of personal transformation.

    Overall, "Breaking the Habit" can be interpreted as a powerful anthem of hope and resilience, emphasizing the importance of breaking free from destructive patterns and seeking positive change in one's life.




  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 13th 2023 !⃝

    I'm glad you all found so much inspiration in this song. I suffer from suicidal depression and knew what the lyrics meant as soon as I heard them. He is "breaking the habit" by leaving this existence. He says it pretty clearly at one point, "Clutching my cure I tightly lock the door, I try to catch my breath again. I hurt much more than any time before, I have no options left again" Then "I'll paint it on the walls, Because I'm the one at fault, I'll never fight again, and this is how it ends". He is clearly talking about shooting himself in the head.

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 19th 2022 !⃝

    I feel like this song (to me) is talking about depression, anxiety, anger issues etc. I struggle with these things, especially anger. The chorus say “I don’t know what I’m fighting for, or why I have to scream. I don’t know why I instigate or say what I don’t mean.” This sounds a lot like the things that I say to other people and the things I do out of anger. (I don’t know if this is what LP was actually trying to say, but this is my personal interpretation.)

  7. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 27th 2020 !⃝

    This to me this song has nothing to do with Drug addiction. This is to do with suicide. That is caused by depression. "Memories consume, like opening the wound, I'm picking me apart again" These lines are about remembering a bad or traumatic experiences and they consume you like and hurt like opening a wound. Them memories start eating away at you as your remember them. Im not gonna go through the entire song. The chorus is about not know what's the point of living and doing the things that you do and knowing that it is not alright. So you decide to break the habit by committing suicide. The bridge is where things hit rock bottom. "I'll paint it on the walls, cause I'm the one at fault, ill never fight again , and this is how it ends. This is about showing your problems to everyone cause you blame yourself. It's about you giving up and accepting that this is your fate. That you will never get out of the loop of shit you are experiencing and you committin. The final chorus is slightly changed. "I don't know what's worth fighting for, or why I have to scream, but now I have some clarity to show you what he means, I Don't know how I got this way, I'll never by all right, so I'm breaking the habit x3, tonight. You don't know why you do things or why you have to scream. But you have some understanding 9f it all. You feel at peace. But you you know you will never be alright so you commit suicide.

  8. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 20th 2020 !⃝

    I think that it's about how someone wants to 'break the habit' of arguing/fighting with their partner.

  9. anonymous
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    Mar 12th 2019 !⃝

    It can also be about anger, the damage it can cause, regret: no matter what you do, you hurt those you love, and it haunts you...
    "Memories consume like opening the wound
    I'm picking me apart again" REMEMBERING ALL OF THE PAST FAILURES/QUARRELS.
    "You all assume
    I'm safe here in my room
    Unless I try to start again" I SHOW A STRONG FACADE, SO PEOPLE THINK I'M FINE, BUT I FALL APART TRYING TO FIGURE MYSELF OUT.
    "I don't want to be the one the battles always choose
    'Cause inside I realize that I'm the one confused" I TRY TO AVOID CONFLICT WITH OTHERS BECAUSE I LOSE CONTROL, BUT I'M ALWAYS DRAWN INTO IT.
    "I don't know what's worth fighting for
    Or why I have to scream
    I don't know why I instigate
    And say what I don't mean" I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY I SNAP, WHY I CAN'T WALK AWAY, WHY I SAY HURTFUL THINGS IN ANGER.
    "I don't know how I got this way
    I know it's not alright" I DON'T KNOW HOW TO CONTROL IT, AND I KNOW I HURT THOSE AROUND ME.
    "So I'm breaking the habit
    I'm breaking the habit tonight" SO I'M GOING TO TRY TO CHANGE.
    "Clutching my cure
    I tightly lock the door
    I try to catch my breath again
    I hurt much more than any time before
    I have no options left again" I FAILED AGAIN, BUT THIS TIME I HURT SOMEONE VERY IMPORTANT TO ME, I CAN'T SEE ANY WAY TO PREVENT THINGS FROM HAPPENING, BUT I CAN'T LET THIS CONTINUE.
    "I don't want to be the one the battles always choose
    'Cause inside I realize that I'm the one confused
    I don't know what's worth fighting for
    Or why I have to scream
    I don't know why I instigate
    And say what I don't mean
    I don't know how I got this way
    I'll never be alright" FAILED AGAIN, I'M REMEMBERING ALL THE PEOPLE I'VE HURT IN THE PAST, AND I REALIZE THAT I CAN'T CHANGE MY WAYS.
    "So I'm breaking the habit
    I'm breaking the habit tonight
    I'll paint it on the walls
    'Cause I'm the one at fault
    I'll never fight again
    And this is how it ends
    I don't know what's worth fighting for
    Or why I have to scream
    But now I have some clarity to show you what I mean
    I don't know how I got this way
    I'll never be alright
    So I'm breaking the habit
    I'm breaking the habit
    I'm breaking the habit tonight" BEFORE I DISAPPEAR/ABANDON YOU/KILL MYSELF, I'M WRITING A GOODBYE LETTER TO LET LOVED ONES KNOW THEY AREN'T BLAME FOR MY ACTIONS, AND EXPLAINING MY SORROW, MY INABILITY TO CHANGE, MY DECISION TO LEAVE SO I DON'T HURT THEM ANYMORE.

