Why do you SI and what reactions have you had?

Discussion in 'Self Harm & Substance Abuse' started by JadedOutlook, Jun 2, 2012.

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  1. JadedOutlook

    JadedOutlook New Member

    Hi, I'm a newbie. I apologise if this has been asked 100 times before, but I have never talked about self-harm with anybody that I know, besides my partner (he saw cuts, I said I had done them, he looked highly uncomfortable, called me a freak and we never discussed it again) so I wondered what reactions people had had from others.
    I have been cutting my thighs on/off since I was in my early teens and I'm now in my early 30s, I also punch walls, doors, etc. I don't really understand why I do it, but have no desire to stop as it makes me feel better about myself.
    I know many self-harmers are proud of their scars and have no problem telling people about it, and there are others like me who go to great lengths to cover up their scars for fear of being branded a fruitloop or attention seeker.
    I guess I'm trying to understand the psychology behind self-injury as I feel at the moment that those who aren't ashamed of their SI have genuine reasons for it, i.e personal trauma, etc, where as I am ashamed of the cutting because I don't feel that my life has been terrible enough to warrant this behaviour.
    Any thoughts would be gladly appreciated.
    Thanks x

    P.s When I was in labour with my second child, a midwife pulled back my blankets and stopped and stared at my (fresh) cuts, then carried on with what she was doing. Has anybody ever had someone discover their scars and ignore them like this?
  2. Witty_Sarcasm

    Witty_Sarcasm Eccentric writer, general weirdo, heedless heathen

    Well, I self harm because I hate myself and I deserve to feel pain. I'm sorry that you got called a freak, that's not right at all. I'm not necessarily ashamed of it, I just feel less inclined to tell people if they don't understand self harm and why people do it. The usual reaction is that people get upset because they don't want me to hurt myself. You shouldn't feel shame about what you do, it's a coping mechanism and it can be hard to just stop doing it.
  3. Syn

    Syn Well-Known Member

    The psychology behind it is easy enough to understand, SI can release endorphins in your brain, which does make you feel better for as long as those chemicals are in the brain. It's a coping mechanism, and it can be addicting what with the chemicals and all. Those who don't hide it usually fall into two catagories, the ones who don't see it as a big deal since small cuts are only small cuts and it's better than possible alternatives, and the attention seekers. Those who hide their cuts simply want to use SI as a coping mechanism. You don't need a terrible life/experience to need a coping mechanism, everyone has some sort of coping mechanism, usually those with truly terrible lives will have a multitude of coping mechanisms. I've had reactions ranging from all out not caring, to being cussed out for it for an hour or so. Witty sarcasm is right, you shouldn't be ashamed of what you do.
  4. BrinkOfExistence

    BrinkOfExistence Well-Known Member

    Self harm usually makes me feel better, though sometimes it can get out of hand. I do hide my scars, simply because i don't like being judged. When i was admitted to hospital a nurse noticed my scars and asked me if i wanted to talk about what caused me to want to do that, whereas every other nurse ignored them, which i was actually happy about, i really didn't want to repeat my story over and over again. I think the midwife who dimissed your scars simply did so because you was in labour and the last thing you needed was someone questioning you about something so personal or maybe because she's just not qualified to do anything about it.

    @Syn - I resent the term attention seeker for anyone who self harms, i think it's more of a cry for help rather than "look at me, look at me". Even if someone confirmed that they self harmed for attention, that alone shows you that there is something wrong with this person and they need help. I can't believe someone would self harm for attention, there has to be some underlining problem.
  5. Syn

    Syn Well-Known Member

    I understand your resentment for the term and what it implies, and I will readily agree even if they do it for attention, something is more than likely "wrong" with them. I do not mean the term in a neagative way as it likely came across, but for some people they seek attention as the attention gives them validation, therefore I count the term as valid if not mis-represented.
  6. oval

    oval Well-Known Member

    I used to cut and scratch. Now I only scratch and hit myself. I do it to feel something when I feel numb, to "release pain", to punish myself or to feel in control of my body/to feel my body when it feels strange and like it wasn't mine.

    I do everything to cover my scars up. I've considered getting skin graft surgery done but that shit costs up to $9000 and that's just not gonna happen lol I move very awkward and do everything to keep my arms to myself so no one will see the scars although plenty of people have seen them.

    When I realize that someone noticed I feel like I'm gonna faint. My head is spinning, I see black and I feel like I'm falling.
    I feel like the most pathetic little piece of shit, like the scum of the earth, everyone is judging me and probably thinks I'm just disgusting.
    However, the reaction that I got from people that did say something were never negative. They seemed to be rather interested and understand, maybe curious why I had so many scars.
  7. Mr Stewart

    Mr Stewart Well-Known Member

    I do it because it is sometimes the only thing that can jolt my brain back to reality and allow me to calm down.

