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Why do you cut yourself when it does nearly nothing to you except hurt yourself?

29 Answers
Last Updated: 11/10/2020 at 7:51pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Stacey Kiger, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

My belief is that therapy is not about giving advice, but joining you on your journey

Top Rated Answers
May 8th, 2015 10:50pm
Cutting is more of an urge. A craving. As you slide the blade across your skin it releases all of the bad inside of you, and the good stays in. We cut flowers because we think they are beautiful, we cut ourselves because we think we are not. I would NEVER encourage self-harm, and anybody who needs help PLEASE message me ^-^ I am always available. I was just getting my point across because people dont self-harm because it hurts them, they self-harm because everything else does. It is also a distraction, because as you feel the pain, all you can think about is the pain, and you completely forget about the girl who bullies you everyday, you forget the time your anxiety went mad, and all you think about is the numbness you feel. It's almost relaxing. There are other ways. ^-^
May 14th, 2015 9:44pm
I think it does different things for each person. For example, when I cut myself I feel like I'm just getting what I deserve. It's like I'm punishing myself for something wrong once again. I had a friend though who told me she did it to calm down. She'd be panicking and practicality going crazy, and cutting calmed her down. Everyone has a different reason.
January 16th, 2015 6:07am
Individuals with a wide array of problems turn to self-harm for many different reasons. One reason may be to "feel something" - self-harm can be used to feel the pain that an individual is incapable of feeling. Another reason may be to calm, focus, or distract ones train of thought. While the individual is self harming, they are using a massive amount of concentration to do so, and thus are slowing their thoughts about other topics. Self harm also can be done for the sensation, as cutting creates tactile sensation, as well as the fact that it releases a number of hormones. Finally, some find that self harm is a way to punish themselves for perceived failures. There are a plurality of reasons, but the reason why self harming is particularly problematic is that it is maladaptive and effective at accomplishing its users' goals.
June 30th, 2015 11:16pm
Because people who self harm feel so much emotional pain that they want to feel physical pain to replace the emotional pain
March 10th, 2016 5:37pm
A lot of the time people self harm not to cause more pain, but to take the pain that floods their mind and place it somewhere that they can handle it better. The physical pain seems to dull the internal pain. It's a release. Also some people who self harm severely and bleed a lot get this sort of dazed and numb feeling. Years and years ago medical professions would actually cause people to bleed out a bit to treat basically anything. A lot of them thought it was really working because people's pain and symptoms would seem to get much better, but this was really just due to the fact that when you lose a lot of blood your body is so focused on replenishing your blood and clotting the wound that it isn't focused on other issues. I believe this is the same idea for self harm. You and your body are so tuned in to what you're doing and feeling physically that the mental pain gets pushed to the side. But that's the big problem with self harm is that the feeling of relief is usually very temporary and some people feel very guilty and ashamed after words. Others can become very addicted to this behavior because it becomes their emotional painkiller. Sometimes media and friends can influence self harming behavior especially in young teens. It isn't uncommon to see someone exploiting their behavior for anyone to see (such a pictures and videos.) This can for 1. Be very triggering to people who already self harm. 2. Might make someone more tempted to do it themselves because it seems glorified sometimes, much like pro ana sites. I know when I was a lot younger it almost became a trend. This one girl was showing us how you could burn yourself with an eraser or gradually scrape your skin off with a pair or scissors. And before you knew it a handful of people began doing it, not even realizing how serious it really was, and that it might even invade their life for years. That's what happened to me. Eventually I realized the the pain was soothing, and instead of getting a kiss goodnight, I'd fall asleep with the painkiller in my hand.
March 1st, 2016 4:04pm
Because the emotional pain one feels becomes too much. He'd rather feel pain physically than emotionally, because emotional pain is a lot worse than physical pain. It's like our form of substitution.
May 31st, 2015 6:02am
When you cut yourself, it is because the mental pain you feel can not be dealt with, but physical pain is tangible and real. You can nurse it and fix it, and it will eventually heal. Physical pain is easier to cope with.
August 31st, 2015 9:57pm
Because for that one moment it feels like it helps. Albeit only in the mind. And sometimes all we need is to get past that one moment.
April 22nd, 2016 8:48pm
Many people who self harm have such emotional problems that they cant control that they dont know what to do except turn to self harm to feel physical pain. You can control the physical pain and its easier to deal with than the emotional pain of some things going on. The majority of the time you cant control the emotional pain either, so self harming is just a way that some people manage their emotional pain, they temporarily get rid of it by self harming. It doesnt make the emotional problem go away, but its a release for awhile.
March 22nd, 2015 12:52am
