Thoughtful Therapy

  Helping women find freedom and peace



Three Myths About Self Injury

Posted on 25 November, 2014 at 22:25

Self injury can be a scary thing. Often, people are horrified at the thought of it. When you hear about someone hurting themselves on purpose, you may wonder how anyone could do this. Unfortunately, it is very common. In fact, you probably know someone who does it, or used to do it, whether you're aware of it or not. And you may wonder why they do it, why they don't just stop, or who caused it.

Self injury is not a new thing. It has been going on since Bible times, and probably before. It didn't just start in the last 20-30 years, although it has become more common in that time. Awareness of self injury has started growing as instances of it have increased, and as people who injure themselves start at younger and younger ages.

People hurt themselves for a variety of reasons. Some want to feel something. Anything. And so they may make cuts so that they can at least feel pain. Others want uncomfortable feelings to go away. They don't want to feel angry, anxious, depressed, afraid, or sad. By hurting themselves, they can forget the feelings for a little while. There are still other reasons, but these are a couple of the most common.

Here are a few myths about self injury

Self injury is the same as a suicide attempt. Nope. This is not true. While someone who hurts themselves could eventually make a suicide attempt, cutting or injuring is not the same thing. Suicide could also be an accidental consequence because a person hurting themselves could make a deeper cut than they realize and bleed out. Self injury is an attempt to feel something when a person feels numb, or to make uncomfortable feelings stop. It is a coping mechanism, although it is an unhealthy one. But for some people, self injury is all they can manage to do in order to feel or to make the feelings go away.

The person self injuring is trying to get back at you for something. If only it were that easy. Then, I suppose you could just apologize and the person would stop injuring. This is about them, not about you. People do not injure with the intent to hurt someone else. Think about how bad someone must feel about himself or herself to physically inflict harm on his or her body. I will repeat: This has nothing to do with you.

Someone who self injures can just stop doing it. I wish! And I'm sure the person who injures wishes it was that easy, too. Unfortunately, self injury can become an addicting type of behavior. Some people categorize it as an addiction and some do not. Either way, self injury and addiction do share characteristics. One of these is the need to increase amounts over time in order to get the same feeling or lack of feeling. For a person who self injures, it is very likely that he or she will have to make deeper cuts, more burns, etc. in order to achieve the same level of comfort as before. This can become dangerous, of course, because deeper cuts and more serious injuries require more wound care, and very possibly, professional medical care.

There are many other misconceptions or myths about self injury, as well as ways to help and ways to treat it. If you self injure or know someone who does, please hear this: there is help. You can feel better. You can get better. You can stop hurting yourself. It takes time and dedication, but you can do it. Contact a therapist who specializes in this unique area and get the support you need and deserve.

Categories: Self Injury

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