    No one knows about my habit other than my pdoc. She, being a pdoc, had no particular reaction to the disclosure. One symptom among many.

    Welcome to SF, JadedOutlook.
  8. lelantgirl

    lelantgirl Well-Known Member

    I cut and hate the scars and feel bad afterwards.
    Noone seems to understand the self harming and suicide thing really, so thats why joined here so at least be with people like myself suffering.
    I self harmed quite badly a few months ago and not long after had to go to docs for some blood tests, he seen the scars and asked what had happened, I just told him the truth but he said nomore. He has known me years and knows things can be tough. I have cut my wrist abit last few days, nothing deep but so feel the eed to cut and get some pain and blood flowing.
    Its odd cos if I look at self harm images online etc I feel on edge, yet I dont mind doing it myself!
    I am not proud of my scars, not got many but last time few months ago when did it quite badly and doc seen they are a reminder of the event. Some people like to show their scars, some like to hide, some are ashamed ( feel bad about them) and others dont.
    Its all a VERY complex thing.
  9. scarlettdrknss

    scarlettdrknss Well-Known Member

    i don't have a real reason to cut when you take a look at what my life was like. but i self harmed in a lot of ways and still do. never felt bad about doing, sometimes tired of it, but it was always there to help. i don't hide the old scars because i have a pride in me that i don't know where it comes from. i hate lying to people, someitmes i think that's a reason why i don't hide the old scars. my parents completely freaked and kept checking in on me all the time when they found out until i convinced them i stopped (even though i never did, just found alternatives). i told two friends that i used to cut (the scars are visible, last year i said they came from my dog and no one said anything) and they were surprised, they kept telling me how they couldn't believe it and never would've imagined it but they never talked about it after that (one of them never did talk and the other cuz i told hernot to). but yeah most people ignore them. i see them stare, i can see that look in their eyes, but if you are good at acting, you can show them that you really mean what you're saying (even if it's a lie) and then distract them with something else, don't let it phase you. i do get slightly scared if anyone takes a closer look, but in the end, if someone hates you or makes you feel bad because of this, which is as well as everything else, a part of you, they don't deserve your attention
  10. darkgirlforever

    darkgirlforever Active Member

    I used to think that my life wasn't traumatic enough to give me the right to cut too. Then i realized everyone's life experiences effect them in different ways so an event that can be extremely traumatic for one person may not affect another person as severely. Therefore i don't think there is a specific level of trauma that must occur in one's life that gives a person good reason to hurt themselves since everyone is different. Personally i self harm to punish myself. I'm not proud of being a self injurer but once my cuts heal i generally do not try to conceal the scars. If people ask i will tell them because i lost my fear of being judged over this a long time ago. Because this is my attitude i have obviously gotten some bad reactions. I've actually had people slap me on the places that i cut which really hurts by the way. Anyway that's about it.
  11. uncle buck

    uncle buck Member

    Sometimes because the self-loathing is so strong I feel the need to punish myself. Sometimes its the only way to stop my head from spinning in circles. Sometimes its just because i am so angry I need to lash out at something. Either way, whether its a cut, or a well placed punch, its all the same after. A feeling of peace and langour that is unrivalled.

    as for reactions, the only people that know are close family and when they see, always by accident, they carry a look of sadness. I could care less if someone i didnt know had a problem with it. We all have negative behaviour.
  12. Monoka

    Monoka Well-Known Member

    When i have exams i get stressed and develope insomnia, i then et angry with myself for not sleeeping and turn to slef harm. The worst thing is that others see it as atttention seeking. it is partly a subconcious cry for help but i dont want it to be publically noticed. i wish i didnt and when i once told my girlfried because i thought it was only fair on her i dont think she understood why i could do it :( its a negative thing to do but is a quick release.
  13. Growing Pains

    Growing Pains Well-Known Member

    Everyone experiences life in different ways. Something that would easily be brushed off as just a part of living by one person, could seem like the end of the road for another. No one person has the same problems, no one person experiences emotional pain (or even physical, for that matter) the same way. People spend so much time trying to understand how others feel that I often feel they forget to take the time to understand how they feel. The fact of the matter is, unless you can switch places with the person, you'll never know why they feel as they do about a situation or why they react the way they do to it. You can only listen as they tell.

