Why Do People Cut Themselves?

Why do people cut themselves? You may have seen some people who suspiciously have cuts in their wrists or arms. Cutting is actually a kind of self-injury. Self-injury is when people deliberately hurt themselves, often as a detrimental way to cope with anger, stress or other negative emotions.

If you are someone who has a positive outlook in life and such respect for your body, you would really ask Why do people cut themselves?” Although cutting is the most common form of self-injurious behavior, self-injury can consist of burning, biting and punching oneself. Others bang their head or pull out their hair. Those who hurt themselves in these ways are usually females between 13 and 15 years old; however, cutting can go on for years if overlooked. There are boys who exhibit self-injurious activities as well. Understanding people who cut themselves can be somewhat challenging.

Why do people cut themselves? Are they coping with their negative feelings or trying to grab attention? There are people who feel great when someone cares and worries that they cut themselves. These people are usually the ones who go off and tell everyone what they are doing so people will feel bad for them. Some teens refer to cutting as emo cutting, which pertains to the emo subculture, whose members are known to be cutters. They often wear an all-black ensemble and even dye their hair jet black. They are viewed to be showcasing their emotional side, typically described as shy, quiet, sensitive, sad, glum, self-pitying, introverted, mysterious, and angst-ridden.

When experts are asked the question “Why do people cut themselves?” they will be able to give you more than a few explanations. For one, cutting is said to be a coping mechanism, considered an unhealthy one, which helps others handle intense feelings of pressure. Another explanation has something to do with the brain releasing endorphins when a body part is cut. These types of proteins provide pain relief as well as a sense of well-being, therefore relieving psychological pain. Cutting can become an obsessive behavior because of the release of endorphins. Every time emotions are high, the brain longs for the relief that the endorphins can provide.

Individuals who cut themselves tend to be those who don’t have the skills to express their strong feelings in healthier ways. There is a need for them to learn self-comforting methods that are not harmful. Others who cut themselves may also suffer from other mental health conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders, among others. You have to remember, however, that this is not always the case.

Posted at June 24th, 2011.

13 Responses to “Why Do People Cut Themselves?”

  1. Penny says:

    For me, it’s about punishment- pure and simple. I ate too much. I said something lame in public, or couldn’t bring myself to talk enough. I was really lazy, etc. Stress makes the negative self-talk and impulses stronger. I accept that I have to cut or hit, but I feel awfully lonely and misunderstood at times. I had a fairly nice childhood, and was only verbally bullied at school, so I don’t really know why I do it. But people who self-harm need support and understanding from loved ones. And therapists need to have a better understanding of the problem. Their clients seem to be the ones providing the insight and wanting help that the therapists aren’t equipped to give!

  2. Amanda says:

    I started cutting when I was 11. It actually started out by accident. I was so angry and so hurt inside i punched my window and it cut my hand. It was the greatest feeling in the world. It took away the pain of being raped by my brothers best friend since i was 6. I finally had control over something and i couldnt get enough of it. I would buy pencil sharpeners and take them apart. I couldnt stop cutting. My mom found out shortly after i started after walking in on me doing it. She tried getting me help but i was good at lying to them. I told them each cut represented a hurt in my life taking the pain i couldnt see on the inside and making it real making it something i could see heal. Problem was they never healed. They left scars. And i couldnt stop. I had a mental break down in 12th grade walked in front of my video production class and started to cut myself. I still dont remember doing it. I never had an eating disorder but i did have a drug problem. I used cocaine for a long time and when i did that i didnt have to cut. It took me until i was 20 to stop cutting altogether (i got clean at 18 and started cutting again) i have over 1500 scars on just my one arm. Im now a wife and mother of 2 beautiful children who ask me what happened to me. I just tell them they are all better now so it doesnt matter how it happened. (They are 3 and 4) i believe its an addiction something i had control over at first i lost control of in the end. I cut because it gave me control and because it made me feel better than i cut because i couldnt stop.

