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Do the thoughts of self harming ever go away, even if you've officially stopped?

30 Answers
Last Updated: 01/04/2021 at 7:54pm
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United States
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Melissa Strauss, LPC

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I am client focused and believe everyone has a strength. I feel confident in seeing clients with generalized and social anxiety, depression and relational goals.

Top Rated Answers
- Expert in Self-Harm
April 6th, 2015 3:54pm
This is very individual! It likely depends on why you harm - stress? flashbacks? depression? trapped in a specific situation? The more specific your triggers the more likely you can completely free yourself from the impulse and feeling of wanting to self harm. More general reasons means its more likely that the thoughts will resurface from time to time. Personally, I've found the thoughts continue to poke up even far into my recovery, BUT they are much less intense. Often I have a vivid thought, and no desire to actually do it. Or, I have a passing thought I can almost laugh at. When I do have a true urge to hurt myself, I also tend to have the thought "but I won't" or "but not yet" and am able to use my healthy coping methods instead. So, the thoughts of self-harm may indeed continue - but they become less frequent, less intense, and easier to manage the further you travel in recovery.
March 29th, 2015 6:16pm
I've been free of self harm for 10 months, but I think about it every day. For me, it became such a part of my daily routine that it's hard to stop thinking about. It's been almost encouraging to be able to push aside the thoughts because I know I'm stronger than tha.
June 18th, 2015 2:40am
For me personally, the thought and temptation to self harm cross my mind every once in awhile. The thoughts do subside, but there may always be a lingering thought whenever you feel depressed.
April 18th, 2015 1:23pm
Honestly they might never go away but your tolerance to the urge will strengthen and the urge wont be so strong and you will be able to stay clean.
May 15th, 2015 2:49pm
No. If you ever, for some reason, self harm, it sticks with you. I self harmed almost 4 years ago, and threw away my blades about 2 years later. I relapsed earlier this year, just because of something someone said over the phone. To this day I find myself idly scratching my wrists and flinching at noticeable scars on others. You can never take it back. That doesn't mean, however, that you can't get better. Every day that you don't self harm is another victory.
March 10th, 2015 2:46pm
I don't think they will ever go away. I see it as my way of coping with stress and emotional problems, Not the best way by any means but my way. Although I hope I never feel the need to do it again, I'll probably never stop thinking about it when Im in that frame of mind. I think when you stop thinking about it is when you're more likely to slip back into that habit.
May 8th, 2015 5:48pm
It's like having overcome any drug addiction. You always have triggers and thoughts of just relapsing. You miss the high of it and cope with it each day
February 1st, 2016 8:41am
They can go away but it takes a while. and you will need lots of help during the process. It's best to talk to a parent about it.
May 17th, 2016 6:10pm
I don't think they ever truly go away. Like any bad habit. in times of weakness, you'll feel the want or need to resort back to this unhealthy routine but also like any bad habit, with learning other ways to cope and teaching yourself healthier means day-to-day, when the urge comes again, hopefully you will have a strong enough state of mind to fight back.
February 6th, 2018 9:40am
Self harming has always got a cause behind it. It may be because one did something terrible for which he/she has been unable to forgive himself/herself. Or maybe because some other person has not forgiven him/her. Also sometimes people tend to harm themselves in order to forget another pain or a disturbing thought that has been affecting their lives for a considerable period of time. The thoughts of self harming do go away, if you sort out the cause for which you have been hurting yourself. Remember that it can not be a solution to your problems and by hurting yourself you affect the lives of some of your near and dear ones too, like your family and friends. Finally, time heals everything. Maybe you just need to let time take its own time to heal the wounds. Therefore yes, the thoughts of self harming can go away, even after you officially stop. Thank you
March 10th, 2015 11:23pm
Yes with time they will eventually disappear you just got to remember this say I can I will and nobdy can hold me back I am stronger than my past
June 17th, 2015 9:21pm
From experience, no. They tend to linger around and show up when you've hit another low. But once you've stopped, you've got better resistance to their calls.
June 23rd, 2015 8:43am
Thoughts will appear for longer than the action itself. Well done for stopping the self harm, that is a great achievement. Naturally at times you will think 'Now I would harm myself' or 'This is the point I would do it', i.e. there are trigger moments. Just keep remembering why you quit and how proud you are that you did. If you do that, the thought of self harming will affect you even less.
