People cope with distress in their lives in many different ways, some of which, can be harmful to themselves. Many drink too much, others use drugs, others become ill through worry, overwork or by ignoring their own needs and feelings. Others do socially acceptable things which, are nevertheless, risky and harmful i.e. smoking, excessive drinking or gambling. For some starving or overeating is a way in which they cope with pain and conflict.
Self injury (acts which involve inflicting injury on own body) appears a more immediate and dramatically destructive form of self harm than others, though not necessarily more dangerous. This often begins in childhood or adolescence, it may be for a short term but many continue to hurt themselves well into adult life.
The reasons for self injury are complex and are almost always in response to painful events or circumstances in a persons life. This can often be as a result of physical or sexual abuse, rejection, bullying, family break up, being taken into care or the death of a loved one. There is often no single cause to be identified but there can be several factors which makes a person vulnerable and develop a coping strategy by expressing their feelings through self injury.
Self destructive as it may seem, this is a way of helping oneself to survive, usually in the face of great pain.
It can be cruel and dangerous to expect a person to simply stop injuring themselves when it is an important means of survival. Other strategies for coping with the anguish must be in place before they an cope with life without self injury.
If you are in this position and want to learn to cope with life without self injury - WPH is here to help. Telephone for referral information.