  3. Faith says:

    I am 12 and i started cutting yesterday. I do it because i dont feel beautiful and i feel like no one can love me because of im not pretty anofe. I gess if i could have a boyfriend that would kiss me and help me stop i would stop. I am cutting my wrist and after 2 more cuts i am REALLY going to try to stop before i become addiced.

  4. J. Ryan says:

    Faith, I’ve cut myself for 10+ years, if you truly think your not beautiful, with the scars on my body both visible and otherwise you’ll only draw the wrong attention. As a cutter I’ll tell you right now I have no shame in fresh or old wounds seen in public, I know nothing but the stares and glares from others. I made a choice long ago (and it was based on my inability to properly cope with stresses in life.) no matter what I do when it comes down to it I cut. I take the pain others put on me and hurt myself further in a sick hope I could put the pain behind me. 10+ years Faith and not a single scar has ever healed.

  5. J. Ryan says:

    With that said i’m currently in the process of solving why I’m so afflicted in such an unhealthy way….

    P.S. Sleeping, Overeating, Reckless Behaviour… Never helped. Not one bit.

  6. stephanne says:

    honestly, i have cut myself for 5 yrs because i was molested and other problems, but the truth is, cutting doesnt help, it just gives a little relief for five minutes, nd the scars are with you for the rest of your life, i would know since i can still see my first scar, so i do have a problem, but its too late for me to get help, since i consider myself useless and ugly. BYE.

  7. Jay says:

    My girlfriend cuts herself and I asked her to stop she said she would but she still wants to. I would like to help her to stop but she does not like to talk about it. I ask her why and she says she does not know. Any ways I can help her stop? I care alot about her and she knows that. I don’t understand why she does it.

  8. destiny says:

    I started cutting myself 3 years ago. Well..iguess it isn’t exactly cutting. I use needles, tacks, the sharp end of bobbypins, unfolded paper clips, reverse ends of pencils without the eraser…etc…I hold it to my skin and rub the tips of the object over and over. Enough to break skin and bleed a little…but not enough to leave severe scars. I have only 13 scars that have not faded. The others are still visible but not so noticeable. I do it this way because I genuinely enjoy wearing tank tolls, shorts and short sleeves. And people can barely see my scars so I am still able to do so.

  9. denise says:

    i started cutting becuz my girlfriend and i got into a fight and i was very angry with myself and her….. i wanted to feel what it felt like and it felt great the pain of it made me feel better….. my feelings of hopelessness went away and it seemed to better after that… yes she was mad at me for doing it but she couldnt stop me…… she understands becuz she herslf is a cutter

  10. arctic says:

    I started cutting 15 years ago, when I came out to myself. Mostly razors and pocket knives. I don’t really know why. I just did it one day and it made me feel different. I cut because I didn’t want to put my friends and family through my suicide. My sister’s best friend offed himself years ago and she is still upset about it. Every time I want to end my life I think of that; her tears & sorrow. I’m doing much better though. I used to cut several times a day. Now i only do it once every month or so, even less now after I beat cancer. I’m so sick of hiding my scars, but, I’m much to ashamed of myself to go out in t-shirts. It’s not something I did for attention. I didn’t know how else to deal with the torrent of negative and self destructive thoughts in my head.

  11. amanda says:

    I just found out my mother start cutting,she told me by accident she says,she asked me to not tell anybody because she feels ashamed,she is almost 65 years old,i just found out lastnight,i’m so worried,im going to go see her tonight,I asked her if she wouldn\t cut herself until i see her and see her cutsmshe made a promise,i know I am just buying time but I need to know how to stop her befor it becomes an addiction……she just started about a week ago i think she said…..i need answeres and help but at the same time she needs to trust in me not to tell any body…..

