The biggest myths about self-injury stem from misinformation. It is very easy to misunderstand self-injury if you do not suffer with the problem yourself. Even many self injurers do not understand exactly why they cut themselves or engage in other types of self-harm. Because of the nature of self injury, people tend to jump to very quick conclusions.
The Biggest Self-Injury Myth
Self Injury is NOT a series of failed suicide attempts, as this article on self-harm and suicide explains. This is one of the biggest self-injury myths. Those who self injure do so more to "cope" than as a way out, a way of dying. It is true that many self injurers contemplate suicide as an extreme option. Many do suffer with the same kinds of illnesses (ie, bipolar, depression, borderline personality disorder) that those who commit suicide do. However self injury is not done with the intention of killing oneself. You can read about the causes of self-injury here.
Self Injury is NOT pure attention seeking - while it may be right that those who do self injure may need attention, calling attention to oneself is not usually one of the reasons why people self-injure. Those who do self injure often do so in such secretive ways that those very close to them have no idea of their problem; which is why their reaction to self-injury disclosure or discovery is one of shock and dismay. Interpreting self injury as attention seeking can only make things worse for the self injurer.
Some Self Injury is minor - goes this myth about self-injury, so it's not that big a deal. Physically minor self-injury does NOT mean that it is not serious. The severity of the person's feelings and reasons behind self-harm cannot be determined by the severity of a cut, burn, etc.
Last of Our Self-Injury Myths
Our final self-injury myth focuses on the mental stability of the self-injurer. After all, the reasoning goes, who in their right mind would want to harm themselves?
Self Injurers are NOT crazy - while many self injurers have psychological problems, such as depression, self injury does not always accompany another psychiatric disorder. Self injury is a problem in its own right and may be regarded by those who have very limited or no experience with self-mutilation to be a sign of craziness. To other people, it may be 'crazy' - to a self injurer, it is the way they live.
To get further insight into the mind of the self-injurer, read these self-injury stories.