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I harm myself on purpose. I never do it because I need to cope, I do it because I like the pain and like to have something on my body. I know I should stop, but I don't want to. Why is that?

151 Answers
Last Updated: 03/13/2021 at 6:09am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United Kingdom
Moderated by

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
September 28th, 2016 4:44pm
The pain is an ability for yourself to forget everything else that is happening around you even if it is for just a moment. It is important to remember though, you are not fighting things by self harm you are distracting yourself and trying to get attention. I know how it feels to get attention verse being ignored but getting getting attention in this manner is not healthy for your body.
October 5th, 2016 6:42am
You probably feel like it is something you must do, your body has become accustomed to being harmed, it's almost like you can't stop.
October 7th, 2016 1:44pm
Maybe it's because the pain gives you an ignition, and makes you feel alive. You may think that you are harming for no reason, but it seems as if you're harming because it's the only pain you can manage and control
October 12th, 2016 12:31pm
There are multiple reasons why we harm ourselves the top on the list is self pity and care a damn attitude. Why you don't want to stop is because this shows you in power and no one can take that away from you. You will when you find a way to love yourself and not depend on others to love you.
October 30th, 2016 4:58pm
Self Harm is dangerous on itself as everytime you do it you may experience a feel of relieve/joy, therefore the need to repeat it grows everytime. One way to cope with the need to selfharm is to consider, do I need to sel harm? and, Do I need to self harm right now? Can I wait to do it 10 minutes, 15 minutes? Try to hold the need to do it a little longer each time and it's really useful to not put yourself in places/situations that could get you in a situation to more likely do it.
November 3rd, 2016 1:59am
In my experience, wanting that pain was a distraction from my real life issues. I also knew that I "should" stop, but I didn't think I "needed" to stop. I didn't/couldn't admit that I had A Lot of underlying issues that needed to be dealt with before I could even try stopping.
November 4th, 2016 10:31pm
Although you might feel that you are not harming yourself to cope with current situations in your life, your desire to hurt yourself might still have a reason, at least in my experience, although this reason might be a much harder to perceive underlying psychological or mental health issue that you are coping with by hurting yourself. Alternatively, your experience might also stem from a possible addiction that can be caused by the rush of endorphins after a physical injury.
November 11th, 2016 12:50am
When you harm yourself and its not to cope, it may be because you feel the emotional need to, like maybe people at school or work make you feel that way, a good way to stop is drawing or painting
November 12th, 2016 6:09pm
it is addictive and psychologically calms you even if you don't feel like so. another alternative for some people could be getting many tattoos or piercings, also drugs. things like sleep deprivation have similar effects. even if one knows it is bad, they feel lured into it, maybe even trapped or it could just be satisfying
November 18th, 2016 8:01pm
The act of self-harm works like taking drugs. We temporarily suspend reality when we do it and when we anticipate doing it. We compartmentalise the reality in which we don't want to do it and the one in which self-harm provides solace. There's nothing more to it really..
December 9th, 2016 8:06am
I'm sorry you feel this way. I think (I don't know it for sure because I'm not a professional) it's because you need to feel the pain somewhere. And you became used to seeing your scars on your arm/leg etc. and you miss them when they're gone. I don't know if this answers your question. If you ever need to talk to someone, feel free to send me a message.
December 16th, 2016 4:38am
Sometimes it's easy to get addicted to something like that. I understand. I've been there myself. After you get a taste of what it feels like when you're feeling down you can't stop even when you're feeling fine. I can't tell you why myself, but I can tell you that I understand. And I can guarantee you I'm not the only one who does. Self harm is an addiction and a disease and should be treated as such. Find something you love, something to live for, and hold on to that with all your might. You have to want to get to better. Healing is a process, but it is well worth it. It won't be easy, but it's not impossible. Keep fighting.
February 15th, 2017 4:21am
Self harm isn't something that sound make a person feel better. From my experiences, I've done it because I felt that I didn't deserve anything. Stopping self harm could be a big turning point in someone's life. It might be hard, but you know it's right. You know that what you are doing doesn't benefit you or anything. Continuing will just make your urges stronger. If self harm is what makes you feel better, I recommend you find a substitute for harming yourself, maybe a stress ball:)
February 23rd, 2017 8:27pm
self harm has been known to have addictive qualities and people can become attached to the feelings after self harming. you may have used it once or twice as a coping mechanism however now that you no longer need to you still subconsciously feel an attachment to the feeling it gives you. it may also be that you have formed a comforting habit and the self harm is what comforts you right now, it can be hard to break away from habits that provide us with comfort.