  12. amanda says:

    i had to tell my sister because i needed to tell somebody,after all this is not like a secret like steeling,or cheeting etc…

  13. Elizabeth says:

    MY DEAR ASSOCIATES. IN THE SAME I (DID) CUT FOR 5 YEARS AND AN ALCHOLIC AND BECAME A RECLUSE LITTERALLY. WHEN I WAS SO FRUSTRATED IT SEEMED A WAY OF SELF EXPRESSION OF HOW I FELT AND RELEASE OF EMOTIONAL PAIN THAT I COULD NOT EXPRESS OTHERWISE. AND YES I WAS A VICTIM AS WELL. I WOULD LET AND ENCOURAGE THE BLEEDING, THEN BIND MY WOUNDS AND WEAR LONG SLEEVES. AND ADDRESS THEM DAILY FOR NO INFECTION. ONE TIME I TOOK A SEWING NEEDLE AND SEWED MYSELF UP, WOKE THE NEXT MORNING TO FINISH WHAT I HAD STARTED IN MY STITCHES. MAY I SAY, AT THE TIME WE CUT, WE DO NOT CONSIDER THE SACRES, IT DOSEN’T MATTER THEN. I WILL CARRY THE SACRES TOO. I WEAR TEE-SHIRTS, NOT ONE PERSON ASKS ME ANYTHING, I WEAR DRESSES THAT SHOW MY SCARES. AND IF I SEE PEOPLE LOOKING AT ME, I JUST SMILE (TO THEM.) I LOVE LIFE. THIS IS SOMETHING WE ALL MUST DO. LIFE IS WORTH LIVING AND LOVING, REGARDLESS. YOUR Q. IS HOW. THAT IS YOUR QUEST, I QUIT AND DID IT THROUGH CHRIST’S HELP. I AM CLEAN. HAPPY. LIFE IS WORTH LIVING. I AM MORMON. I SMILE ALL THE TIME. I DO HAVE MY DOWN DAYS. BUT FOUND MY FREEDOM. AND THAT ALONE SPEAKS ENDLESS VOLUMES FRO ALL OF US. IT CAN BE DONE. IM AN EXAMPLE OF THAT. IT WILL STOP! YOU MUST FIND YOUR OWN REASONS AND BE WARROIRS IN YOUR OWN RITE. TO THOSE WHO LOVE AND CARE FOR SOMEONE IN THIS…I SAY…EXPOUND UNDERSTANDING. GO ON THE INTERNET, BUY A BOOK, EDUCATE YOURSELVES. BE A SUPPORT. BECAUSE IN THESE DARKEST MOMENTS A FRIEND NEAR BY LENDS WHAT WE ALL WANT AND NEED. TO THOSE WHO FEEL LESS THAN (WHAT YOU REALLY ARE)….THERE ARE ALWAYS OPPOSITION IN ALL THINGS. WE CHOOSE AND HAVE THAT FREEDOM. BUT WE CANNOT CHOOSE OUR CONSEQUENCES. FACT. I FOUND THAT IF I WENT AND DID SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE ELSE, I FELT GOOD ABOUT MYSELF. GET OUT OF YOURSELF, DO FOR SOMEONE ELSE. FORGET YOURSELF AND GET BUSY, STAY BUSY DOING SOMETHING ANYTHIING POSITIVE!!! START A JOURNAL OF RECOVERY. GO TO COLLAGE. FIND ANSWERS AND USE (SELFCONTROL.) THAT IS YOUR TOOL! YOU ALL ARE BEAUTIFUL! FIND IT! FIND YOURSELF WORTH! I PROMISE THE SUN WILL SHINE TOMARROW, AND YOU CAN LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND SMILE. I CHANGED, AND IT IS WITHIN EACH OF US TO CHANGE OUR HEARTS THAT BEAT SO STRONG FOR US EVERYDAY! LIVE FOR SOMEONE ELSE. LIVE AND LOVE FOR YOURSELF. I EXTEND LOVE AND DEVOTION, UNDERSTANDING TO YOU ALL BECAUSE I WAS THERE AND DID IT. AND NOW I AM BACK! I HOPE PEACE FOR YOU, IN YOUR HEART AND MIND. ALL MY LOVE AND HOPES FOR YOU. RESPECTFULLY, YOUR FRIEND. ELIZABETH.

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