How To Break Free from Cutting And Self-Harm

Sometimes people hurt themselves when going through an intensely painful time, or when struggling with symptoms of severe mental illness. If you’ve harmed yourself, it’s important to understand why it’s a problem, and what you can do to get help.

What Is Self-Harm?

Self-harm, also known as self-injury, is defined as the intentional, direct injuring of one’s own body, usually without suicidal intentions. Your self-harming behavior could take several forms, but the most common are cutting, scratching, hitting, or biting the skin to deliberately hurt yourself. Most people harm themselves to the point of visible bruising or bleeding, but cover up the signs of their self harm so that it’s harder for their loved ones to notice.

If you self-harm, you are not alone. It’s one of the most common problems we address when people contact TheHopeLine. Some estimates place the number of people who self-harm as high as one in five women, and one in seven men. HealthyPlace reports that as many as 90% of all people who self-harm started doing so in their teens.

Why Am I Harming Myself?

As with any harmful behavior or emotion, your reasons for cutting or other self-harm may differ from someone else’s. But we’ve noticed that many people who contact TheHopeLine engage in self-harm because of:

  • Mental health diagnoses (especially depression) that are not sufficiently treated or managed
  • Traumatic events like a death in the family, or a divorce, that leave people feeling helpless
  • Low self-esteem and self-worth as a result of bullying or abuse

You may be drawn to self-harm out of a desire to control your pain. You may feel so emotionally numb that harming yourself allows you to at least feel something. Or you may feel a sense of release after hurting yourself. The secrecy may also be part of why it keeps happening. If no one notices your pain, you are likely to feel further isolated in that pain, prompting more self-harm.

Why Is Self-Harm Dangerous?

You may have convinced yourself that self-harm is not dangerous, since you are not attempting to kill yourself, and you are not actively hurting anyone but yourself. But self-harm is still a dangerous, risky behavior that you need to get help with immediately. Why?

  • Self-harm could result in more serious injury than you intend.
  • You may be more likely to consider or plan suicide in the future than someone who has never harmed themselves.
  • The cyclical nature of self-harm, and its tendency to temporarily “soothe” means it often becomes an addiction. Addictive behavior puts you at risk of neglecting what’s normally important to you, and damages or strains even your closest relationships.

Breaking Free: Stopping Self-Harm

One of the biggest reasons people continue to self-harm, even when they know it’s dangerous, is fear that they will be judged or condemned by people they care about. At the TheHopeLine, we understand that self-harm is happening because of deep pain, and needs that feel unmet. We’ll never judge you, and we offer a confidential place to get help for cutting, self-harm, and other addictive behaviors. Reach out today to chat with or email a mentor, or request prayer. Help and freedom can start right away.

Need to learn more about self-harm to help yourself or a loved one? Search our library of blogs, podcasts and other resources to find answers to questions like:

  • What Can I Do Instead of Cutting to Feel Better?
  • Does God Still Love Me Even Though I Have Addictions?
  • What Do I Do if I Think Someone I Love is Hurting Themselves?

Most Recent Blogs on Cutting/Self-Harm

Addiction Recovery: What to Do After a Relapse


If you live with an addiction to substances like drugs and alcohol, or harmful behaviors like self-harm or pornography use, it feels terrible to relapse or slide back into those unhealthy patterns after you’ve started on the road to recovery. I’m here to tell you that addiction recovery is never..Read more

I Think I Have a Mental Illness: What Should I Do?


There’s nothing scarier than the prospect of having a mental illness. If you suspect that you may be suffering from a mental disorder, I bet you have thousands of questions and even more concerns. Coping with a mental illness can be terrifying, but you don’t have to do it alone...Read more

How to Break the Silence: I’m Afraid to Talk About My Addiction


Most people know that struggling with an addiction is an uphill battle. But not too many people realize the trauma that comes with revealing that addiction to others. Breaking the silence may feel more difficult than the addiction itself, but talking about substance abuse is an important and necessary step..Read more

Addiction Recovery: Warning Signs of Addiction


If you’re concerned about developing an addiction, or have a history of addiction in your family, it’s good to know the warning signs and get the guidance you need. I want to help by sharing some of the things I’ve learned and observed about addiction and recovery. You Are Not..Read more

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Podcasts about Cutting/Self-Harm :

eBooks on Cutting/Self-Harm :

Stories on Cutting/Self-Harm :

Covered My Pain with an Eating Disorder and Self-Harm


I started out with an eating disorder when I was fifteen-years-old.  I had my first hospitalization at age sixteen. I had twenty-seven more after that…some lasting a year. I’ve also been to a half-way house and day programs. An eating disorder wasn’t enough for me to cover my pain so..Read more

Struggling with Self-Harm: Finding Hope and Help


Self-harm stems from pain so deep it feels as if it is the only way to take away the emotional pain.  If you have been abused, hurt, rejected, abandoned, or experienced anything else that has caused you emotional trauma and you have turned to self-harm to cope…we are here for you...Read more

Sexual Abuse: Scared to Tell My Story


When I found your site I was skeptical at first, I never told anyone about my dilemma. I was scared to tell my story, but knew I needed help. My Story of Sexual Abuse Before I was even five years old my half-brother, who is ten years older than me,..Read more

Abandoned: My Life Now Has Hope


Felt It Was My Fault My Dad Left When my dad left 5 years ago, I started feeling like it was my fault that he left. I have been feeling like this for a long time. These feelings led to depression and anxiety. Abandoned Again Then I started feeling really..Read more

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Free eBook: Understanding a Relationship with God

A guide to understanding the basics of Christianity and a meaningful relationship with God.  Do You Feel Like Life is Meaningless? Are you wondering what your purpose is? Do you have questions about what Christians believe or what it means to be a Christian? At TheHopeLine we believe real and lasting HOPE can only come […]

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