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I managed to stop self-harming, but then I relapsed, how can I ever stop for good?

35 Answers
Last Updated: 01/04/2021 at 7:34am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Lisa Groesz, PhD


With evidenced based therapies, we find the root of the problem together to implement solutions. We all face crises, transitions, or disorders at some time.

Top Rated Answers
November 19th, 2014 10:53pm
I honestly don't know. I've done the same. I can't find the strong will to throw my razors away. I need an inspiration to stop. I think that's what everyone needs that is in this situation, a reason to quit.
June 5th, 2015 5:54pm
Self-harm can become addictive. It may start off as an impulse or something you do to feel more in control, but soon it feels like the cutting or self-harming is controlling you. It often turns into a compulsive behaviour that seems impossible to stop. Self-harm is a way of expressing and dealing with deep distress and emotional pain. As counterintuitive as it may sound to those on the outside, hurting yourself makes you feel better. In fact, you may feel like you have no choice. Injuring yourself is the only way you know how to cope with feelings like sadness, self-loathing, emptiness, guilt, and rage. The problem is that the relief that comes from self-harming doesn’t last very long. It’s like slapping on a Band-Aid when what you really need are stitches. It may temporarily stop the bleeding, but it doesn’t fix the underlying injury. And it also creates its own problems. If you’re like most people who self-injure, you try to keep what you’re doing secret. Maybe you feel ashamed or maybe you just think that no one would understand. But hiding who you are and what you feel is a heavy burden. Ultimately, the secrecy and guilt affects your relationships with your friends and family members and the way you feel about yourself. It can make you feel even more lonely, worthless, and trapped. Talking about self-harm can be very stressful and bring up a lot of emotions. Don’t be discouraged if the situation feels worse for a short time right after sharing your secret. It’s uncomfortable to confront and change long-standing habits. But once you get past these initial challenges, you’ll start to feel better. Remember, self-harm is most often a way of dealing with emotional pain. What feelings make you want to cut or hurt yourself? Sadness? Anger? Shame? Loneliness? Guilt? Emptiness? Once you learn to recognize the feelings that trigger your need to self-injure, you can start developing healthier alternatives. •Paint, draw, or scribble on a big piece of paper with red ink or paint •Express your feelings in a journal •Compose a poem or song to say what you feel •Write down any negative feelings and then rip the paper up •Listen to music that expresses what you’re feeling •Take a bath or hot shower •Pet or cuddle with a dog or cat •Wrap yourself in a warm blanket •Massage your neck, hands, and feet •Listen to calming music •Call a friend (you don’t have to talk about self-harm) •Take a cold shower •Hold an ice cube in the crook of your arm or leg •Chew something with a very strong taste, like chili peppers, peppermint, or a grapefruit peel. •Go online to a self-help website, chat room, or message board •Exercise vigorously—run, dance, jump rope, or hit a punching bag •Punch a cushion or mattress or scream into your pillow •Squeeze a stress ball or squish Play-Doh or clay •Rip something up (sheets of paper, a magazine) •Make some noise (play an instrument, bang on pots and pans) •Use a red felt tip pen to mark where you might usually cut •Rub ice across your skin where you might usually cut •Put rubber bands on wrists, arms, or legs and snap them instead of cutting or hitting
November 19th, 2014 9:45pm
Relapses are part of recovery, just keep trying and you will recover. Things might be hard, but things ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS get better.
November 2nd, 2014 9:04pm
It sounds like you have already had success in the past, congratulations. From what your telling me, you already have the skills to stop self-harming. What did you use before?
November 15th, 2014 1:16am
The best way of doing that is finding an alternative way to release your pain. You can find things that make that urge to cut go away, for instance you can run or you can jump or just draw something or call your friends, anything that does not involve you getting hurt
April 30th, 2015 8:51pm
It's just like it is when recovering from any addiction: one day at a time. Instead of focusing on how long you will remain clean, try focusing on the accomplishment that is making it through today, that stressful paper, that fight with your friend. Just focus on little victories, and eventually you'll start noticing that they are becoming bigger victories.
August 11th, 2015 5:58pm
I would say try to remove all things you have self harmed with and instead of cutting you could draw on the area you cut/burn/scratch/etc. So instead of seeing painful scars you can see a beautfiul masterpiece ^w^
October 25th, 2016 1:29am
Find another way to take that pain away. There's a lot of things you can try, like art, make art, draw, paint, write what you feel, let it out.
October 11th, 2014 5:46pm
I think the best way is to get a stable support system and get professional help. The professionals can teach you the right way and how to keep away from it. Support will be very helpful during that time too.
October 31st, 2014 1:01pm
The road to recovery is twisty, windy, and more like a backroad--it unfortunately is not a clear path. Relapse is usually a part of this journey. Have a plan for when this happens--talk to a loved one, make yourself some chamomile tea, journal, or take a walk. Just because there is a relapse does not mean that you can't stop for good. You are absolutely worth taking that windy, twisty path. Seven Cups is also here for you, if you need additional support!
