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These are exaggerations of normal states of mind—everyone has felt blue at sometime or another—everyone has felt euphoric or energized at least once.
Though loose, psychotic-style thinking is not something that everyone has experienced directly, at least the idea that people can experience hallucinations and delusions is familiar to most.
This basic understanding is not often there when people are confronted with someone who is cutting or burning or otherwise traumatizing themselves.
People don't have good reference points to use so as to understand what motivates self-injury or what people who self-injure are trying to accomplish.
Let's unpack these 6 reasons why people self-injure.
People sometimes harm themselves because by doing so, they are able to gain a subjective sense of control over chaotic internal emotions and thoughts.
An act of self-injury which might make sense if understood as a suicide attempt become all the more difficult to comprehend when the self-injurious person denies that they are trying to kill themselves and is telling the truth. What are they trying to accomplish when they harm themselves?
The following list of 6 motivations seems to cover most of the common scenarios that people who self-injure describe.
We're all familiar with the idea that it is painful to experience pain sensations.
By cutting themselves, they are able to refocus their attention on the pain of the cut and for a short while, experience relief from the rape trauma.
A variation on the theme of regaining control, is the idea that people self-injure as a means of releasing tension.
What people may not realize is that it is also painful to not feel anything.
Dissociated people who feel largely emotionally numb are often in great pain of a sort.
Self-injurers sometimes use this pain sensation to override painful background chatter that fills their minds.