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Does cutting for only a few months and stopping make me any less of a self-harmer?

209 Answers
Last Updated: 05/11/2022 at 4:37pm
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Tara Davis, Doctorate in Counselling Psychology


I have worked successfully with a wide range of difficulties. Nothing is more important than developing a warm, compassionate relationship with someone you can trust

Top Rated Answers
July 31st, 2020 7:11pm
Self harm is simply harming oneself physically.. It comes in so many forms (cutting, burning, chopping, punching, pinching etc.) and is often different to the person harming themself. This makes the experience unique, therefore it's wrong to try and catergorise someone on the amount of harm they commit or the length of time they do it for I think regardless of if you harm yourself short term or long term you are still a harmer. With this cutting your body is physical self harm, a person is just as valid harming themself for a few months as someone harming themself for 3 years is. You aren't any less I believe.
August 5th, 2020 3:13pm
To me, self-harm is self-harm. Evaluating it as "less" or "more" seems irrelevant to me. I cut myself for a few months and eventually stopped but it was an act of hatred toward myself. It's not something I would do to anyone else or recommend anyone else do. I have permanent scars that will be with me for the rest of my life. They are a part of my past that I'm not in denial about. They are simultaneously a reminder of the lowest point of my life while also being a positive reminder of how far I've come since then. I now regularly attend support groups, do one-on-one therapy, and maintain lists of gratitudes and coping skills that keep me feeling my best. There is hope as long as you're willing to seek help from those that can provide it.
August 29th, 2020 6:26am
It does not make you any less of a self harmer. The fact that you did it in the first place has already "earned you a spot" in the self harm society. Weather you did it once or you did it 150 times, you did it and it's okay. I'm just glad you are alive and you are here reading this. I hope everything gets better soon and know that you are not alone. This world can be hard and a scary place, but let's not give up hope just yet! You are loved and you are not done in this world.
September 10th, 2020 10:29pm
All cutting is self-harming. But the problem with this way of thinking is that a label such as "self-harmer" holds meaning or value. Cutting for a few months does not define you the same as not cutting ever does not define another person. Self harm is a serious thing no matter the length of time it was utilized. Someone who drowns in 2 feet of water is just as dead as someone who drowns in 20. Qualifying for a membership in the a community with self-destructive habits is never a goal. The intensity, the length of time, the location of harm all has no effect on who you are as a person. Never use that label to define yourself.
September 11th, 2020 12:46pm
As someone with an experience with self-harm, I want to write my opinion here. I used to cut a few years back. It was on and off for a year. I tried to stop many times.. on my birthday, the new year and all that. It did not make me feel like I was recovering. It just felt like I was in a tank that was filling up with water every time that I stopped. When the tank gets full, I would relapse and cut again. I had to get some serious help before I stopped feeling like a self-harmer. Even after the last time I cut, I could not help but be scared of the tank filling up. I just had to work on myself and get myself out of the tank to stop feeling like that. I hope this helps.
September 19th, 2020 9:55am
No , any form of self harm means you are obviously in a lot of pain . Your validity isn’t any less of those who have been self harming for longer periods of time , however you should be extremely proud of yourself for stopping self harm and realising the damage you are doing to yourself . It takes a lot of courage to stop and a great deal of bravery to even speak up about the matter . I am so proud of how far you have come and remember that how your feeling is normal and valid .
September 24th, 2020 9:49pm
Labels can be difficult and troublesome. I would resist the need to label yourself. I would focus on the fact that you have stopped! That's a great thing, if you need a label I would focus on the term Survivor. Attaching ourselves to labels can be a good thing if it's something that helps us cope, or is needed to explain something in an effective manner. But identifying with them for too long or too often can make us more prone to accept them as our singular reality. Positive labels on the other hand can have the same effect. So acknowledging that you did self-harm, and survived and have stopped at this moment is making a conscious choice to define yourself and the future positively. Your thoughts are essentially programming your brain.
November 11th, 2020 7:28pm
When it comes to matters of emotional well-being, comparing ourselves to others is one of the most harmful things we can do. Not only is it harmful to our healing process, self-esteem, and self-concept, but engaging in comparisons is conducive to poor boundary setting. That is, it encourages us to see ourselves only as we relate to others, and we fail to be able to recognize what is truly our issue from what is someone else's issue. Furthermore, engaging in comparisons is futile because everyone experiences situations and emotions differently, so there is no standard by which we can accurately compare ourselves with others in terms of mental health (without enlisting the help of a mental health professional, like a therapist, psychiatrist, or other diagnostician). That being said, self-harm in any capacity is self-harm.
November 14th, 2020 3:44am
I would encourage you to not feel as if your past struggles define who you are now! You are a human being: you are a miraculous creation! You have talents, gifts, and personality traits that make you unique and one-of-a-kind. I applaud you for your endurance: it isn't easy! But don't consider yourself a "self-harmer" are a human being who has so many strengths and are not defined by past decisions. You may have been a person who struggled with self-harm, but this does not make you a self-harmer. I know how hard it is to begin believing that you are defined by past addictions or decisions, but know that you are so much more!
