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CM89's avatar

What's your view on adolescent self-harm?

Asked by CM89 (37 points ) November 6th, 2009

Hello,

I’m doing an investigative piece for my university course based on the issues surrounding adolescent self-harm, and was wondering if any of you could give me your views/thoughts on the matter. Why do you think some young people feel the need to self-harm?

Would just like to know what you think!

Thanks.

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34 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Hello,

I think many teenagers do it to gain a sense of control that they do not believe they have when it comes to the rest of their lives. Our bodies are often the only place of rebellion, of exploration, of closure.

avvooooooo's avatar

I agree, its a control issue.

virtualist's avatar

My first concern is the vernacular ‘adolescent self-harm’ . The phrase implies actions wholly directed by- and the responsibility of- the adolescent. Why not first define it in the context of ‘harmful homes’ or ‘harmful parents’ ?

Val123's avatar

It’s very sad to me.

rangerr's avatar

Some do it because they feel they have control over that, whereas they might not have any control over other things in their life.

Others do it to relieve stress by causing a distracting pain [which to them, doesn’t hurt.. it’s relaxing].

I can only speak from personal experience though.. I don’t know what goes on in anyone’s mind other than my own.

Judi's avatar

Here is a recent news article about my son. Dying for Help

wundayatta's avatar

Sometimes you might hate yourself so much, that you have to punish yourself. Other times, maybe you just don’t care about yourself, so when your skin feels itchy, you can itch until it bleeds, or you can skip the itching and go straight to the bleeding. Pain overcomes itching.

Other times, it’s as the others say, the only thing you have control over is yourself. But I think that there is a satisfaction—almost an addictive satisfaction in hurting yourself. I think it might make the world right in some way.

Oh. I see @rangerr has said pretty much the same thing. I’ve not been a self-harmer in a way that people could diagnose me. I just know what it feels like to stop caring about my body. I know when I have given up on trying to restrain myself and I just do all these self-destructive things. I do them even when I’m otherwise feeling good. I don’t know what that’s about. Maybe I just can’t handle things being nice.

rangerr's avatar

@Judi That made me cry. Is his music online anywhere? I’d love to hear it.

Val123's avatar

I wonder how many kids kind of do it as a fad…I mean, I know some of them have serious issues but how many do it a little just so they can say they did it?

RedPowerLady's avatar

Self-harm is often a way of controlling one’s pain. Especially when someone does not have other effective coping techniques or support groups. When you cause yourself physical pain it is under your control and overwhelms the emotional pain one is experiencing. The problem with something like “cutting” is that it is very very difficult for one to stop once they get started.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Judi Wow thanx for sharing :)

smack's avatar

adolescents self-mutilate for a variety of reasons. some do it because they can’t feel anything. they’re numb to the world, and they’re desperate to feel anything at all. others do it because they feel so much emotion that they need to simplify, to bring it all into focus with one overarching pain. still others do it as a way of expressing oneself – not creatively, not at all, but rather a “this-is-how-i-feel”. i stay away from using the term “cry for help” because i know most teenagers who cut – and mean it – aren’t about getting attention. it’s rather a way a way out when all other doors are locked.

Darwin's avatar

@Judi – That sounds very much like my son, except that instead of self-mutilating or cutting, he deliberately sabotages his chances at success. He, too, is bipolar.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

When I was younger a lot of people I knew had issues with self-mutilation. They all had a lot of family issues, most of them either being largely ignored or verbally/emotionally abused by their parents. Cutting, for them, was a way to release their emotional pain in a physical way. Maybe, in those moments when the adrenaline from the pain kicked in, it masked all the emotional pain in their lives.

What often happened with the people I know is that they would become addicted to self-mutilation because of this feeling of release. That’s when it gets really bad: they can’t stop, because it’s the only way they feel they can deal with their problems, even if it is only a temporary solution.

