Having worked with many people who self harm, I know that it is usually a cry for help. Sadly, many self harm in private as they have no one to talk to and this is one form of release from intense distress.
This issue has affected me a great deal as I know friends as well as family members who have self harmed. It affects many people and it is on the increase…
Many who self harm are experiencing emotional pain. Often this comes from a difficult childhood, perhaps one where the child is forced to suppress themselves on some level – for example: they are not allowed to get angry or their opinion is never listened to. Many internalise this grief and take it out on themselves.
Often there is no suitable emotional outlet and this is when self harming can be more likely to happen.
Self harm takes many forms – the most common is cutting. Someone will take a sharp object and cut themselves – often on their arms..places that can be hidden. Others burn themselves, some push things inside them, pull their hair out (Trichotillomania)..self harm is a broad term.
Some self harm as a way to feel in control and to find comfort. They may feel ashamed, afraid or worried about how other’s would react and therefore conceal what they have done.
Never be angry with someone who self harms. Instead, try to find out why they are doing it and get them help. This calls for understanding not blame.
For a bit of fun..try Mandy’s iphone app:
Life Wisdom https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/life-wisdom/id392898772?mt=8
More on Mandy: https://www.mandyjane-lifedesign.com The author of this blog lives in Surrey, UK and offers counselling to couples and individuals. All names have been changed to protect the identity of clients. Personal client stories shared in this blog have been published with prior permission from the relevant clients.
Photo by Leonard J Matthews