February 26th, 2017 6:16am
You don't have anything else to turn to. You choose feel pain because you want to feel anything but numb. You convince yourself that it is no longer something that you can live without. You go to pain because feeling pain is better than not feeling at all.
February 26th, 2017 1:54pm
Sometimes even though we don't think self harming is a coping mechanism, it always is in some way. The feeling of pain or seeing blood still triggers a euphoric emotional release in our brains whether there's a purpose behind why we self harm or not.
March 15th, 2017 7:47am
It's often associated with relief or a sense of freedom. It can be quite addicting to have this pain and can become a habit, even if you don't really feel there is a reason for it.
March 30th, 2017 5:06am
I know that the pain caused in your body numbs the emotional one and it becomes an addiction because your body releases endorphins which creates the feeling of pleasure, but there are other ways people can let the steam go off, sleeping it off, go out and take deep breaths as you feel the air in your face and through your lungs will help you feel better. But mostly realizing that hurting yourself and causing you pain isn't the answer, and when you get through it, and you will, the scars and marks will be there to either remind you of how brave and strong you are at the moment or to make you feel guilty that you didn't realize sooner how worthy your life is.
April 1st, 2017 9:14pm
This may sound weird... I have realized about myself. That I was self harming for attention. I liked the attention people gave me when they learned about my scars
May 4th, 2017 5:54pm
It sounds like a form of control. SOmetimes when we lose control or feel that we have no control over our lives or what happens in our lives we find solutions, situations that we can manipulate and control to give us a sense of power over our lives
May 17th, 2017 6:00pm
It's addicting, I know. The reason is because you have come to believe that the harm you are doing to yourself is actually helping your body regain feeling. A way that I would recommend to quit, is whenever you feel the urge to harm yourself, draw something beautiful in the spot instead. It can be butterflies, lines, anything! Hope I was helpful!
May 19th, 2017 5:42pm
When self-harming, endorphins are released. They are neurotransmitters which lessen the pain and give pleasant feelings, this is one of the scientific reasons that make pain likeable. Hurting also is a way to dissociate and focus on something else, something we're in charge of and having traces of it on my body reminds me of that. Although slef-harming needs to be replaced with a healthier coping mechanism when the person is ready to take this step, which is challenging for sure. Getting a tattoo could also help having something on your body, maybe someday I'll take this step and get one.
May 25th, 2017 2:28pm
The body becomes addicted to self harm because it releases adrenaline and dopamine (chemicals that make you feel energized and happy) when you see wounds or feel pain. However, I would advise seeking professional help for this since there may be other underlying causes. Stay safe.
June 11th, 2017 8:22am
There are many reasons why people self harm. Even if you are not trying to cope with any pain, or are not enduring any pain, cutting reacts the same way - the release of those endorphins make you feel better, even if you already felt good before. An addiction is an addiction, and you should reach out and find help for it, sooner than later before this becomes even more dangerous.
July 1st, 2017 8:39pm
It may be that you are trying to release inner pain and that your scars remind you of your traumatic past
July 16th, 2017 3:18am
Self harm becomes an addictive behavior quickly because it is such an intense feeling that people go to for various reasons. Even if you don't use it to cope, the intense sensation can be something you end up relying on if you like the way it feels.
July 23rd, 2017 7:28pm
Sometimes you can get addicted to causing yourself pain, I know because I did it as well. Its easy to get addicted to the pain and actually need it in your life. I used to need it so badly I would go insane without it but now I've learnt how to deal without it
July 26th, 2017 4:04pm
That's something you like. Your body gets a rush if endorphins when you self harm. It makes you feel better. That's why you don't want to stop. Maybe it has even become an addiction. I know, for me, my anxiety chills out when I feel the cuts and the scabs. Even when it's not a coping method, you still need to get help! You don't need to do this alone anymore my friend! Reach out to someone! Whether it's in your real life, me, or any other listener who supports people struggling just like you. You are NOT alone. We are here. I am here :)
August 6th, 2017 11:46pm
Some people who engage in self-harm often find a hard time identifying their reason. What we do know about self-harm is that people get a sense of reward, control, and addiction from doing it, so there is an underlying motivation to keep doing it. While the reason may not be to 'cope' in the typical sense (i.e., escaping negative thoughts or emotions), but rather coping with the negative thoughts and feelings of anxiety or lack of control that they experience. Talking with a counsellor or mental health professional can help get to the underlying thoughts and motivations for self-harm, and ultimately work through it and work towards recovery.
September 1st, 2017 6:46pm
You've developed a response to this pain. You've come to rely on this feeling to feel better. You need to find something else such as working out, playing a game, or listening to music in order to change this habit.