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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
January 25th, 2020 3:07pm
Sometimes people self harm not to cope with everything but as an outlet. They do it because it is satisfying and makes them feel better. Sometimes the pain that you feel while doing the self harm feels better than the pain that you feel inside your head or the pain you feel in your chest. People self harm to feel the pain on the body instead of Inside the body. It takes your mind away from the pain your feeling mentally so your brain focuses on the pain you feel on the outside distracting you. This could make you feel better in the moment yes but is not the right way to go about it. It can cause sever harm to the body. trying another outlet to release the pain may be a better idea.
February 5th, 2020 5:17am
It could be related to some sort of trauma caused by any type of abuse, a sign of distress or a way to cope with difficult feelings in life. This issue has to be addressed as soon as possible or it might become a habit and also a risk factor for future suicide attempts. Some people self-harm themselves as a result of some sort of mental illness, but not all people have mental illness, in case they are accompanied by troubling thoughts or feelings it's important that the doctor knows about it, in other less severe cases talking about the problems affecting the patient with a listener is a good approach, writing, practicing relaxation exercises and even talking to friends also.
February 12th, 2020 4:17pm
If you keep returning to something because it gives you comfort in some way, then that is still totally a coping mechanism! For many, physical pain is a distraction from emotional pain. When we experience pain our body also releases endorphins, which lessen the experience of pain and stress and can even result in a "high". Essentially when we self harm we get "happy chemicals" which can become addictive just like a drug that releases the same endorphins. Often times when we seek out the comfort of pain or drugs it is to fill a void or cover up a wound. Ultimately we have to address the wound from which we seeking comfort in the first place to address the unwanted behavior.
February 13th, 2020 7:25pm
When we cause ourselves harm we can control it. It is often a way to take control, because we can not control the world around us. It is also a way to distract from emotional pain, because physical pain is often easier for us to handle than emotional pain. Another reason may be subconscious or unconscious guilt, shame, or anger. Inflicting pain on one's self is a way of punishing for perceived wrongdoing. Some claim it is because of masochism, which is purposeful infliction of pain due to a pleasurable response. But this is more complicated than a simple pain and pleasure relationship. We are wired to avoid pain, so the enjoyment of pain is not simply that, there are underlying drives at play.
February 23rd, 2020 2:57pm
Cutting releases endorphins - the body's natural pain killers. In a way, it gets you a little bit high. This makes it an addictive behavior, which is very hard to break. The good news is that there are other activities that can replace the things you like about cutting, and are healthier. For endorphins, exercise it the literature go-to. The trick is to find exercise you enjoy doing for at least 15 minutes (preferably longer), because if you do less (at a time) you don't really get the happy chemicals in your brain. As for marking your body, tattoos and piercings are more socially acceptable than scars, and give rise to more artistic possibilities. Just make sure to get them safely :)
March 25th, 2020 2:49pm
Oh same! It's also really hard to explain to others that nothing is really wrong. Well, something is but reasons vary. What "helped" me a lot with explaining it was to create stories around everything I did and make it look like this really happened. No healthy behaviour but it helps control it a little more because finding a good story is hard. Otherwise if you don't want to stop the only thing you can do is take care of what you're doing to yourself, proper bandaging and desinfection of course. Take care of yourself and always use clean utensils. I hope this was somewhat helpful.
March 25th, 2020 3:08pm
My thinking is that you are the only one that has the answer to that question. Maybe before you do it again ask yourself "Why exactly am I doing this?" I could only give you my best guesses as to why you do that, but I don't think any of them would help you. Why is it you like to have something on your body? What makes you not want to stop? What lead to doing it in the first place? These are the questions I think you should ask yourself. Maybe you'll find your answer that way. I hope this helps.
March 25th, 2020 9:42pm
Harming yourself is a way of telling your body that it is okay to release the stress in this way. I am sure you like seeing the blood too. Next time instead of harming yourself. Take a few ice cubes and place it on the spot you normally harm yourself then put red food coloring all over it to act as the blood and take your fingers and spread it around. That is the best way to get the same effect without the harm. I really encourage you to try this. Please reach out to me if you have ant other questions or need some help/tips. Thanks!!
April 12th, 2020 11:47am
I think everyone has a different reason as to why they self-harm; there's no one reason, and some people may have multiple, overlapping reasons for doing so. I think a reason as to why someone might not want to stop hurting themselves, is because this act of self-harming serves a function for them. Be it as a coping mechanism, or providing a sharp sensation of pain, or a mark on ones skin. Once something serves a function to us, we tend to do it repeatedly, and that becomes a habit. And it becomes hard to break out of a habit, because there is familiarity in that, and familiarity brings comfort.
April 15th, 2020 8:16am
In my own experience, I think that maybe you a suffering with self-hatred. First, you should find someone for help, asking someone you are close enough to recognize your strength, and you can calm your self. And day by day, build your self-esteem. Believe me, everyone is an expert but in different aspects. When you realize it and feel that your body worth loving, you can quite stop harming yourself. However, if it's getting worse, find a therapist. I can point you to the 7 Cups Guide. At last, we 7 Cups hope you find the way out soon.
