Self-Harm or The Desire To Hurt Oneself

Self-Harm or The Desire To Hurt Oneself

Last update: 15 March, 2017

Self-harm is sometimes the only way a person feels they can deal with problems. They try to express the feelings that they fail to explain in words and release emotional pain. But for the people who injure themselves, the painful feelings always come back and they feel the need to hurt themselves again. Thus, it is necessary to find other ways to feel better without getting hurt.

This is a behavior, an escape mechanism, to express themselves and feel better, where personal injuries are the only way to cope with feelings such as sadness, hatred, fault, or rage. However, that little relief does not last long. Moreover, secrecy and guilt-induced self-injury affect their family and personal relationships.

Different types of self-harm

The impulse of harming oneself can be carried out in various ways. Some of the most common are: burning, cutting or scratching the skin, hitting one’s head or any part of their body, piercing or sticking objects into the skin, preventing wounds from healing, taking toxic substances or other objects. Less obvious ways the person can put themselves in danger include drinking heavily, driving recklessly or taking any kinds of medication without precautions.

What are the signs of self-harm

Warning signs that a family member or friend is hurting themselves can include the following:

Unexplained injuries, bruises or burns, usually on the wrists, chest, arms and thighs, blood stains on their clothing or bed, finding knives, needles, glass, and sharp objects among their belongings; they suffer frequent accidents and make the excuse that they are clumsy or suffering many setbacks, wear long sleeves or long pants even in the heat. They are usually people who like to be alone for a long time locked in the bathroom or bedroom, and are people who suffer from isolation and irritability.

How to deal with self-harm

  • The first step is to confide in someone and talk about what is happening. At first the person may be afraid to speak, but it is also often a relief to share what is happening with another person. To do this, to talk about self-harm, the person must concentrate on their feelings and communicate in the way that makes them feel most comfortable.
  • The second step is to seek professional help and not continue with the self-harming behavior. Because with the help of a therapist the person can understand why they hurt themselves. It is therefore very important to recognize the triggers of self-harm and to achieve this they must work on their emotional awareness.
  • The third step is to find new coping techniques, such as expressing pain and intense emotions, calming themselves down, knowing how to disconnect and especially search for techniques that help release tension.

Professional treatment

Finding the right therapist can take some time. What is very important is that the therapist that is chosen is one that has experience in treating trauma and self-inflicted injuries, and, above all, that there is trust and cordiality between both parties.

Image courtesy of Toni Blay

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.