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There is a tendency to panic when you see someone you care about bleeding from self-inflicted wounds, or covered with scars.Such panic interferes with thinking, and makes it harder for people to understand the motives behind self-injury.
She coped with this compulsion by cutting herself, which refocused her attention, however temporarily, away from her suicidal ideation.People mostly understand (I think) when someone becomes psychotic, gets stuck in a deep depression or has mood swings.These are exaggerations of normal states of mind—everyone has felt blue at sometime or another—everyone has felt euphoric or energized at least once.For example, they may have been traumatized by a rape experience such that they have PTSD symptoms and constantly be replaying that rape in their minds.By cutting themselves, they are able to refocus their attention on the pain of the cut and for a short while, experience relief from the rape trauma.The following list of 6 motivations seems to cover most of the common scenarios that people who self-injure describe.
Let's unpack these 6 reasons why people self-injure.
Dissociated people who feel largely emotionally numb are often in great pain of a sort.
Some of them will self-injure so as to generate a strong sensation that is capable of bringing them back to feeling something again. Not all numb dissociated people will use physical pain to "return"; some will use other strong sensations such as are afforded by drugs or sex, etc. Sometimes, people who self-harm are not skilled at using language to describe their inner experiences.
People sometimes harm themselves because by doing so, they are able to gain a subjective sense of control over chaotic internal emotions and thoughts.
Seizing this control involves shifting the focus of their attention away from something more troubling towards something less troubling.
Dissociation is a mental and emotional state where the normal unitary experience of consciousness gets chopped up into disconnected parts.