  10. Angelboo
    click a star to vote
    Oct 16th 2018 !⃝

    I just want to talk about the lines that can have more than one meaning.

    "Cluching my cure." He could be talking about a blade that he uses to cut himself with, a drug, or a gun.

    "Picking me apart again." This could be referring to either cutting himself or tearing himself down.

    "I'll paint it on the walls." He could be talking about literally painting on the walls that he's breaking his habit, or he could be figuratively saying that his blood will be painted on the walls after he shoots himself.

    "I'm breaking the habit tonight." This could mean he's stopping his bad habits for good (cutting and/or drugs) Or it could mean he's going to kill himself.

  11. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 3rd 2018 !⃝

    it about chester battling drugs addiction and sucidal thoughts- i believe if people heard this song sooner chester wont of killed himself its sad really but like i say to everybody this what drugs do messed you up and in the end you end up killing yourself like kurt cobain- i know how this feels in this song im still battling severe depression and aniexty myself so i know feels to feel alone and sucidal- i still feel like this from time to time so i know it hard i thought of giving up so many time but the only thing keeping me alive is the love from family and my husband and my good friend micheal who help though the darker time without them i wouldnt be here and me too would of commited sucide

  12. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 2nd 2018 !⃝

    It has different meanings to different people. .
    It is an amazing song lyrically. .
    R.I.P. Chester. .320#

  13. anonymous
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    May 4th 2018 !⃝

    it about abuse sucidal thought, depression leading to sucide and self image issue a cry for help - i went this reminds me all shit i went thought also make sad that chester kill himself it shows how depression can kill but i hope at peace know he doent have suffer no more RIP CHESTER you death as not gone in vein i hope people see now this real and hope get help right away because you not alone look at me i got help and it helps so if you are depressed and/or sucidal GET HELP FAST

  14. anonymous
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    Apr 9th 2018 !⃝

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  15. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 23rd 2018 !⃝

    Clutch cure- Grasp gun, knife , rope pills etc.

    Break Habit- To Destroy yourself. (Destroy the habit) You are living as if the habits define you.

  16. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 2nd 2013 !⃝

    This song is about breaking your fucking habits regardless of being good or bad.

  17. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Mar 31st 2013 !⃝

    "Mike had been trying to write a song around this lyrical idea for over five years. He tried this theme a number of times, but nothing seemed to do the song justice. Meanwhile, during the process of putting together this album, Mike began working on an interlude, crossing a digitally manipulated beat with strings and piano. Unexpectedly, Brad and Joe suggested that Mike turn the two minute interlude into a full song. Tentatively titled 'Drawing,' the piece was extended to three minutes and 16 seconds when Mike took it home to write lyrics. In less than two hours, the lyrics that he had been trying to put together for years fell into place. With some finishing touches, live piano, and live strings the song was finally complete- six years in the making."
    -Meteora Special Edition

  18. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 25th 2012 !⃝

    Well, there are a few different ways to look at this song:

    1.) If you just go by the lyrics, it could be about a guy who is desperate to beat his drug addiction. It's made him completely confused and there's probably a whole lot of self-hatred coming from him. As for the chorus, where he "Breakes the Habit," you could either look at that as him finally getting rid of his drugs, or he could be committing suicide. Whichever way you want to look at it from that perspective.

    2.) If you have background knowledge on the band/song, then you are well aware that the song is about Chester, one of the lead singers of the band who did have a problem with drugs.Obviously, he isn't dead, so that kind of puts a hitch in thinking that "Breaking the Habit" means suicide. If it is about him, then I'm going to have to guess that it's about him checking into rehab or something. That part is open to interpretation, if you ask me.

    or, 3.) If you listen to this song while watching the video, then you KNOW that the chorus means suicide. In it, you see Chester's dead body after he jumped off a building, (apparently in Tokyo, seeing as how the video is done in anime format,)and goes on to show the stories of others who have slightly different problems, (i.e., a girl who is clinically depressed because her mother apparently abuses her; a woman whose husband or boyfriend or something is cheating on her, which she walks in on, and so on.) Then again, you could kind of guess all along that it was really about suicide.
    "I don't know what's worth fighting for,"
    "I don't know how I got this way,"
    "I'll never be alright,"
    "So I'm breaking the habit..."
    That repeats a few times, and look at it! I don't know what's worth fighting for: a common problem for drug addicts; it lends to his confusion. I don't know how I got this way: everyone's confused about how they got hooked on drugs once they do. I'll never be alright, or I know it's not alright: giving himself a reason why he should kill himself. So I'm breaking the habit, I'm breaking the habit tonight: pretty much wrapping up his life, or his death. It's pretty obvious what happened after that.

    So yeah, several different ways that you can interpret this. But the recurring theme in all of them seems to be suicide, so that's the explination that I tend to stick with. Believe whatever you what to about it though; it's a song, it's supposed to be open to interpretation.

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