November 28th, 2017 3:46pm
Yes, yes, and yes. And if not completely they're less intense. For me personally, I've been clean for over a year and when it crosses my mind I'm able to rationalize it and feel the urge dissapate. It's not an overnight fix but it really does slowly become less intense and tempting even if it doesn't disappear. It does get easier.
May 31st, 2015 8:50pm
While it may be different for everyone, I've been clean for about a year now, and I personally still have thoughts about it. But thoughts are different from urges. Once you learn a better way to cope, it's a lot easier to ignore the thoughts of self-harming. Just definitely don't go back to it, it'll make it much harder to stop again.
August 11th, 2015 4:43pm
The thoughts will get less intense. I promise you that, I haven't been engaged in self harm in quite a while despite being quite involved with it for a long time. Even now I still have thoughts, but they are passing. They don't get me down and beat me up all day and night. They might not go away, but they become managable :)
September 21st, 2015 3:48am
they eventually do, but it gets easier for them to go away when you keep your mind busy and avoid an empty mind... the empty mind is the devil's office.
September 22nd, 2015 6:08pm
Self harming is an addiction. I believe they will slowly disappear. It will be a long battle just like any addiction, but just stay strong and believe in yourself. You'll make it.
December 15th, 2015 6:58pm
Eventually, and sometimes. It's different for everyone. But don't get sad if the thoughts don't fade even after whomever has stopped. Whoever has officially stopped, and that's what matters.
February 2nd, 2016 11:23pm
As sais before, it very much depends on the individual. Personally, no. Even after a long, long time having not done it, I still think about it A LOT and it's a struggle not to.
March 7th, 2016 11:58pm
It depends on the cases I guess.. But in my case they never stopped and probably never will.. I guess its like that in most cases..:) :/
May 24th, 2016 9:58pm
Everyone is different, some people are able to stop thinking about it, but others won´t unfortunately.
June 21st, 2016 1:16am
As a victim of self harm for 7 years, I can say that yes, the thoughts do stop. Sometimes only temporarily, but it does get easier!
August 16th, 2016 1:59pm
Sometimes they may not, when I was younger I had a lot going going on in my family, and I started to self harm because it was so stressful and I couldn't take it.. But now I don't do it anymore, but yes sometimes I still feel the urge to.
May 30th, 2017 11:21pm
Self harm free for 2 years! In the last year I haven't the urge or thought to hurt myself- even my coping techniques have gone without thought- I can honestly say I haven't been happier. It's different for everyone though; some people just need to get through a time period (eg 6 months) with no self harm and can never do it again, some relapse after thinking they've stopped. If the thoughts do come back remember why you stopped and know that self harm doesn't fix the problem; go back to your coping techniques if you really feel you need to (pain free coping methods are probably the best). We all deserve the best and the right not to want to hurt ourselves, I truly hope anyone dealing with self harm get through it and can be happy again- and remember the 7cups community is always here.
November 27th, 2017 10:30pm
I believe after awhile they can fully go away. With the right coping skills and knowledge you can achieve this!
February 22nd, 2018 2:59am
I think they can but it may take some time, self harm is an addiction so it may take years to get those thoughts to go away but you can always find ways to cope with them
April 10th, 2018 6:06am
Yes, eventually they do go away when you get better. It definently takes time, but they go away for sure.
March 24th, 2020 9:55pm
This is a difficult question as everyones experience with mental health is different. Everyone is unique and so are their life experiences so the outcomes are never going to be identical. What might work for one person won't necessarily work for another. Try speaking to one of the 7 cups therapists who can help guide you in managing your thoughts and how to process your feelings. There are many helplines and support groups that can give you some really useful tools and information. You could always try your GP or health care centres to see if there is any local support or advice they could give you.
January 4th, 2021 7:54pm
Hi there! And yes, they do go away eventually. First months though are always challenging - the important thing is to get rid of the objects which were used to self-harm. Then, to seek an activity that frees the mind of these thoughts every time they arise. It can be anything that makes you occupied or relaxed, it depends on a person. For me talking to a friend about something whenever I've felt the need helped a great deal. In time, when you see the scars that self-harm left, you will think of a struggle, but in a good way, as something that's now proof of your courage and determination. You will remember bad days and feel proud that you learned to cope with them better. Remember that thoughts of self-harm will fade away. We're here to support you along the way. Take care!