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Self-injury: when I hurt and destroy myself

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Self-injury: when I hurt and destroy myself
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п»їIt is a practice in which the person hurts himself, so that he transforms his emotional pain into a physical pain that is easier to cope with. Self-injury is a way that some people use to make sense of their suffering and to localize this suffering in the physical world.
The consequences of self-inflicted harm are not reduced to physical sequelae, there are also emotional consequences, less visible, but usually deeper and more permanent over time. These consequences make the person relapse into self-injurious behaviors, usually starting with superficial cuts or wounds and increasing in intensity, frequency and depth.
As its name suggests, self-injury is a behavior that involves causing harm to oneself through different mechanisms. Among the most common self-injuries are cuts, burns, blows, scratches, tearing hair or even consuming drugs or substances harmful to health.
Although they can appear at any time of life, they are more likely to occur during adolescence, that stage so strongly linked to emotions and hormonal changes. A self-injury is a symptom of a problem, they are never a disorder in itself.
The data are alarming since, for example, they indicate that a good part of the consultations in hospitals are due to self-injury and that those who have practiced it once are more likely to reoffend.
Factors that trigger self-injuryBy simply meeting one (or more) of these conditions is not enough to self-injure, however, the following increase the risk of inflicting pain or injury: being a female between 15 and 25 years old, growing up in a family with drug or alcohol addiction problems, being unwantedly pregnant, being sexually or psychologically abused, going through a parental divorce, feeling anxious, lonely or depressed, and having financial problems.
In recent times there has been an increase in cases of adolescents who self-harm and post videos on social networks cutting their veins, burning their arms or tearing off their skin. Undoubtedly a dangerous "fashion" that hides a much more serious problem than the behavior itself implies.
Psychologists affirm that images or videos of young people self-injuring represent a great danger for those with a "fragile" personality, since they are still a very powerful act of propaganda. Even on the net there are guides available to start self-destructive behaviors, attending the demand of people who feel the temptation to self-injure.
To cite a few examples of relatively well-known people who have self-injured, actress Demi Lovato used to hurt her wrists due to emotional disorders; actress Drew Barrymore vented her rage on her arms because she thought they were too fat; singer Courtney Love claimed she cut her skin several times; and the late Princess Lady Di acknowledged acts of self-injury in stages of severe depression.
Unlike suicide attempts (which seek to end life and suffering), self-injury causes pain and is a distraction or an "escape route" from problems. In many cases it can also be a punishment for something bad that the person has supposedly done. Among the main motives are:
To attract attention: self-injury can be a way to get attention through the damage, in this case it is not the pain that is sought but the fact that the marks are visible to really arouse empathy.
Threatening: self-injury can also appear in the form of a threat. The person who self-injures or threatens to do so wants his behavior to serve to bend the will of others, in a form of emotional blackmail really pernicious.
Punishing oneself: self-injury is usually present if there is low self-esteem, guilt, feeling responsible for a specific situation, hating or rejecting oneself, etc.
Escaping emotional problems: pain becomes a way to divert attention from a much stronger, invasive and persistent internal pain. Physical pain serves to interrupt a cycle of negative thoughts, so that our brain has to focus on the physical damage.
Believing that one is in control: many of the injuries we cause ourselves are beyond our control and transfer a great sense of vulnerability. Thus, self-injury can function as a way to control this damage or part of it.
Feeling empty: lack of attention from the family, parental abandonment, divorce, disappointment in love or lack of affection in childhood can give rise to a feeling of emptiness that produces the need to feel something definite, even if it is pain.
As we have said before, self-injuries are not a mental illness, in any case they are a symptom that there is something going on behind. Thus, if we attack the symptom in isolation we can reinforce its appearance and, even if we manage to make it disappear, the cause that has produced the symptom will always remain latent.
In this way, the best thing to do before practicing any intervention is to get the person to go to a specialist who places the self-destructive behavior in its mental context, thus facilitating the intervention and the direct attack on the cause.
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