November 20th, 2020 7:02pm
The term 'self-harmer' is very wide. There is no strict category or criteria for this label. However, as cutting is considered self-harm, if you cut, you could say you're a self-harmer. Nevertheless, if the behavior has stopped, you are not a self-harmer. Extinct, or dormant, behaviors do not validate a term unless, ofcourse, they are triggered again. Try not to label yourself. Labels tend to do unnecessary damage and it becomes difficult to shrug them off afterward. There is so much more to you than self-harm and I hope this answer helps you understand this better. Goodluck. I hope this helps :)
November 29th, 2020 12:20pm
In my personal experience, cutting for however long and having the strength to stop shows that you’re getting better for yourself. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been cutting for or how long it took you to stop. You put yourself in a position to get better, and you should be so proud to say that you had the strength to overcome what most see as impossible. This does not make you any less of a self harmer. This just means that you found the courage to drop your weapon and give life another try. I hope you continue to do that for yourself.
December 1st, 2020 11:12am
Having self harmed for any period of time is incredibly difficult to deal with, both during and after that time. It doesn't matter if you only actively self harmed for a few months. Every struggle has its impact on a person, and this will still impact you even after you've recovered. There's no minimum to struggling. It's also important to remember that recovery is always a good thing, even if it's baby steps. I'm proud of you for stopping. I hope you continue to stay strong and resist the urge to self harm from here forward. We're here for you.
December 3rd, 2020 1:52am
No, It does not make you less of a self harmer, I used to try and make myself believe the same thing, you are very brave for stopping but I also want to clarify that it is also perfectly okay if you relapse because that is sometimes part of the recovery process. You are strong and you can fight this you were still intentionally hurting yourself, it does not matter how long you were doing it. since cutting isn't the only self-harm method and the urge can come back. I only cut for a few weeks and then stopped, but I still got urges over two years later and I still struggle with other self-harm methods. I think it's less about the method or amount of time and the fact that you have that habit/attitude.
December 16th, 2020 1:42pm
I do not think it is important whether or not you are "more" or "less" of a self-harmer. Who you are is not defined by your self-harm. Your self-harm is a coping strategy not a piece of your identity. I would encourage you not to assimilate self-harming into your concept of who you are as a person. You have so many more wonderful qualities and interesting flaws that make you who you are. I would also say that stopping self-harming is a wonderful step and congratulate you on your achievement. You should be, and I hope you are, proud of yourself.
January 6th, 2021 6:59am
i would have to say no. cutting on purpose even if its only once a year is still self harming. Even if you dont think of its as self harm it is and should be treated by a doctor.
January 16th, 2021 9:33pm
No, it does not. Even if you have only cut yourself once or twice, it means that you were in the mindset to hurt yourself in the first place. Although you may not be self-harming at the moment, you have in the past, and people who have self-harmed may do it again as they are more acquainted with the process. Just as cancer may strike once, be dealt with, and then come back. Or, as an addiction to smoking or alcohol may come back, there is always the chance that a habit such as this one will return. It is best to use a self-help guide, maybe even the one provided here at 7 Cups, to best deal with the habit. This is the guide that 7 Cups provides for self-harm. I haven't read it myself.
February 11th, 2021 7:16am
I am reading this as in you only cut for a few months and then hit the road to recovery. Self-harm is self-harm no matter how long someone has done said thing, before. You can do it for a month or few days etc and you are still a self-harmer. It's never a competition as to whos more valid than another or who has self-harmed more than another person. Therefore, you are NOT "any less of a self-harmer" because you only cut for few months. I don't like how people have turned serious things such as self-harm, into competitions. You are valid.
February 13th, 2021 8:38am
of course not. what you went through is extremely valid. You can identify however you want. self harm is on a spectrum. infact, it does not always include cutting. Self harm can be physical or emotional and there are many subcategories within. Those categories have spectrums and everyone on that spectrum is valid. But again, it is put to you if you want to take on the title. Taking on the title can sometimes be really validating, but putting a title on it can also be really anxiety inducing. Do whatever works best for you. Best of luck!
March 5th, 2021 7:06pm
No. It is perfectly normal to compare our self harm habits with others, but there is not minimum threshold that determines if you should or should not get help. One thing I would ask ourself is why we think it potentially could make us less of a self harmer. Maybe we could ask the question of, “What is a self harmer?” Once we have explored those questions and have been curious about them, we should consider adapting coping skills. Kati Morton does a really great job of providing coping skills in her YouTube channel. If you look up 25 Coping skill, it should come up!
