Self-Abuse

I performed self-abuse as a young man many years ago.

My self-abuse would involve a belt and repeated hitting on my body, usually on the back, chest, neck and face.  At the time I felt I needed to punish myself for what I was and what I was not.  The emotional pain I was going through during my major depression era of my life was overwhelming at times.  I hated myself and somehow felt the self-abuse would make me feel better.  It was as if another person inside of me needed to reprimand the damaged person, the person that could not control his behavior, his moods, his thoughts, his feelings and his actions.

When I decided to write this post, I researched on the internet additional information about self-abuse.  Our minds are complexed and there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to diagnosing the reasons for self-abuse.

Currently in my life I do not perform self-abuse do the same degree as I did in my younger years.  I will be honest; I still have issues today and at times lack control of my behavior.  Sometimes when this occurs, I will respond with fisted hands pounding my head and face.  This response is that person inside reprimanding the damage person.

I found the following information on Wikipedia.org:

The most common form of self-harm is skin-cutting but self-harm also covers a wide range of behaviors including, but not limited to, burning, scratching, banging or hitting body parts, interfering with wound healing (dermatillomania), hair-pulling (trichotillomania) and the ingestion of toxic substances or objects. 

Although suicide is not the intention of self-harm, the relationship between self-harm and suicide is complex, as self-harming behaviour may be potentially life-threatening.  There is also an increased risk of suicide in individuals who self-harm to the extent that self-harm is found in 40–60% of suicides.  However, generalising self-harmers to be suicidal is, in the majority of cases, inaccurate.

The desire to self-harm is listed in the DSM-IV-TR as a symptom of borderline personality disorder. However, patients with other diagnoses may also self-harm, including those with depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and several personality disorders.

The motivations for self-harm vary and it may be used to fulfill a number of different functions.  These functions include self-harm being used as a coping mechanism which provides temporary relief of intense feelings such as anxiety, depression, stress, emotional numbness or a sense of failure or self-loathing and other mental traits including low self-esteem or perfectionism. Self-harm is often associated with a history of trauma and abuse, including emotional and sexual abuse.

For those that have not felt the need to self-abuse, it can be difficult to understand.

For those that have experienced this in the past, you may understand the need.

For those that may be currently experiencing this, there is help and understanding.

12 thoughts on “Self-Abuse

  1. We continue to discover things in common, you and I. I have done some of these for years, still do them. I never thought of it as “abuse” though – self or otherwise. Thanks for letting me see a different perspective to an unhealthy habit. And yes, I am in therapy. I’ll be sure to bring this up the next time I go just to get it out there. Thanks again!

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    • I agree with you; years ago, I never considered it as ‘abuse’ either and in my mind still do not. For me it was a way to punish myself for bad behavior. But I guess anytime we hurt ourselves on purpose, it is a form of abuse? Thanks for being honest and I am glad I can help in some way.

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  2. Wow, that is completely me as well. I have struggled with self-harm for many, many years now. My go-to (that’s not quite the right phrase..) is always cutting or burning, but in places that I can easily cover up. Unfortunately I’ll go a long time and think it’s in my past, but then something happens and again I’m needing to punish myself. It’s such a tough thing to come away from! Thank you for posting this; it was so brave of you to share. I’ve never heard someone say it the way you have, as needing to punish the damaged side of you. That is exactly how I always feel! I also know I have depression and anxiety, but I’ve always kind of wondered if I have borderline personality..hm. Perhaps I should find the right doctor! I hope you’re doing well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have not been in therapy for many, many years, but I think I also am borderline personality. This is a sensitive subject and I am glad you are able to receive something from my post. One reason for my blog is to share things about me that in turn I hope others can learn from or relate to – so they know they are not alone. Thanks again for your comments, I always appreciate them. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutely, and thank you for yours as well. 🙂 I definitely can relate, and am so glad you’re able to post things like this because that was a big reason of mine (aside from writing) to get into blogging: so I could connect with other people who ‘got’ me. It’s too bad that they don’t know more or have more options for people with borderline personality; I was reading about it after reading your post yesterday, and I feel like I definitely fit the description, but there doesn’t seem like they have a lot of answers quite yet. Hopefully we’ll all be able to be ‘fixed’ soon! (Not that we’re broken though, of course)

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