April 17th, 2020 12:14am
A lot of people don't want to stop self harming because they feel that pain that they don't usually feel. Or because they see that they actually bleed and know that they are actually alive where some people feel empty. It's hard to fully stop, but it's up to you to stop self harming. Ask for help. You're never alone. Lean on the people who care and love you. Also if you can contact a hotline if you're suffering badly. Get the help proper help you deserve and stay strong. No one deserves to feel pain or to suffer.
April 19th, 2020 7:29pm
I totally understand this, I have went through the same thing. I knew I should stop, but I didnt want to because I also liked the pain and having marks on my body. It might be because you could feel like you are alive, like, you are here and exist. Stopping something like that takes focus, motivation, perseverance and a strong mind. I know how hard it can be and I know that it is nice to feel the pain. Not everybody needs to hear that things will be okay, some people just need someone to talk to them and listen instead of giving advice and telling them to stop. No matter which one you need, I understand and I would want to help.
May 31st, 2020 11:13pm
The mind works in odd ways and so does the body. I'm not sure why you feel okay with it but perhaps it's something psychological? Maybe it's a habit that comes from your childhood, it could be a hereditary thing or perhaps it's a coping mechanism you have when you are stressed and/or encounter situations that make you feel negative emotions. I am not quite sure but try and ask a professional like a therapist or someone you trust to see if they can help you find out why Hope this helps you even a little bit!
June 3rd, 2020 9:14am
Sometimes we want our outward appearance to reflect our internal pain, it's a way to express our sense of identity. I learned that there are other, healthier way of expressing myself that were just as effective, and I learned how to communicate myself through words so I didn't have to communicate myself through scars. I hope that helps someone to understand themselves! It was difficult for me to realize that about myself at the time, but I'm glad I realized it later on. No one in my family at the time knew how to deal with it, I'm happy for this community.
June 3rd, 2020 11:25pm
Your body may have got used to the feeling if you have been doing it for a long period of time but please don't anymore! Your life is so important, I know sometimes it can be difficult to stop but it's so worth it when you do! Never give up on yourself as you have a bright future ahead of you just gotta stay strong and keep going even if it feels very tempting it's honestly the best thing to do if you can stop! Easier said than done but it's so worth it in the long run! Keep going
June 18th, 2020 3:14pm
If you are harming yourself on purpose for the pain and think that it is something to have on your own body, this is concerning. I know self harm does not seem like a way to cope, but it is almost like it is your own support system because you need to feel it on you and you need to see it on you, just like love. You harm yourself to feel something and to see something. It is something that is not healthy doing and you need to find something or someone that can replace that temporary makeshift support system to give you what you truly need.
June 20th, 2020 12:29pm
When we go through some problems that are too big for us, we all tend to react in different ways. For some, it is just mentally troublesome. For some, it is expressed physically. I personally believe this type of tendency occurs when we tend to visualise our hurt. When the wounds are mental, we are not able to heal it the way we would if it were physical. The wound on the skin in a physical representation of our problems or hurt. The hurt we have faced mentally is an abstract thing. And because of that we don't know how to heal. Seeing it physically shows us how to treat it.
July 3rd, 2020 6:24pm
I would purposely harm myself as well. I always did it because I would feel a surge of overwhelming emotions and didn't know what to do with those feelings. For instance, if I had a very unpleasant conversation with someone or saw / read / heard something triggering, I felt the need to hurt myself. This might be because you don't have any other ways to relieve yourself of overwhelmimg emotions. You might not have someone in your life whom you can talk to freely about your pain and feelings. Similarly, you might not have something relieving to do either. This lack of alternatives might fuel you to hurt yourself when you know you shouldn't.
July 23rd, 2020 2:46am
When we like things, it is hard to stop doing them. We can get into habits of doing things that aren’t good for us, even if we know they aren’t. Feeling the pain is maybe addicting to you, and it’s not easy to quit an addiction. Seeking professional help from someone you trust is the healthiest and most useful way I have dealt with addicting behavior before. Finding support groups with others going through the same thing is also super helpful. If you are harming yourself, no matter how good it feels or how hard it is to stop, is a dangerous thing that can be hard to manage alone. Reaching out to trusted adults or professionals is the best thing you can do right now.
July 25th, 2020 11:32pm
Like you said, you do it to cope. And yes you know it's not healthy but your brain decided that that's what it needs so protect you from the pain. You don't want to stop because the short time pain relief it gives you overweighs the knowledge that it won't help you in the long run and probably even make it worse. Your pain is now so your brain wants to stop it now. But that doesn't make it right, you still need to stop. Just do it on your own time, recovery is messy and relapses are to be expected.
August 19th, 2020 1:49pm
People self-harm for a variety of different reasons - they are all valid. Some people feel control, some people are trying to attract help and others do it to help them cope. Self-harm is a safety behaviour and therefore makes us feel safe short-term. The more we self-harm, the more we rely on it. This is why it can be so hard to stop! However, if you do ever decide to stop (which I hope you do eventually), your brain gets use to the fact that there is actually no danger that it needs safety behaviours for! Tackling self-harm can be difficult, but it is possible. There is an amazing app called CalmHarm which could be a good place to start!
