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Why do people self-harm?

"Why did you do it?"

The question is often asked by concerned family members and friends, who are often confused and dissatisfied with the answer. While it's frustrating to be misunderstood or even dismissed for our feelings, we have to cut them some slack. After all, society has led them to believe that people who self-harm are selfish, or crazy, or attention-seeking (though you and I know better ;) ). The reality is that people self-harm for a variety of reasons:

  • sadness

  • anxiety

  • emotional numbness

  • to have control over their bodies

  • to distract themselves

  • to purify

  • to reenact and process trauma

  • to express feelings

  • it's a "rush."

And more!

It provides people with another way to deal with strong emotions or even experience any feeling at all!

Regardless of why, something fundamental needs to be understood: Non-Suicidal Self-Injury is a maladaptive coping mechanism. It's something people do to make themselves feel better, and it works for a little while!

Really, what we need to do, is find a healthy way to cope with the emotions, lack there of, or the trauma, while addressing the underlying issue. Yes, we self-harm to feel better, but why do we feel so badly in the first place?

Thanks for reading, and I hope it helped you feel understood or understand someone better. If it did, please share this article and comment below!


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