There are also the people who try self-mutilation as an experimental thing, to see what it feels like. Often cutting and other forms of self-harm only become serious when the person’s emotional pain is so great that it outweighs the physical pain. People who usually do this indeed have mental illnesses that make it difficult to think clearly and realize that there are better ways of dealing with their pain.

Judi's avatar

@Darwin ; I know. I have listened to you and felt like we understood each other when ever the issue of dealing with a mental ilness comes up. I guess we’re heart sisters :-)

Darwin's avatar

@Judi – I hope your son continues to do well, and that mine will follow.

Judi's avatar

It’s an up and down hill battle. He now has a great support system that we have set up so I no longer have to handle all his health issues, and can just be his mom. It saved our relationship, although it costs a lot of money.

Likeradar's avatar

@virtualist Because those definitions certainly don’t always apply.

virtualist's avatar

@Likeradar Agreed ! Thanks.

Sarcasm's avatar

looks around Alright. There’ve been enough serious answers.

Why do adolescents cut?
Cause chicks dig scars, dude.

smack's avatar

HAHAAHAHAH sarxxxxxxxx

Judi's avatar

@virtualist ; It was people who thought like you do that made life really difficult. Would you blame the parents if my son had cancer? Mental illness in an ILLNESS! It’s time to get away from the blame game and start dealing with this huge public health crisis.

mclaugh's avatar

i agree with pretty much everyting everyone has said above… but i also think that alot of times it has to do with the chemical imbalances that happen when we go through puberty. i remember when i was 14–15, there were days when i’d just feel so depressed that i would stay in my room, i wouldn’t eat and i’d cry until my head ached,(i’m usually a very happy and outgoing person) for absolutely no reason. i couldn’t understand myself.

virtualist's avatar

@Judi You are entitled and correct to feel that way! I mispoke without learning. I’m learning. Thanks.

Tink's avatar

This is my personal point of view. Sometimes we feel like we are a disgrace to our parents. We feel like our parents wish we were more of how they want us to be and they don’t accept us for who we are. We are constantly fighting with them, all we want is for them to love us the way we are. And if hurting ourselves is the only way to get them to pay attention to us we will strive to reach that goal. Nothing is worse than having your parents tell you, ”why can’t you be more like him/her?!” Everyone has different stories, either physical abuse or emotional abuse. People judge but they don’t know the reason behind why we do what we do. It’s not funny when someone calls you over emotional, everyones feelings are different. You just have to understand.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Tink1113 I hate that so many parents are unaware of the amount of emotional harm they inflict on their children.

Tink's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir So do I. But what I hate even more is that they try to make up for it. The memories will never go away no matter what you do.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

Hmm, I dealt with my emotional distress like everyone else in my generations did as a teen, we drank booze and smoked dope. When things got really bad, we dropped acid or snorted uppers and downers.

Tink's avatar

Been there, done that. Like many other things, it only lastes a while. Then you go back to the real world.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

@Tink1113 It is indeed really sad that a lot of teens’ problems come from their parents. But in my opinion, parents aren’t always really to blame. In spite of how it might seem from all we hear about terrible parenting (The lady who let her baby fall in front of an oncoming train, for example) I feel that most parents really do have their childrens’ best interests in mind, they just don’t know how to deal with them in the correct way.

This happened to me growing up as it did for many people. My father often inflicted emotional harm on me, and I thought terribly of him for it. But after a while it came to me that he was just a human being, as flawed as anyone else. I was expecting him to be the kind of father I wanted – a perfect father – which was unfair to him. Now I’ve learned to accept his flaws, even when he does hurtful things—I know he loves me and doesn’t want to hurt me.

Of course, when you’re an emotional teenager with all sorts of other problems, it’s hard to see that clearly. You want someone to blame, and parents make pretty good scapegoats for your problems…

Tink's avatar

@ParaParaYukiko I just need to know my mom loves me. But all I get is punishments from her…

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

@Tink1113 not to judge, but drinking and drugs at your age????????

Tink's avatar

@Psychedelic_Zebra I don’t drink, but yeah I’ve done drugs. Nothing hard, though.

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