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why does cutting make me feel better but then bad afterwards?

246 Answers
Last Updated: 02/17/2021 at 2:05am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Jannise McKamey-Bruell, LAPC


I am a nonjudgmental counselor that employs transparency, trust, honesty and integrity in her practice and in the therapeutic relationship.

Top Rated Answers
November 8th, 2017 7:56pm
Self-harm distracts me from the pain of dealing with what is really bothering me. But of course I feel ashamed afterwards because I created more problems for myself, not fewer. It's embarrassing for other people to notice my marks. I also feel ashamed of not being strong enough to deal with my real problems head on. It's a vicious circle. Pain, self-harm, double pain and shame.
November 9th, 2017 10:15am
Cutting release endorphins in your brain which are like happy, stimulating drugs you would get from a mulitude of good things. The horrible cycle of cutting is that it will always make you feel good because of this effect, but then you might feel shame afterwards so you keep going back to it because of that. Find what your triggers are and try to give yourself ten minutes, and remind yourself of the feeling afterwards and hopefully that will help.
November 15th, 2017 7:36am
Sometimes, it's because it gives you a temporary relief from some other pain you're experiencing in your life. The problem is that, ultimately, the effect of cutting will wear off, the original pain will still be there, and you'll now also have to deal with the emotional fallout of self-abuse.
November 16th, 2017 1:06am
when you cut, you trying to get rid of ache for a short amount of time. but then you look at the places you have cut yourself, after you're feeling better, you realize you've made a poor decision
November 24th, 2017 5:13pm
Self harm releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel release or feel calmer. However, this doesn't last long, and the act of harming yourself may make you feel guilty, as you might feel you have let people down. As well as this, the physical pain will make you feel worse, and you may also be afraid of yourself. Self harm isn't healthy and it is much better to try to find support, and other ways to cope, and there are ways to overcome it.
November 30th, 2017 11:33pm
because it is not a permenant solution it only occupys you for a short while and only makes the reasons why you are cutting worse. this is why it is aslo dangerous
December 7th, 2017 3:04pm
Although an unhealthy method, self-harm is used as a coping mechanism. Due to the unhealthiness of it, it can often make you feel shameful afterward. To combat these feelings, using healthy alternatives (such as distracting yourself, the Butterfly Project, and so on) can bring a similar sensation and relief, without the guilt nor harm.
December 7th, 2017 9:33pm
From personal experience, self harm only makes me feel "better" at the exact moment when I'm doing it-because I don't think of the outcome. But afterwards when you see the cuts on your body you might start to regret what you did and start panicking. (I'm only speaking from personal experience and it may be different for other people)
December 9th, 2017 8:04pm
So I actually have experience with this that, as I got much older, took an interest in self-reflecting to find understanding in my actions. At the time I used to cut, it was never to do away with myself. I was under an enormous amount of emotional pain/abuse as well as others. It felt as if I didn’t get it out somehow I would go mad. My father was the one who caused the majority of my feelings and I loved my mother too much in involve her. I had siblings and friends…but felt to ashamed to go to anyone. Looking back, I remember causing the pain I did felt really good initially. But why? Because it the pain out-screamed my emotional pain. For that second, for that moment, the immense amount of pain I had on the inside was drowned out. It turned out, it wasn’t the pain from the self-harm I was after, it was the longing to drown out the initial pain I carried. I also discovered I took a sort of….pleasure? from the sight of the wound. But I have to explain why. When a person breaks their arm, they SEE it’s broken. Others can acknowledge it’s broken. Tests can be ran to verify the break and reason for pain. Unfortunately, emotional pain is nothing like that is it? There’s no x-rays that can be held up to show the large holes. There’s no visible proof for others to acknowledge the pain, causing them to check in on you, showing concern and passion, asking how your holding up is there? And just as vital….you can typically watch for yourself, a physical thing going through the healing process and register when you are “all better”. Such as the doctor telling you that the cast can come off in 4-6 weeks, you are given a timeframe to be all better. No one can do that with emotional pain however. A doctor can take off the cast and announce “That’s it! All better!” Unfortunately, that’s impossible to be told with emotional pain. So I think I caused the physical pain, in a very immature and desperate means to switch an emotional pain into a physical one. Seeing the wound, made me feel better because emotional pain is not visible. Being able to “see” made me feel like I had some control. Watching over it each day, tending to it, witnessing it heal, fed the illusion that I was also healing emotionally. And once the wound was healed, I would both the physical and emotional wound as done. Sadly, I was young, scared, desperate to not drown in all that was going on. If things had happened today, I probably would have been removed from the home I grew up in. One thing for sure, is I would have taken advantage of the many resources that the internet offers today for people to reach out and be heard anonymously. If I could go back in time, and kneel beside my former tortured of a soul teenage self, I would stop her hand as she reached out to cause harm and lead her to a resource where she could TALK to someone. I had no one. I just needed ONE I could talk to, to be honest with, without fear of judgement or repercussions. I wound up stopping because despite my persistence, I discovered that even though a wound was healed…it still hurt….like hell to. That the transition from emotional to physical does not work and all I was doing was making a bad situation worse. It’s at this point that I got myself to stop. I started to find other ways to cope. End result after that was books. A lot of books that took me away, mentally, on adventures. I figured as I wasn’t able to escape and break away physically, I could try to maintain sanity by allowing myself mental retreats in books that offered a breath of fresh air that included unknown foreign lands and many character friends. On the side, I actually started to write. Being in control of characters helped me cope as well. I was able to almost, re-write my pain into characters that were stronger, braver, and escaped things. This became a much healthier outlet to the situation.
