There are so many wrong myths and untrue bits of advice out there about self-harming that I thought I would lay a few of them down to rest once and for all. While none of these facts about self-harming will apply to every situation they are the most common reasons, causes and stats. This post is not meant in any way to condone self-harming or promote it. This post is here to help other people understand and tell the truth from all the fiction…
Myth One: Self-Harming Is Attempted Suicide
This is simply not true and surveys over the years have proven that most people who self-harm are not suicidal at all, in fact, they are often not even depressed when they do it! I will get into the reasons people do it further into this post but just know that it’s not always black and white and while stats show us its not attempted suicide, there are some people who might eventually lead to that path without help and guidance.
Myth Two: Self-Harming is Only Done by Confused Teenage Girls
Now, this is what is commonly called an utter load of rubbish. In fact, there are rising numbers of self-harmers in the OAP age range as more and more of the population fall into that age bracket and loneliness becomes a problem (for both men and women). While most stories you hear about are indeed teenage girls, its sadly something all ages, all sexes, all sexual types and all walks of life can suffer with.
Myth Three: Self-Harming is Little More Than Attention-Seeking
Most people who self-harm will do it on places on their bodies that no-one will ever see (legs, stomach, tops of arms). Self-harming will often bring people negative attention and that is the last thing they need. It’s often not about people seeking attention, but it’s mostly people who need a lot more positive attention than they want.
Myth Four: People who Self-Harm can Stop Anytime they Like
While I am sure people who self-harm would often like to think that the truth is self-harming can be oddly addictive. Without intervention, it can get to the point where the self-harmer needs to do it just as much as a drug addict needs their next fix. It can become not only an obsession for some people, to some, it can also a way of life!
Myth Five: All Counsellors Can Deal With Self-Harming
The biggest problem with this myth is that there are so many different things that might cause someone to self-harm in the first place. While most people believe self-harming is just something only people with BPD do (Borderline Personality Disorder) the reasons are almost as endless as the way a counsellor can be trained and offer therapy to you. It’s about finding the right Counsellor for you and that might mean you have to look around a bit before you find the right one for you, even if that means you have to try a new one every other week.
Myth Six: Self-Harming Is Only a Problem For the Self-Harmer
While in some cases that might be true for most people self-harming can affect the whole family, especially younger siblings. Some people who self-harm use it as a way to manipulate others, like those in abusive relationships. Self-harming can be a much bigger issue for a family than you might think and it has been known to tear families apart.
Myth Seven: People Self-Harm to Cause Pain to Themselves
While it doesn’t sound like it should work like that some people self-harm to ground themselves or bring their stress-levels down. Whatever anyone likes to admit it or say it, self-harming can sometimes do more good than it does harm. Please note that I am not condoning it, I am just someone who understands it.
Myth Eight: Self Harming is Just People who cut Themselves
There are so many ways to self-harm that a list would take me all night to type out! From over-eating to under-eating, burning and even self-punching. People self-harm in many different ways and often it can go unseen and unnoticed through their whole life.
Myth Nine: Some Groups of Friends do it Together
If you know your friend is self-harming and you don’t inform someone that it is happening you can no friend at all. It’s not a question of respecting their privacy, it’s about being a good enough friend to know when your BFF is calling out to you and needs you to help them.
Myth Ten: People who self-injure are violent
Studies have shown us that self-harmers are often the lest violent and physically passive types of people who are self-harming because they need to express themselves a lot more than what they are doing. Turning your aggression inwards is not good for anyone and its best to deal with it head on than bury it and let it simmer.