Stories of Why People Cut Themselves?

Readers Shared Stories of Why They Cut Themselves

I received so many of your responses as to why you, or someone you know, cut themselves. I'm blown away. Thank you for taking the time to respond!  I want to keep talking with you about as many reasons as I can find. Why am I doing this? Because helping you to understand why you do what you do, is a great way to start you down the road to recovery. And trust me, every cutter can recover.

The over-arching reason behind why people cut is this: If you are a cutter, you self-harm, causing pain to your body, to try to cover over an even deeper emotional pain. All cutters believe the physical pain they inflict upon themselves gives a temporary sense of relief from the intense emotional pain they are feeling.  I want to uncover a few more reasons why people cut. But keep in mind, you or someone you know, always cuts for some kind of relief. So, let's begin.

People cut to release anger, without hurting anyone else.

Cutting can be a substitute for anger toward someone else (usually an authority figure). Many cutters admit to being in painful or abusive relationships. Most people in abusive relationships feel stuck, or imprisoned, in that relationship. They feel powerless, even though their rage and fear scream out to be released. Cutting gives them that sense of release.

Janet uses cutting to release her anger. Every time I get pushed into walls or thrown on the floor or chewed out for something I didn't do; it makes me go to the bathroom where I keep my knife and I start cutting on my stomach and upper part of my legs, so no one sees it. I wish I knew how to control this. Janet does not understand although cutting herself does give her a feeling of relief, it too, causes her to feel trapped all over again.


People cut to deal with abandonment and loneliness.

Many people cut because they feel so isolated, abandoned, and alone. If you are a cutter, there's a good chance you are also a loner, and what you do is often in secret. You don't feel like you fit in anywhere, and so you fit into your own little world. Cutting brings some pleasure into that little world, giving a sense of purpose and something to do to feel better about your isolation or being rejected. Ashley said she's been a cutter for three years now. I cut myself to ease the pain I feel when I think of my dad. My dad left me on my 11th birthday. He did not say bye, or I love you or see you soon nothing. So, I began to cut my wrist. Then he came back on my 12th birthday drunk and then left two days later. About a week later I asked him why he left, and he said he needed to drink. Then I cut myself every day. Now I am 13 years old, and I still cut myself over him.

Ashley is so lonely and feels so neglected by the man she loves the most. She feels she has no place to turn but to herself, and those fleeting moments of relief cutting offers her. Can you identify with Ashley? I promise you, you or someone you know, most certainly can. There is hope for you.

People who cut may have had a traumatic experience

Living through abuse, violence, or a disaster are all examples of a traumatic experience. Often, when someone has been through a disaster, they become emotionally numb, or shut their emotions down in order to avoid reliving the pain, over and over again. While that seems like a good idea, it is a huge mistake. We are not designed to be emotional zombies, or to be dead inside. In the end, the cutter desperately wants something to help them feel alive. Sadly, cutting may feel like a way of "waking up" from this sense of numbness and emotional death they have put upon themselves. That is why it is so hard for many cutters to turn away from cutting. When they self-mutilate, it's the only time they really feel alive.

Jennifer powerfully describes how she uses cutting to deal with her trauma. As you read her comments, ask yourself, is she describing me? Approximately nine years of continuous sexual abuse has left me with an irreversible impulse to destroy myself in whatever way possible. I hate myself for something that I couldn't control, something that was not my fault, but I don't persecute my abuser, only myself. The plethora of emotions are all turned inward. The scars on my arms are permanent tattoos of worthlessness and pain. I can't cry anymore, so cutting does it for me."

Amber said cutting is not about the physical abuse but the internal. I was molested once when I was younger and again when I was 16 on school property. I never turned the guy in and guilt about it drove me to cut even worse. I became addicted to the relief and escape cutting gave me from not having to feel so dead inside. Cutting may make you feel alive, for a while, but in the end, it delivers its own sense of deadness and worthlessness. In a sense the so-called cure becomes far greater than the sickness.

