Why Do People Cut Themselves?
From the perspective of a person who isn’t affected by depression, it might be difficult to understand why people cut themselves? A recognized psychological response, self-harm chiefly affects adolescents and young adults. It is chiefly characterized by a propensity to intentionally destroying body tissue, whether it be by cutting, burning or any other method of damage. Demographically, adolescents and young adults are more prone to cutting themselves than any other group, which is a telling statistic in trying to understand the behavior. Below are some of the most widely accepted reasons for why people cut themselves among psychological experts.
Contrary to popular belief, “cutting” isn’t actually considered a psychological disorder. As opposed to being classified as a mental condition, the medical community defines cutting oneself as a behavior. In short, it is believed to be a response to underlying psychological factors.
People who cut themselves often do it to keep emotions in control. Experiencing severe emotional distress creates a high level of tension for just about everyone. Those who cut themselves often find that the action itself is a way of releasing that tension immediately. By taking intangible emotional stress into the physical world through self-injury, people who cut themselves find that they can effectively put a temporary stop on the psychological pain or stress they’re feeling.
In accordance with the tension relief theory, it has been found that past trauma is a key trigger for self-harm. Typically, everyday stresses do not trigger a behavior as severe as cutting oneself. It takes true distress and a feeling of desperation to engage in self-harm. The act is, in a sense, a coping mechanism developed and cultivated by not knowing how to deal with trauma any other way.
People who cut themselves aren’t necessarily crying out for help. Though the behavior is often seen as a way of reaching out to others, the fact that many people who cut themselves make efforts to hide it says otherwise. People who cut themselves often express feeling of shame and embarrassment after the behavior is revealed. It is seen as a very private act of relief.
For many, self-harm is closely tied with the issue of control. The feelings of distress and pressure that are associated with cutting are also closely tied to a sense of losing control over. To them, cutting restores that feeling of control, as the action and its effects are so immediate and visible. For this reason, people might feel the need to cut themselves just to regain self-assurance in one small aspect of their lives.