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Myths About Self Injury

The biggest myths about self-injury stem from misinformation. What are the biggest self-injury myths? Find out here.

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.

APA Reference
Gluck, S. (2011, November 29). Myths About Self Injury, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, July 12 from https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/self-injury/myths-about-self-injury

Last Updated: June 21, 2019
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Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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