Other Reasons People Cut:

  • A lack of ability to express feelings
  • To feel in control
  • To cry out for help or get attention
  • Self-hate or they think they deserve it
  • Desperation
  • Because of other mental health problems

You might see yourself in one or many of these reasons. If you do I want you to know you can break free of your addiction. Don't lose hope!

Please continue to tell me your stories. I am moved by your bravery.  Musician Michaela Hatfield shared her story with TheHopeLine.

As you tell your story, you are coming out of your emotional hiding place and saying you don't want these horrible feelings to have control over you any longer.

TheHopeLine Team
For over 30 years, TheHopeLine has been helping students and young adults in crisis. Our team is made up of writers and mental health professionals who care deeply about helping others.
Keep Reading
Start Your Hope Journey Now!
Step 1:  Choose a topic
Step 2: Explore our resources
Step 3: Chat with a hope coach

More Like This

Subscribe Now

We will not share your information and we will only send you stuff that matters!
Quick Links

10 comments on “Stories of Why People Cut Themselves?”

    1. We're listening and want you to know that we care. If you would like to chat online with one of our HopeCoaches about self-harm go to to chat. You matter!

  1. I don't understand why it is universally assumed that people want to feel pain. Am I the only one who doesn't do it to feel the pain? Am I somehow more messed up than everyone else? I don't want the pain. I try to do it as pain free as possible. It's the blood. I just need to see the blood. It's what I can see and feel from watching it, not the actual pain. I know I need to stop and I rarely do it anymore. Actually I hadn't done it in years until a couple of times recently. I'm desperately trying not to go down the rabbit hole again but it calls. Lord have mercy on me.

    1. Thank you for reaching out. We are here to listen and help. We have a partner that will help you with the need to self-harm. Any age can contact them for help.
      • You can text them at at 1-803-570-2061 (Alternative No. 914-393-1904) Texting is available Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday 8:30 – 10:30 EST.
      • Their website is
      • You can email them to (answered in 24/48 hrs)

      Take a chance and reach out to Door of Hope for help. You will be glad you did. They have helped many overcome self-harm.
      Stay Strong…We Believe in You!

      1. I cut myself with a Twink roll on because I have been traumatised at a young age, I am emotionally numb and cutting helps me feel better, my music and friends and family are the only ones keeping me alive right now

  2. Well for me i sometimes feel like i'm numb and I want to feel something other than that so pain (by cutting) is the only way to get out of that depressing "numb stage".

  3. Hmmmm I don't know if this will help me. But I have tried many things and nothing seems to be helping. I used to cut myself alot when I was smaller and t be honest I feel as though I miss it. I think that all my negative emotions are coming back and nothing I say or I do is making things better. For me, cutting is a way out. It makes me feel more than the disgust for my past, current things occurring in my life and it makes me feel a lot better. I miss the moment of pain and instant relief that it gave me. Quite frankly I am trying not to do this again, but how can I stop when it seems as though it is my only way out of how I feel deep inside. As I read many people's post here I get what they say, I get how alone they feel and I get how they feel to close off from everyone. Most people seem to judge us who cut rather than understand..... Sigh I miss the only thing that made me feel alive somehow 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁

  4. my name is chris I cut because I feel lonely and bad about myself always getting made fun of put down by my family and call stupid for the way I talk ive been cutting for 8 years and still do whenever I get into a argument with someone or family I run to my room and grab a knife and slice my arm up and when I do try and stop they all start yelling an making fun of me I even went as far as asking my parent to take me to a therapist and they laughed and said I don't need one im a loner and I cut to relieve stress anger and depression

    1. I love you and please get well soon. I know life looks bleak but honey, one day, you'll get all the happiness you deserve. <3

    2. Hi there, I cannot say that I understand how you feel personally because each of us can go through the same situation, yet they emotions will always be different. However, I can say I have experienced some of what you have mentioned and I know that it sucks like hell. So I am sorry that you have to go through that. Hope you get better though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Tired of The Problem?  Try the Solution.

Privacy Policy / Terms of Use
© 2024 TheHopeLine, Inc. Registered 501(c)(3). EIN: 20-1198064
© 2021 Powered by OxyNinja Core