Common forms of self-injury include, but are not limited to: cutting, burning, picking at the skin, interfering with wound healing, hitting, and biting. Sometimes it is difficult to determine where to draw the line between self-injury and "body modification." It is generally accepted that it depends on the person's reason for the act. (For example, getting a tattoo or a piercing because it "looks cool" is different than having it done because the act itself causes pain.)
A person who self-injures is very, very rarely a danger to anyone else (the exception being violent criminals who, when jailed, turn to self-harm when they can no longer outwardly express their rage on others). Sometimes other people become frightened when they find out that a person they know deliberately inflicts harm on themself. "Wow, if he/she is willing to that to themself, imagine what he/she might do to someone else!" But a person who self-injures is almost never a threat to others; the only person he or she would even think about harming is his or her own self. The internal pain is turned inside out, but never goes any further than the person's own skin.
Self-injury is NOT "attention-seeking." On the contrary, people who self-injure are often very clever in hiding their wounds, and equally clever at making excuses when their wounds are discovered; feline members of households really get a bad rap! Skaters especially can pull lots of clever and seemingly plausible explanations because of the nature of the sport (You'd be surprised at how long I fooled my parents by claiming that my synchro team mates had accidentally kicked my legs or scratched my arms.) Because of the stigma attached to SI, they may even be ashamed of what they are doing. People who are either "careless" in letting their wounds show or who confide in others about their self-harming behaviors are merely asking for help, probably in the only way they know how.
|What is self-injury?||Who does this, and why||If you self-injure...||Friends and family|
|Books on SI||SI in the spotlight||Self-injury links||Mental health links|