The Self-Harm Triggers of Family, Relationships and Bullying

July 19, 2013 Jennifer Aline Graham

Self-harm triggers include family, relationships and bullying among many others. For me, those three self-harm triggers caused the most trouble. Here's why.

There is always something that triggers the interest, want or need to self-harm. Listing self-harm triggers could go on forever, but after looking around at others who have self-harmed, as well as my own background, I found three major triggers that seem to be factors in the self-harming world. The three self-harm triggers that I noticed popped up the most were family, relationships, and bullying.

Family Self-Harm Triggers

I hate seeing family as being a negative, but a lot comes from having a family – or not having one. There is not really a typical, cookie-cutter family anymore of the two happy parents, two children and a dog who eats meals together and has weekly game nights.

Let’s face it - The Brady Bunch is a rare find these days.

Divorce is more common than any of us would like to think. My self-harming rooted from the depression I fell into when my parent’s got divorced. I did not see it coming and when it happened, my brain switched into a new, strange gear. Things looked, smelled and sounded different and my mind wasn’t sure how to handle these changes. Like I’ve said before, cutting was not something I started on purpose – I’d been overhearing a fight, got a paper cut, ran upstairs, put on a Band-Aid and forgot why I’d been mad in the first place.

Simple as that, my struggle with self-harm began.

There are obviously a lot of other issues within the family structure that play a part in self-harm. Some of these other triggers could be:

- Abuse or Domestic Violence
- Death of a family member
- Neglect
- Constant moving from town to town
- Drug addicted family members

Relationship Self-Harm Triggers

Sadly, relationships control a big chunk of our lives. As teenagers, those crazy hormones start racing and it’s hard not to have a crush on someone or seek a relationship. People like to feel wanted and needed and if family and friendships are out of the picture, a relationship could be the missing piece of the puzzle.

Until it becomes too much to handle.

If you are a self-harmer and you are in a relationship, you could possibly overwhelm your partner because you are so in need of their love and compassion. Sometimes, when you’re putting your all out there for someone, you become blind to other things your partner is doing, which could lead to stressful situations.

Sometimes, it is the other way around. You may distance yourself from everyone, including your partner. In your mind, you may not see it as you distancing yourself from them, but the other person in the relationship.

Other issues that involve relationships could be:
- Sexual, verbal, emotional and psychological abuse
- Cheating
- Drugs and alcohol

Bullying Self-Harm Triggers

Bullying is something that has always happened and is just recently being worked on diligently by teachers, therapists, and other professionals. However, no matter how much work is put into stopping bullies from doing their thing, it will always be out there.

Everyone judges and sometimes those judgments lead to negative actions.

Just recently I talked to a young teenager about issues she’d been having at school before summer had started. She was tired of people laughing and making fun of her for wanting to do well in school and actually enjoying the classes. She continued to say she’s just tired of it and from what I noticed by how she was acting, something about her just wasn’t the same. She’d gone from being a positive, upbeat pre-teen to being someone closed off and insecure.

Things like this could lead to self-harm.

There are so many ways to bully these days, from cyber bullying to pushing people around in the hallways. Sometimes, the worst type of bullying is verbal. People love to put up awful comments or pictures on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram just to attack someone for something so petty.

People need to realize that those jokes and harassing comments could lead to self-destructive behaviors.

You can also find Jennifer Aline Graham on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and her website is here.

APA Reference
Aline, J. (2013, July 19). The Self-Harm Triggers of Family, Relationships and Bullying, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Jennifer Aline Graham

March, 15 2015 at 5:43 pm

I have self harmed a couple of times, I've also seen how it affects my mom. It's not like I like self harming but I guess I only do it when I get really upset or pissed off. But I have not self harmed in a month and a half.

March, 4 2015 at 6:08 pm

I only self-harmed a couple of times when I was a teenager, due to bullying. It was all verbal but it hurt so bad! My mom saw it and I never wanted to see that look of hurt and disappointment on her face again, so I never did it again. Things may have continued if she'd never discovered it. I developed BPD because of it but am now in recovery after doing DBT. Please check out my website: Thank you!

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