May 21st, 2015 1:37pm
Personally I us a rubble band to pop my self when I get the urge to do some thing, so the pain of the pops covers the urges and lights the urges until they are no longer an issues for me.
November 4th, 2014 9:12am
Make a commitment to yourself. Identify what first motivated you to stop. Also identify what caused you to relapse. Find a friend, loved one, or medical professional to support you through this process. Find that motivation to once again stop, and this time, make sure to more actively avoid the trigger that causes you to relapse. Treat this aggressively and proactively, and make sure to set clear goals for yourself.
October 24th, 2017 8:52pm
In my own experience, I relapsed many times over the course of trying to stop self-harming. It was a really long journey but one day it finally set in that I deserved better than the pain I put on myself. I didn't need to scare myself anymore. I had people around me who loved and cared for me and they were a huge part of me being able to stop.
October 24th, 2014 9:50pm
yes you can stop it.... concentrate on diverting your thoughts... will power is what that all matters to over come or stop or start any thing.... on top of all avoid staying alone
October 27th, 2014 6:28pm
It takes time. I used to self harm, and I relapsed two, three.. four times. It is a difficult thing to stop, and it is normal to relapse. The thing you have to remember is 'why' do you want to stop self harming? You have to realise how much you want to be clean to be able to stop completely. The urges will fade as time goes by, and you find other ways to cope with your emotions, but it is most difficult in the beginning. It is in NO way impossible though. Good luck.
November 3rd, 2014 1:02am
The best way to stop self-harm is to replace it with healthy habits such as painting, sports, playing a musical instrument, or writing poetry.
November 4th, 2014 10:29am
stopping self ham is a hard battle and it will have good and bad days, like most. However the most important thing to remember is that there are always people to talk to, no matter how bad things get
November 8th, 2014 3:12am
Relapsing is part of recovery. You shouldn't give up, look at how far you went without self harming! That's something to be proud of! Instead of focusing on your relapse, focus on all of your recovery wins.
November 14th, 2014 10:48am
By continuing treatment prescribed and using positive coping mechanisms as often as possible. Try to keep a positive network of people you can contact when your coping mechanisms are not working.
November 18th, 2014 6:36pm
It is hard to take one coping mechanism to another when you have been on the first one for so long. One way to stop for good is to have s support team (family, friends, classmates, teacher, anyone who you know you can trust) so when you want to cut again they can suggest an alternative.
March 11th, 2015 7:36pm
Trying to stop relapsing is hard work. You'll always relapse- always- and sometimes it'll be for a while. Sometimes it'll be for years. But in the end, no matter how much you want to self-harm, think about all the people you're hurting.
August 18th, 2015 2:12pm
Try and take your mind off of self-harming. Play a sport, hang out with friends or even just watch a lot of Tv. Then when you feel like self harming, instead of hurting yourself find a better alternative method like a snapping a rubber band on your wrist or putting an ice cube on your wrist instead. Then after a while the urge to do it will go away and it will all be forgotten and in your past.
December 15th, 2015 9:40am
Talk to someone who use to self harm and learn what they have to do to stop from self harming. And also dig in deeper within yourself to find out why they are harming themselves
June 28th, 2016 4:19pm
You could try some coping strategies when you want to self-harm such as taking a walk, drawing, writing on yourself, or talking to a friend.
August 15th, 2016 6:15am
From my personal experience, the easiest way to quit is tossing out whatever item you're using at the time, and trying to stay away from said item.
September 26th, 2016 7:20pm
Self harming has to do with yourself. You have to want to stop first of all, and I know you do but there's always that urge in the back of your mind. You have the power to decide to do it or not. You can look up coping skills because that helped me or put motavating quotes around your house/room. You can do it!
October 18th, 2016 2:42am
Recovery is a process. Don't focus on stopping; focus on not doing it this time, then not the next, and so on. Baby steps. Good luck! (& feel free to message anytime, I got you) ❤️
December 26th, 2016 5:14am
That's amazing that you were able to stop once. It's natural to have urges during a struggle such as this. It's not our urges that define us, but what we do to about those urges; even if we relapse we cannot judge or blame ourselves. We have to merely acknowledge that it happened and continue looking forward to and working towards a time in the future where it is easier for us not to relapse. We are only humans. Look at your accomplishments rather than your failures. Many would not have come as far as you have, this is amazing! You are truly brave and strong to continue seeking help with this. Simply wonderful. Continue looking for healthy distractions everywhere possible. You can do this!
January 16th, 2018 11:14pm
I recommend seeking professional help if you haven't already. There are several useful coping mechanisms which I have adopted in the past. For example using an elastic band to 'ping' yourself gives a similar rush. Furthermore i'd suggest looking through some our our self help guides
February 5th, 2018 5:41pm
Well I realized that the urge never goes away but it gets easier to cope when you have a coping technique. I started painting my legs or arms with watercolor.