Cutting yourself allows for a different kind of hurt to be felt. Physical hurt is a way to cope from the emotional hurt which hurts our entire core. Cutting was a way of coping, to distract oneself from the uncontrollable emotional pain.
April 1st, 2015 10:58pm
This is a common misconception. It may hurt the outside but for many individuals it is a release of the hurt on the inside and a form of control over the negatives in your life. Sometimes that is more help than the little cut hurts. However, there are so many better ways to find a release that do not hurt you. Maybe music, arts, or just talking can help because in the end, it may be a release to cut but the fact is, it will come back. Reach out and it can only help!
May 2nd, 2015 8:57am
its used as a coping mechanism, most people know it will hurt, but it diverts attention and many other reasons.
May 3rd, 2015 10:47pm
For many it is a form of coping, a bad one, but it seems helpful to them. When you cut, there are chemicals released in your brain that give a false feeling of happiness. It's to counter the pain but if somebody is sad and cuts, it appears to help them even though it hurts them.
May 22nd, 2015 5:53pm
Because some people don't think through that, it gives them relief it shows that hey have lost a battle, yet they over come it.
July 2nd, 2015 12:17am
Um actualy me personaly when I do it I just dont feel I can't explain the reason but sometimes it's normal to people to feel hurt broken alone like nobody loves them ar is there for them..
December 12th, 2017 3:41am
Sometimes the amount of emotional pain one is enduring is so overwhelming and unbearable that cutting provides a sort of release, temporarily replacing the emotional pain with physical pain, making a situation more tolerable.
April 4th, 2015 10:10am
Some people use cutting as a coping mechanism, it also releases endorphins which make you feel happy. Because of this it then may become an addiction
June 23rd, 2015 6:04pm
People cut as a sort of escape from themselves and life, or to punish themselves because they hate their body or their past or how they are. It can also release emotions such as anger or sadness, or for people with depression may just be doing it to feel something. There's many reason someone would cut, you've really just got to be there for someone who does even though it hurts you too.
October 6th, 2015 11:24am
to some people emotional pain is much worse than physical pain.. as well as in the moment of being pushed too far over your mental and emotional limit you tend to do things you wouldnt do when your fine or okay.
October 9th, 2015 1:55am
Self-harm is an addiction, some use it as a form of self-punishment, others use it to feel control, some use it as a coping mechanism etc. there are many forms and reasons behind self-harm, and although they only have negative impacts it does provide the illusion of relief for a short while - much like drugs or alcohol.
November 10th, 2015 4:55am
I cut myself to feel in control of just one small aspect of my life. And to be able to decide when or how I do it. Cutting helps me feel what I don't normally feel
December 28th, 2015 7:15am
Cutting yourself releases endorphins, the same endorphins you get with exercise or taking a bite of chocolate. It has a calming effect that washes over you. You can get the same effect by eating chocolate or exercising ( as I said).
April 19th, 2016 1:48pm
It makes me feel like I have some control over something, and it distracts from emotional pain sometimes.
May 16th, 2016 5:44am
To me, it was something to ground me instantly. I was free from "daydreaming" because I could feel the pain, and it kept me in the present moment for a couple of days. It also provided a sense of control - physical pain that I could control. The last reason was to stop feeling overwhelmed by strong emotions. I usually felt calm and could think clearly afterwards.
May 23rd, 2016 6:36am
Some people cut themselves because they have become emotionally numb and use it as a way to show themselves they can feel, and some use it as an emotional release, a way to let out all of their negative emotions in a physical way. However it is always better to find a more positive outlet than self harm.
January 16th, 2017 9:54pm
I don't know, a lot of people think cutting yourself solves your situation or at most makes the other person who caused the pain would see that and care but it doesn't. Another thing would be that the person cutting things they deserve to do it because they're guilty and they need to discipline themselves more? There are many reasons but none of them really make sense and I hope people can over come committing suicide and cutting.
October 30th, 2017 1:21pm
People find that when they're numb, it's a way to feel or people who are really sad to for endorphins. In my experience however, I always feel far worse after it and it only made me more upset since it scarred. It's better to find healthier coping strategies such as drawing on yourself, using ice, going outside, talking to a friend, and so on.
July 30th, 2018 10:45pm
Although the only thing that cutting really does is damage your body, at the time it can relieve emotional pain as there as a different kind of pain to focus on. Some people also feel as though they deserve to hurt.
November 10th, 2020 7:51pm
People may cut themselves for reasons unique to them. Personally, when I used to cut, it was during a time when I thought that inflicting pain on myself and enduring it made me stronger. In hindsight I am not embarrassed or ashamed for cutting; I am just sad. But that was a means for coping back then, and now I have other support methods, even if sometimes it feels like my support system is broken. If you are reading this with a current disposition to cut or engage in self-harm, please know you are heard. You matter. You are valued. And you are worthy of love, peace, compassion, and care. You do not need to experience more pain in order to receive anything good. You are loved.