December 18th, 2017 1:34am
Cutting may be something you turn to when you have a lot of built up emotions and are feeling frustrated and upset. It is something that allows you to channel that anger and frustration and let it out, and you feel better. However it is a very damaging habit and the aftermath is obviously painful and you may feel some guilt.
December 20th, 2017 11:25am
This is a very good question and I'm happy to hear that your curious about this. Cutting initially makes you feel better as it is acts as a temporary relief for whatever was making you feel like you needed relief in the first place. However, the effect is only temporary and will not address whatever it is that you needed relief from in the first place. Cutting may only help you cope with strong emotions in the short term and then the bad feelings come back afterwards.
December 29th, 2017 12:22pm
For me I feel that is is the release that feels good and the bad comes from the guilt we feel when society tells us not to. Just a thought.
January 6th, 2018 10:16pm
Self-harming can be a quick release of pain. It is something which can seem to help in the short term but long term it can make you feel worse. We are here for you at 7 cups. Hugs
January 8th, 2018 8:14pm
It probably does this because you have harmed yourself. It may bring a high shortly after because you punished yourself for doing bad.
January 20th, 2018 6:32pm
Because it's as all other bad and unhealthy coping mechanisms it has a brief temporary good effect on you. Then you feel guilty about it and you regret doing it. Cause you're hurting yourself and others even if they may not be aware of your self harm
January 24th, 2018 4:45pm
It releases a temporary feel good chemical, but then, once that goes away, you have pain and sometimes guilt
January 25th, 2018 2:03am
It releases endorphins which makes you feel better but then mentally you feel worse because your brain realizes what you just did.
January 27th, 2018 1:39am
Physical pain makes your brain release the same chemicals as emotional pain, and then a rush of feel-good chemicals to combat the physical pain. After the physical pain is over, the good chemicals go away. Cutting is only a temporary solution to an emotional problem. Emotional problems are better addressed with a long-term commitment to self-love, healing, and forgiveness.
February 7th, 2018 4:40am
In my experience, it is because I need/want to feel something other than numb. So you could be doing it for that reason, and the negative after is knowing you had to harm yourself just to feel something else.
February 8th, 2018 9:29am
Self-harm is very complex and people's reasons for doing it vary greatly. This is my simple view. Someone's drive to self-harm may be that they want a physical representation of how they are internally feeling or that they want to distract from the emotional pain with physical pain or even as a way to escape that overwhelming feeling of nothing that can come with depression or other mental health conditions. Cutting makes you feel better in those first instances because you've found a quick fix to whatever was overwhelming you. Its a distraction, something to focus on, a different kind of pain to what you may already be experiencing. It can be satisfying; something, ANYTHING, that you can control when it feels like the rest of your life is spiralling. But ultimately, cutting makes you feel bad in the long run because we as humans a self preservation instinct; it goes against our nature to hurt ourselves. Once you are out of the overwhelming spiral that leads you to cut, you start to analyse and assess. Deep deep down we know that there are better and different ways to deal with overwhelming emotions or even lack of emotions so we start to berate ourselves for not "coping" in a way that society sees as "appropriate". People who self harm may also sub consciously feel like people around them are judging them if the scars or marks are visible. These negative feelings inevitably contribute to that spiral of wanting to cut again and you end up in the same loop. If you are feeling that self harm is the only option, please have a read of the self-harm pages on the 7 cups site.
February 11th, 2018 3:58am
In my experience cutting was a way to distract myself from the emotional pain with physical pain, I often felt bad afterward because I felt I could have found other ways to deal with my problems rather than cutting.
February 25th, 2018 12:17am
Cutting, or self-harm, can bring about a feeling of release from stress. Cutting can make one feel as though they have some control over their feelings. Self-harm behaviors can become addictive because the feeling of relief afterwards can become rewarding, thus, increasing the likelihood that that behavior will continue. Self-harm is not an appropriate or healthy way to deal with overwhelming feelings.