    I can't really say why I self harm. I know the psychology behind it. The endorphin's released and all that. But I think it can go deeper than that. Finding the root of the problem has always been part of my problem. I have very vague memories of how I started. I know that I heard about it through my sister (she unwittingly led me to it, though I've never blamed it on her). She herself did not cut, but admitted to me that she had participated in another form of self harm. My "friend" and I self harmed together. It was like a sacred thing between us. I cannot say what her reasons were for it, but she was one of those that wore scars and cuts like trophies. She wanted her friends to know she did it. I did, too, in the beginning. But it quickly became a shameful thing to me. I think my story of how I started is similar to most other stories. I have very vague memories of those years. So, I don't remember why I continued after that friend and I had our fall out, I don't remember why I thought it was a good idea to start in the first place, I don't remember what I was feeling when I did it. Truth be told, I barely recall doing it and only know that I did because of recollections from others, the year of therapy after a guidance counselor saw fresh cuts, and the scars that it left behind. All I know is that I stopped for several years before I started again when I was 19 or 20.

    I spend most of my time hiding them. I do not like wearing them on display. I seldom wear shorts (except to bed), and hate wearing short sleeves (though, being in the South... I often have to during the Summer). If I catch someone looking at them, I'll quickly hide my arm from their view. I've gotten reactions all over the chart. My mother expresses anger when she sees them. She'll seldom say anything, but she'll glare at me and/or stomp away. It annoys me. It's probably the worst reaction a parent can give. I often wonder if she realizes how detrimental such a reaction is. It feels as though she's accusing me of being the source of all my problems and all hers at the same time (whether that's her intent or not, that's how it feels to me). My sister ignores them. She'll never say anything, never question me, never even acknowledge that she saw them even if I caught her giving them a quick glance. My brother is the same way. My other sister is too darn oblivious to notice. Strangers usually don't say anything. They'll glance and then walk away. Though, I was at the flea market once, helping my sister with her store. I had forgotten to cover my scars that day and had a few fresh ones on my arm. I went to bag a woman's merchandise and she saw them. I caught her staring at my arm for about one minute as I counted her change. It was awkward. Recently, my friend (probably the only friend I have left in the world) caught a glimpse of one on my leg while I was on her bed and in my bed shorts. My shorts leg had come up, revealing a part of a scar. I showed them to her. She seemed genuinely sympathetic. Probably the strangest reaction I've had as most reactions seem to be anger, shock, or a feigned indifference. She actually wanted to know what was wrong and she actually tried to help. That's probably the rarest reaction of them all, as sad as that seems.
  14. jajo

    jajo New Member

    It sometimes REALLY frustrates me because I too have no major personal traumas to blame my self-harm on. Plus I am a well educated and intelligent type. I have come to the conclusion that it is a control thing with me - if I feel that I am not able to be in control of a personal situation, it often triggers the cutting....I am in control at that point because I have the power to do what I want to my body. If you get my drift :)
    I don't do it for attention; I cut in only a few places where I can hide the cuts. I am very lucky in that I have a partner now who knows the situation and has actually been supportive and able to divert me from moments of cutting, by having no problem talking about it. I also have one good friend keeps an eye on me and has an eagle eye for spotting injury :)

    Facing up to the fact I do what I do is sort of helping me not do it as much at the moment. I had a bit of a minor session the other day, but that was the first for about 6 weeks.

    Part of any problem or issue is admitting it, I reckon. And at least forums like this make me feel like I am not a freak!!!!
  15. PJLane

    PJLane Well-Known Member

    i dont really self harm anymore but i did when i was younger and have alot of cuts on both arms upper and lower. i have gotten mostly bad reactions, when people ask i make up a stupid lie. im quite certain i didnt get a job once because they were visible.

    my parents especially had a bad reaction. there has only been one time in my life, when someone asked about it, and it felt like they truly cared about me, were concerned about me and were asking out of compassion and not morbid curiousity. and this person was someone i saw like once a week in class - my daily 'friends' were much less concerned.

    im not too consious of it now, i honestly sometimes forget and then realise that im sitting next to someone and im in a singlet and they are staring.
  16. JadedOutlook

    JadedOutlook New Member

    Sorry for the delayed response to everyone who replied. I did read all of them when they were initially posted but was a bit overwhelmed at the time. I can definitely identify with elements that every poster spoke about, especially the control issue. I think, analysing my own behaviour, I do it because I'm so full of anger that if I don't turn the violence inwards then I'm afraid I will lash out at someone as I have had quite physical confrontations with ex boyfriends in the past.

    Thank you for your insightful, honest and encouraging messages x
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