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Myth-Buster | Self Harm

Updated: Jan 23, 2019

Do you have someone in your life struggling with self harm? When we encounter someone who self harms, it can be confusing and a little frightening. Why would someone want to hurt themselves when humans are wired to run from pain? Self harm is a coping response to emotional pain and/or trauma and it is often misunderstood. Here are three common myths about self harm and the truths behind them.

Only girls self harm…”

It is often assumed that self harm is limited to teenage girls cutting themselves but males struggle with it too but it might look different. Self harm can include hair pulling, punching walls, burning, cutting, self poisoning, deliberately getting into fights and more and it will look different for each individual.

“They only do it for attention…”

For the majority of people who self harm, it is a personal act not a public one - a coping mechanism that they hide for fear it will be taken away from them, or that people won’t understand or they will get in trouble. A small number are seeking attention but we shouldn’t view that negatively. If a person feels so unseen that they resort harming themselves to get our attention then they need help and we need to support them however we can.

“They must be suicidal…”

It is true that many who commit suicide have also self harmed but the majority of self harmers don’t end up attempting suicide. Someone who is suicidal has an intention to die, for most people who self harm it is way of coping with life, a means to keep on living - it can help a person feel something, feel alive when everything else is numb.

LIVEmpowered has resources to help those dealing with self harm or supporting someone who is struggling. Please contact us at info@LIVEmpowered.org for more information.

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