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How can I stop feeling guilty for self-harming?

21 Answers
Last Updated: 08/13/2019 at 9:15pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Stacy Overton, PhD.


I am an enthusiastic life-long learner and also a professor of counseling. I have a passion for peoples stories and helping to guide and empower the human spirit.

Top Rated Answers
September 27th, 2014 1:49pm
Always remember self harming is a coping method, it's not a healthy one but it's still used to cope, you may feel guilty after doing it and think why did i do that, but each scar has it's own story and its not your fault
- Expert in Self-Harm
December 19th, 2014 7:05am
Self-harm is a coping method. We do it because it helps us in some way. Thinking about the ways in which self harm has helped you in the past can sometimes help you realize that you did what you had to to get through an unbearable situation Of course, there are healthier ways to deal with emotional pain, but we don't always know these other ways. Sometimes self harm is the only thing we've learned so far that can help. Recovery is a huge re-learning process where we come to find, learn, and practice new ways of dealing with emotions. The fact that you don't know, or didn't know, how to deal yet doesn't make you a bad person. And being in-process of learning and mastering new coping skills, and thus sometimes still harming, doesn't make you a bad person. You are in a lot of pain right now, and you did what you thought would help you get through it. If you want help learning about alternatives, I'd love to provide you with resources. :)
April 26th, 2015 6:49pm
Unfortunately, self harm naturally causes us to feel a lot of guilt, guilt for what we've done to ourselves and guilt for how we're hurting others with our actions. There isn't an easy way to ease the guilt that you feel, other than remembering why you're doing it. You do it because you're hurting so badly inside and it's not because you want to hurt others. You already feel bad enough to be doing it in the first place, just try and take the pressure off yourself a little bit. You can get through this.
November 3rd, 2014 5:03am
I know it's easy to feel guilty. There are so many other people with worse problems, yet you're the one self-harming. You need to recognize that you *do* have a problem. You might not be starving to death in Africa, but you ARE self-harming wherever you live. You should never feel guilty for having an issue that you need help with. It's hard to stop blaming yourself, but it's a conclusion you really need to reach on your own. It's NEVER your fault.
November 16th, 2014 5:53pm
You are fighting a battle that no one outside of you can understand. Yes, no one wants to see you hurt yourself, but you are doing what you feel you need to do to survive, and you should never feel guilty about that. Those who love you want to help you. They aren't trying to judge you or hold your self-harm against you. There is no shame in being in so much insurmountable pain that you self-harm. There is also no shame in letting someone help you navigate that pain, for your own wellbeing.
October 19th, 2014 4:33pm
Think positive, realize you're not the only one, understand that everyone makes mistake and you were doing it out of your sadnesss/anger/ or just feeling lost. Not knowing the key to happiness may lead to self harm.
December 29th, 2015 7:11am
You shouldn't feel guilty self harm is a mental thing which means you can't really control it. So don't feel guilty
December 30th, 2014 11:36pm
Realize that self-harm is just a certain way of coping with a problem or situation that is to overwhelming for you to handle alone.
December 24th, 2014 6:32pm
Everybody has valid emotions, and everybody has ways of coping with those emotions. Self harm is not the healthiest way to cope, but it was the only way you saw fit in the past. There are always ways to learn how to healthily cope with your emotions!
May 29th, 2015 2:53am
Learn to accept your scars be do not be ashamed of that dark moment, instead agree that it did happen and just do not lear anyone make you feel ashamed for having them.
December 10th, 2017 7:03pm
You are doing what you need to do to cope. Its ok. You're ok, you are just a human being struggling to keep going. Can I suggest that you try to keep as safe as possible, and do your best to look after yourself in the aftermath of self-injury, both emotionally (by showing to yourself the compassion you would surely show to others in the same circumstances) and physically, by cleaning any wounds, and doing whatever helps you to self soothe. None of us humans are "perfect" , just doing our best to survive in an imperfect world . Best wishes. M.
April 2nd, 2018 5:42am
Whenever there is an urge to self-harm, think of anything that will keep your mind off of it. Doing self-harm does not give a guarantee that our problems will go away. We are all beautiful and worth it. Ourselves are worth fighting for no matter how hard the problems we encountered. To anyone reading this, you are worth it :)
October 22nd, 2014 2:53am
well i'd start with why did i start it in the first place then i'd look at myself and say it's in the past think ahead to the future
May 21st, 2015 6:45pm
Take a deep breath. Acknowledge you are harming yourself for a reason. You are hurt. You're in pain. It's ok to feel that way, but I'm hopeful you will find more efficient ways to deal with whatever you are experiencing. Please consider contacting the S.A.F.E. Alternatives Helpline 1-800-366-2288. I wish you the best.
December 5th, 2017 5:03pm
I know how it feels like. It feels like you finally have a control over something in life but trust me, "this" gets better. It always does, I know you see tunnel vision but at the end it always gets better. It always will
October 27th, 2014 6:58pm
Think of how strong you are now from going through that and think of how much better your life can be.
November 9th, 2015 11:18pm
The first step in getting rid of this guilt is to seek help! If you are trying to overcome your problem and making efforts towards stopping then there is nothing to be guilty about.
February 22nd, 2016 5:39pm
Guilt may feel like failure. Don't see a slip-up as failing. Rather a step or two back from success.
October 24th, 2014 9:48pm
you are the only person who knows why you do it so.. you are the one who can decide whether to feel or stop feeling guilty
August 6th, 2019 10:05pm
I think the best solution would be to attempt to stop self-harming. As long as you aren't doing it, that guilt won't be there, however, I know it may be hard. Self-harming is an unhealthy coping mechanism that can be extremely hard to discontinue (It's a huge struggle for the majority of people who deal with it.) Most people self-harm for relief or because they feel as though they should "punish" themselves, however, I would like you to know that this is not necessary and as long as you keep trying, you will find so many other (and better) healthy coping mechanisms to help you with your issues. It may also be a good idea to get a therapist or see a professional for this
August 13th, 2019 9:15pm
Simple answer, by stopping self-harming. Complicated answer: You'd have to get at the root of why you self-harm, at the same time doing your best to stop it. If you can't stop, that's ok but get help, anywhere you can. There are great resources, try calling 211 and asking for help in your area. Or come here and talk to a listener, find someone you trust. Self-harm is more common than you think. Feeling guilty is your conscience saying "I shouldn't be doing this." Your consciense just wants what's best for you, for your body, for your mind. Use that guilt in a healthy way to motivate you, to make a plan to stop self-harming. Any emotion can be used in a healthy way, if we use it to get better.