How to deal with people who cut themselves

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

How to deal with people who cut themselves

What is the best way to deal with people who cut themselves?
Should you just hide sharp objects to prevent them from injuring themselves?
Or should you keep them under monitor to prevent them from cutting themselves?

In fact these solutions will never work until you get a deep understanding of self harm. In my previous article How childhood experiences affect adulthood i said that any abnormal behavior usually results from being exposed to certain situations during childhood and that self harm is no different.

In order to be able to deal with people who cut themselves you must get a deeper understanding of their psychology so that you know what motivates them to get involved in self harm

Dealing with people who cut themselves

People cut themselves for the following reasons:

  • They want to feel in control: Many of those who injure themselves intentionally do it to feel in control over their lives. Just as some compulsive buyers shop to feel in control some people cut themselves to regain the sense of control they lost in their lives. In order to deal with people who cut themselves to feel in control you must help them discover this fact then allow them to develop a plan that lets them feel in control over their lives
  • People cut themselves to get attention or as a cry for help: Some people cut themselves in order to get the attention of their parents or of their family if they felt neglected. Sometimes self harm represents a cry for help that the person makes in order to force his family members to support him. In order to deal with people who cut themselves because of those two reasons you need to give them the attention they need if you were absent or to make them see things correctly if you were already taking care of them
  • People cut themselves to relief stress: When someone cuts himself endorphins are released which monetary reduces the feelings of stress. Dealing with people who cut themselves because of stress is simple, you just need to help them reduce the stress they are subjected to and help them learn new stress management skills
  • People cut themselves when they feel guilty: Some people injure themselves intentionally because of believing that they deserve it. In such a case you need to help those people deal with the accumulated guilt they are feeling in order to prevent them from relieving it through cutting themselves.

Dealing with people who cut themselves is all about understanding them

Just as you saw each person might be cutting himself for a different reason and in order to deal with a person who cuts himself you must understand that specific reason.

Self harm is always a sign of a bigger psychological disturbance that is happening below the person's skin and unless you spot that disturbance and help the person deal with it he will keep harming himself no matter what you do to prevent him from doing injuring himself.

When trying to help someone who cut himself don't confront him with any of the above reasons directly because his ego will prevent him from believing in your words and he might become completely defensive. Instead, when dealing with a person who harms himself you need to allow him to talk freely and to let him express his unmet needs and problems without suggesting reasons for his behavior.

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