March 4th, 2018 11:46pm
Cutting or any kind of self-harm can release adrenaline and other hormones in your system which may temporarily make you feel better about any internal emotions you are feeling and making it a physical pain and sensation. It is a harmful coping method, and you could be feeling bad afterwards for a few reasons. After a while you could be feeling bad because the initial adrenaline has gone, and you are left with the same emotions but now with more physical pain and it becomes a cycle. You could also be feeling guilt or shame because of cutting and feel like people may judge you for self-harming. It is important to realise that there are so many people to support you here, and using healthier coping methods such as mindfulness and finding ways of distracting yourself when you feel the urge to cut, can be so important to help you feel better in the long run without the feeling bad afterwards.
March 8th, 2018 12:27pm
because its a method of coping with suicidal thoughts. it hurts afterwards, which is why you should try something else other than self harm
March 21st, 2018 2:16pm
Cutting makes you feel better in the moment because it is taking away that emotional and mental pain and replacing it with physical pain but after it hurts because now you are dealing with physical, emotional, and mental so it all adds up on you.
April 6th, 2018 10:12pm
When you don't know how to handle your emotions, cutting may give you a sense of relief, in an attempt to cope with your feelings. After the act however, you realise that you didn't really want to hurt yourself, and may feel like you've let yourself down. By cutting, you haven't addressed the root of your problems, so you soon go back to feeling the same way, and the cycle repeats. If you are thinking of suicide or have thoughts of hurting yourself call the suicide prevention lifeline (USA) 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-SUICIDE 1-800-799-4TTY (TTY/TTD) Try reaching out to an adult you trust or a professional counsellor, and talk to them about how you are feeling. Here are some referral resources for you: Safe Haven Self-injury support forum and community for self-injurers and their friends/family.
April 7th, 2018 6:32pm
When you cut yourself, you are (usually) trying to relieve some other form of emotional pain and/or a bad memory that plagues your mind. And yes, the acute physical sensation of pain caused by the cutting does, VERY briefly, distract you from that emotional pain. Ironically, it is only a bandaid approach and will never allow the deeper emotional wounds to heal if you never address those. To make things worse, your deepest conscience registers what you have done and then you have added guilt or shame afterward because that part of you, the inner friend that is YOU, knows that hurting yourself is not healthy or fair to you. Cutting also often adds anxiety because you then have to hide the cut marks and this behavior from others around you. Therapy works long-term. Cutting does not. Once you find a better coping strategy, you can free yourself from this cyclical self-harm. We are here for you!
April 7th, 2018 11:52pm
In the moment, cutting gives people this high feeling, sort of like an adrenaline boost. You may want to do it more and more, but once you stop, your logics and morals take over, making you feel bad.
April 18th, 2018 11:17am
When it comes to sensing physical and emotional pain, our brains use the same two areas: the anterior insula, a small patch of neural real estate that’s part of the cerebral cortex behind each ear, and the anterior cingulate cortex, a hook-shaped piece of brain tissue towards the front of the brain. These are the areas in the brain that process pain, regardless of whether we’ve felt the sting of rejection or the sting of a bee. Pain relievers also act on these two areas, regardless of whether someone is experiencing emotional or physical pain. A 2010 study in Psychological Science revealed that the pain relievers such as Tylenol or paracetamol (acetaminophen) helped to relieve the distress associated with social rejection and also decreased activity in the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex. This doesn’t mean that Tylenol is the next Prozac, but it does show just how intertwined emotional and physical pain are in the brain. The problem is that the embarrassment and guilt of cutting, the knowledge that these marks would become permanently tattooed into my skin, and the fears that someone would discover what i was doing, meant that any relief was short-lived. All too soon, I was feeling worse than before, leaving me vulnerable to repeat episodes of emotional pain, followed by even more cutting.
April 20th, 2018 3:56am
Self harm is a coping method, though it is considered a negative one. Negative coping methods have a hurtful impact on oneself or others around them. In this case, cutting has a negative effect on the self-harmer and also the people around them. When the human body experiences pain, it releases its own pain killers, called endorphins. Endorphins also dictate levels of happiness, or that “feel good feeling” that one experiences after cutting themselves. The body rushes endorphins to the pain center in an attempt to reduce pain, so a sort of euphoria can often take place following self harm. However, more often than not, people who self harm can feel very guilty or bad afterwards. They begin thinking about their actions, those actions’ consequences, and all of the bad things that come with self harm. In general, it’s important to find coping methods that make you feel better and good afterwards, not feel better and then bad afterwards, as we often find is the case with cutting. I hope this helped!