September 24th, 2020 9:40pm
Self-harm can be done for a variety of reasons. It's okay to like pain, I suggest trying to transition to a different form of pain. By some colored rubber bands to wear on your wrist and use them to pop yourself when you get that urge. You can also keep a pen or skin safe marker on you to write on yourself when you feel the need to have marks. This way you are doing no damage to yourself. You should try to work out why you like pain, and also why you like things on your body. These answers will help you determine the healthiest ways to graduate from the above to something that works with you, and is healthy.
October 3rd, 2020 3:38pm
Self harm is an addicting behavior. When you harm yourself, your body releases endorphins as a coping mechanism to deal with the pain. It's normal to 'like the pain', but it also complicates self harm recovery. Similar to opiate addiction and other addictions, your body starts to crave the endorphin release. When your brain is looking for something soothing or something to make it feel good, it remembers the feeling that self harm causes. If you're struggling with self harm addiction, please consider reaching out for help. There are loads of resources on this site (self help guides, therapists, forum and chat supports) and there's also a self harm text line: 741741
October 8th, 2020 2:40am
I think what you have is a mental or physical disorder but if not it might have to deal something in your past. It could also be that you like causing pain to yourself which is quite peculiar I must say. Well your going to have to stop cause one that not to be mean is insane and actually quite interesting. So I think something you should do is look at yourself at the mirror and repeat this. Does this help me or benefit me. Does this pain make me actually like it more. Finally if I don’t stop is there a risk of death that may occur. Well that what I got. Good luck
October 25th, 2020 8:07am
Harming yourself to cope and harming yourself because you like it is fundamentally the same thing. We repeat behaviours because they work and they give us a positive pay-off. You could very well be serving a personal need or value, but the WAY you are choosing to do it (self-harm) is a destructive way to go about it. The question is, is there a way to get the same positive feelings that self-harm provides but through another activity. Is there a substitute you could find? As it stands, self-harm is a double-edged sword. You may indeed gain some value from doing it, but continued self-harm is really bad for your body. The scars will build up and the more you do it the harder it will be to stop. If a day comes when you outgrow the behaviour you will forever have to see the aftermath. Also, self-harm is really scary to people and can be a burden on your interpersonal relationships. It can be extremely stressful to your friends, family, and loved ones. Therefore, it might cause all kinds of problems aside from just physical.
November 8th, 2020 8:02am
The reason why you do not want to stop is because as you said, you liked the pain. To be honest, the pain you have to carry is so much, you hurt yourself because that will distract you from the problems you are dealing with. I suggest you find something else that will help you relax. For example, do some sports. Boxing, running, where you can reduce stress. Try to feel painful by not hurting yourself but like getting tired of sports. And do not you worry, dear, this will go away. All you have to do, is to put your mind to it. Good luck, honey!
November 26th, 2020 1:41am
Are you feeling suicidal? And would you like me to refer you to the suicide hotline? Harming yourself is someone serious and it can cause harm to yourself now and in the future. I'm not sure why you don't want to stop. Maybe instead, you can draw on your body with markers. Maybe even sharpie so that it won't come off. Try to draw on yourself or paint on your body so you can see your beautiful art. Self harm is a serious topic, and I only want the best for you. Let me know again, if you'd like a referral to the suicide hotline.
December 12th, 2020 10:05am
Because it shows me that I have something I've been through too. Sometimes I feel so privileged that I feel it's not fair that I sit here with a roof over my head, food on my table, clothes on my back - while others sit there with nothing at all in the cold and rain. So I do this in order to lessen the burden of feeling that I have everything, yet nothing. I do this because sometimes it hurts so much inside. The feeling of loneliness and straight depression, that doing something that causes me physical pain reminds me that I'm still alive and it hurts because I'm real. Just like how sometimes people feel they're sleeping so they pinch themselves to see if they're awake or not. I do this to see if I'm alive or not.
February 11th, 2021 7:38am
You put yourself in a mindset that this harm is doing you good. That type of mindset will ALWAYS be hard to change.. which leads to you not wanting to stop. There are also chemicals harming yourself can release into your brain that makes you feel happier and make you think that harming is a good idea. Due to that, you're going to want to keep doing it. If stopping is what you want to do then getting some help from a therapist or somebody will be amazing. They can help guide you on the right path as you will need to change your whole mindset towards harming yourself etc.
February 20th, 2021 12:20am
As a person who has gone through a similar situation (I liked the view of blood and the scars/bruises) I understand where those feelings are coming from although I don't understand the feelings themselves. Even if it's physically/aesthetically pleasing, or however one can formulate that, self-harm is never a good idea and the tecnique I can think of id gradual working on avoiding to do it, maybe find something else to replace it (you might develop a less harmful but still toxic tick by accident like chewing nails or peeling off skin). In the end, it's all a process so don't worry if you fall back to self-harm or feel weirdly satisfied with it.