in reference to things, "destroy itself automatically;" see self- + destruct, apparently first attested in the U.S. television series "Mission Impossible" (1966). Self-destructive "having the property of annulling itself" is recorded from 1650s, and self-destruction "destruction of oneself, suicide" is attested from 1580s; self-destroying (n.) is from 1610s.
"sacrifice of what commonly constitutes the happiness of life for the sake of duty or higher motive," 1650s; see self + sacrifice (n.). Adjective self-sacrificed attested from 1711. Related: self-sacrificing.
Self-sacrifice goes beyond self-denial in necessarily including the idea of surrender, as of comfort, inclination, time, health, while being also presumably in the line of a real duty. [Century Dictionary]