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  1. #1

    Why do people self harm?

    I am trying to understand why I self harm, I mean other than because of a traumatic past, I really want to understand it.

    A friend pointed the following out to me, which I thought was useful and I would share:

    Self-harm: the facts

    Fact
    People self-harm in different ways. Some cut their arms or legs, others bang or bruise their bodies. Self-harm also includes burning, scratching, hair-pulling, scrubbing, or anything that causes injury to the body. Some people take tablets, perhaps not a big overdose, but enough to blot things out for a while. Some people hurt themselves just once or twice. Other people use self-harm to cope over a long time. They might hurt themselves quite often during a bad patch.

    Fact
    Self-harm isn't necessarily about suicide. Sometimes people harm themselves because they want to die. But often it's more about staying alive. People may hurt themselves to help them get through a bad time. It's a way to cope.

    Fact
    It's not just attention-seeking. People self-harm because they are in pain and trying to cope. They could also be trying to show that something is wrong. They need to be taken seriously.

    Fact
    It doesn;t mean you're off your head. All sorts of people self-harm. Even people in high-powered jobs. It's a sign that something is bothering and upsetting you, not that you are mad. You may not have met anyone else who self-harms and may even think you are the only one who does it. There's a lot of secrecy about self-harm. But many thousands of people cope in this way for a while.

    Fact
    Other things can be self-harming too. Things like starving, overeating, drinking too much, risk-taking, smoking and many others are also types of self-harm. Some coping methods (like burying yourself in work) may be more acceptable, but can still be harmful.

    Fact
    People do stop self-harming. Many people stop self-harming - when they're ready. They sort their problems out and find other ways of dealing with their feelings. It might take a long time and they might need help. But things can get better.

    Fact
    You can get help. If you are worried about self-harm you can get help.

    Self-harm is often a way of coping with painful experiences. These might include being abused or neglected, losing someone important to you, being bullied, harassed or assaulted, or being very lonely and isolated. It helps to tell someone supportive about painful things that have happened to you and the ways these have made you feel.

    http://freespace.virgin.net/basement...0self-harm.htm

    Hope this is ok to put here, I found it helpful and thought others might as well.

    Heather...
    Last edited by Halo; February 10th, 2009 at 04:04 PM. Reason: odd characters

  2. #2

    Why do people self harm?

    For me, it is mostly about punishing myself. It's really hard to think there could be a day where I don't deserve punishment. Sometimes it's about relieving anxiety.

  3. #3

    Why do people self harm?

    Thanks for sharing,

    I mostly do it because I am unable to appropriately express my emotions.

    Heather...

  4. #4

    Why do people self harm?

    Yeah, I understand that as well. I've pretty much given up on expressing emotions. I don't even know what I feel anymore.

  5. #5

    Why do people self harm?

    those facts are really good Heather... I think si is something that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to the outside but if you're in the moment it makes more than enough sense... I have so many emptions building inside of me, so much pressure and tension, and I am often really upset or very angry that I don't have another relief... and things seem so fine from the outside, so hurting myself in a way makes things more bearable for me... but then that doesn't explain why I si when I am sad or even can't think of one particular stressor.... I don't know if people ever really only si for one reason. what I'm wondering though, is assuming people stop si'ing- can they do so by themselves? I find myself stopping si'ing only to go back to it weeks later, mths later year after year..

  6. #6

    Why do people self harm?

    Hi, I'm new to the forum, hope that we shall all help each other with our experiences and different insights.
    With si, for me, the impulse is to have some sort of control, because I feel very detached from my emotions and dreamlike frequently. Its a way to balance, to give a depth and complexity to my emotional state which it lacks and seem would be more 'real'. I don't know if that makes sense to many. With most of the time feeling cut off from emotion and dreamlike having the pain of self-injury reminds me that there is definitely something wrong, convincing myself that i am worthy of treatment. In childhood, the physical injuries were always cared for but the emotional often neglected, not believing pain is there if you can't see it. There's also the consideration of associating pain with love. If someone is abused but also constantly told how much they are also loved then injuring myself is also thus a form of loving and treating a wound surely.
    find that writing how i feel each day... drawing, painting images of the way things feel helps when words fail..
    ..slightly stream of consciousness... be interested if people relate to any of these notions...

  7. #7

    Why do people self harm?

    what I'm wondering though, is assuming people stop si'ing- can they do so by themselves? I find myself stopping si'ing only to go back to it weeks later, mths later year after year..
    Well, I think one can stop alone, but I think that the risk of taking it back up again would be much greater than stopping with the help of a therapist.

    I did stop on my own for about 9.5 years and went back to it a few years ago. Maybe it's something that always lurks, but you can learn healthy ways to cope with someone's help. I'm not sure really.

    I'm 36 and I started when I was pretty young, at least 26 years ago. I am at a point where it just seems too ingrained or hopeless or something. But I'm not really sure. It's hard to let go of something like this.

    I think it's interesting that it can mean so many different things.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    North American lakes and rivers
    Posts
    4,832

    Why do people self harm?

    I also do it as a way to punish myself. i also do it when I am overwhelmed with negative feelings and don't know how else to express them. Sometimes I do it if someone makes me angry at them, as a way to show them they hurt me, although I don't actually "show them" and they don't even know I cut.

    I'm learning in therapy how to deal with all this. It will probably be a long time before I have to fight the urge, but so far even though it's a bitter battle every time, I'm doing ok. I haven't cut since August 31st and although I'm tempted, my goal is to make it to Christmas.
    ~ Allow yourself to be the light that the world so desperately needs. ~ Unknown

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Australia
    Age
    33
    Posts
    789

    Why do people self harm?

    I think for me it was a combination of punishment and also just being so overwhelmed by anxiety that I couldn't cope. I needed to release the tension somehow, and si was where I ended up.

    Well done BG on being si free since August, that's great :) Good luck with your goal to make it to Christmas!
    "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being." - Carl Jung

  10. #10

    Why do people self harm?

    for me it is more or less a mixture of the above... i feel like i deserved it and needed to punish myself, to cope with my suppressed emotions and to release them

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