March 26th, 2021 10:49am
Nope! Self harm is the act of hurting yourself on purpose, how you do it, how often you do it doesn’t mean anything, you’re still a self harmer even if you do it once a year for example, how often it happens doesn’t mean anything, you’re still valid and your struggles still matter.
May 30th, 2021 10:50pm
No, of course not. Self-harming is a painful struggle. It can really take what you love from you and leave you with nothing. But everybody experiences it differently and your experiences are not comparable to anybody else's. Even if your struggles with self-harm only last for a few months, it does not mean that those struggles were not valid. Even one tiny cut means you had to be sad enough to hurt yourself. You suffered, and there's no sugarcoating that. Don't let others diminish your past or how you feel, but instead be proud of how far you have come.
June 11th, 2021 6:04pm
Everyone's experience is something that is personal and important. I don't think that anyone should be 'any less of a self-harmer' just because they stopped. The phrasing 'any less of a self-harmer' seems to suggest that self harm is an accomplishment and would unhelpfully motivate someone to self harm more. Instead of being any less- it is strong of you to be able to stop even after a few months. After all, we shouldn't look at one's pain and ignore it just because it seems small in comparison to someone elses'. Hard experiences are something that should not be compared as they are extremely personal. So no, cutting for only a few months and stopping certainly does not make you any less of a self-harmer. Instead, good job on stopping and I'm proud of your growth.
July 14th, 2021 11:31pm
Hi! I'm liainsalia, I couldn't help but notice the error you made in your question! It's never "only". No matter how long it was, even if it was once, it doesn't take away from the fact that you did it and the pain that led you to do so. It does not make you any less of a self-harmer and it doesn't mean that you aren't "going through as much" as someone who's done it longer than you. We aren't here to compare nor measure pain because it never was a contest to begin with. I, for starters, acknowledge that you're hurting regardless of the physical "proof" you may or may not have to show for it. You're hurting, regardless of doing it for a month or a year and I want you to know that there is someone out there who understands that. I'm here to chat if you ever want to.
August 18th, 2021 2:16am
The short answer is yes and no. Cutting happens in response to painful emotions, as a way to temper them, or keep them at bay altogether. If cutting is akin to being an addiction, then the only way to be cutter-free is do the same thing that an alcoholic or substance abuser must do: not do it at all, not even one time because, like the other two addictions, one "drink" may have you right back you were when you stopped. However, because cutting is a compulsion rather than a physiological addiction, the knowledge and past success at stopping can help someone successfully address the relapse.
September 23rd, 2021 10:56am
First off, good work stopping! I know that can be difficult. That's a good question. I think that depends on how you want to define "self-harmer" for yourself. I know that's kind of a non-answer, but the truth is there's no "standard" for becoming a self-harmer. The words "self-harmer" can seem negative, and in a way they are, but I'd also like to say that many people go through that struggle and that there's no shame in your problems. All in all, it's up to you how to define it, but remember that "self-harmer" can't define you as a person.
October 28th, 2021 5:30pm
In my lived experience, self harm has taken many forms--cutting, starving, drinking, self-isolation, and more. For me, self harming is a wordless response to coping with trauma. The truth that I have accepted is that the urge to find some way to self harm as a coping mechanism will always be inside me somewhere. I am grateful that I am able to manage these urges by (1) using coping mechanisms learned in therapeutic intervention, and (2) with medication. Becoming aware of the underlying dynamics of why I was self harming has been very meaningful in my ongoing recovery. I have become more skilled in managing my metacognitive functions--mainly monitoring how I'm thinking about stressors and triggers. As they say, knowledge is power, and it has saved my life.
March 18th, 2022 3:48am
Cutting is a form of self-harm that unfortunately helps often young people to cope with overwhelming emotions temporarily. However, it is self-destructive in nature; it is not only dangerous, but it is not helpful in the long term. Whenever you feel like cutting yourself, you should reach out to someone. I don't believe that it is a bad habit that should just be reduced gradually. Unlike cutting down on smoking or alcohol to overcome addictions. Cutting should not be done at all as it can cause immense feelings of shame after you do it and this can make everything a lot worse. Mutilating your body should not be used as a means for reducing your stress. You should seek out healthier options and this can be done by speaking to someone you can trust. This could be a doctor, a therapist, or a good friend.
April 1st, 2022 12:19am
I think that you *were* (key word) a self harmer. You have fought a hard battle and I don't think it's fair for you to label yourself as a self-harmer. You have worked hard to get yourself to where you are now and I'm proud of you. I hope that you can continue working to control your urges and find people that lift you up in life, because that is so so important. The people that make you smile, take your pain and make you want to live, hold onto them because they are special. You were a self-harmer. Now you are on the way to recovery. *hugs*
May 11th, 2022 4:37pm
I am a self harmer myself I'd say it will get better in time with the right distractions and treatment I recommend telling a close friend how you feel this really helped me I am now a while month clean because i had good support from friends and college