Self-Injurers and Their Common Personality Traits
Self-injurers, people who self-injure, do share some common personality traits. Who are these people who self-harm? Read on to find out.
Self-injurers are spread across races, genders and come from different social classes. There are not many unifying factors among people that self injure. Most of them are women, but not all, and most of them begin to self-injure in their early teenage years, but not all. (Yes, there are adults who self-harm) Chances are that more men self injure than we know about, but are less likely to seek medical and emotional support for self-injury. It is not easy to spot the signs of self-injury, as many who engage in the practice are very adept at hiding them.
Personality Traits of the Self-Injurer
People who self-injure generally share these characteristics:
- strongly dislike/invalidate themselves
- are hypersensitive to rejection
- are chronically angry, usually at themselves
- tend to suppress their anger
- have high levels of aggressive feelings, which they disapprove of strongly and often suppress or direct inward
- are more impulsive and more lacking in impulse control
- tend to act in accordance with their mood of the moment
- tend not to plan for the future
- are depressed and suicidal / self-destructive
- suffer chronic anxiety
- tend toward irritability
- do not see themselves as skilled at coping
- do not have a flexible repertoire of coping skills
- do not think they have much control over how/whether they cope with life
- tend to be avoidant
- do not see themselves as empowered
Unfortunately, many people don't understand self-injury. Many think self-harm is simply about getting attention. However, this is rarely ever the case and, generally, not one of the causes of self-injury. People self-injure to relieve tension and unwanted emotions. If someone is committing self-injury for attention, they are probably asking for help and need the attention.
Last Updated: 26 August 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD