The Self-Injury Secret

The self injury secret1.


As a licensed professional counselor for many years, I have had the privilege of working with some of the most amazing people. I am always humbled by their experiences and the opportunity I have to sit with someone and help them overcome life difficulties. I sometimes get the chance to work with people with a very specific deep secret. It is the secret of self-injury. This secret can be quite hidden and on first glance, you may not even know. This post will teach you about why some people self-injure and the ways they do it. You will find out warning signs to be aware of and what to do to help yourself or someone else struggling with the secret of self-injury.


There are many reasons why people harm themselves. It does not always mean they want to kill them self at the same time it is a way of coping. Self-injury can be a way of coping with feelings of guilt and shame, isolated, dependence, stress, anger, being treated unfairly by others and hurt. It can serve as a distraction from dealing with many other emotions, thought, and ideas that are bothering them. They may not feel in control of their life and cutting helps them to feel more in control.

Additional reason why people self-injure:

  • Get feelings out that they don’t know how to express
  • It can also serve as a way to release tension and stress
  • Sometimes people feel empty or numb
  • A form of self-punishment
  • Low impulse control


Self-injury includes anything you do purposefully to cause harm to yourself. People use many methods to self-injure here are few listed below:
  • Cutting or scratching self
  • Punching hard objects and self
  • Burning
  • Ingesting poisonous substances and inappropriate objects
  • Sticking objects in skin
  • Headbanging
  • Throwing body against objects and things
  • Binge-eating and binge drinking
  • Unsafe sex
  • Reckless driving
  • Taking large amounts of mediation/prescription medications.

If you or someone you know is doing this do not judge but help them.


People sometimes hide their self-injury from others to keep it a secret. This creates guilt and shame. This guilt and shame can sometimes lead to more pain and self-injury. While some people keep it a secret, others intentionally leave clues as a silent outcry for help.

Things to look out for:

  • Scars and wounds on different parts of the body
  • Blood on tissues, towels, napkins
  • When asked they may say they are clumsy and frequently have accidents
  • Frequent isolation and irritability
  • Where covering clothing in hot/warm times of the year
  • Items like razors blades, knives, razors and other sharp items that could cause harm to the body tucked away out of site or in odd places
  • Long periods of time spent alone in bedroom and bathroom.


Learning how to overcome the urges of self-injury are so important. Learn how to deal with their emotions and figure out what is really bothering them can change everything. Learning healthy ways to overcome the negative emotions frees them up to new positive opportunities. They no longer have to live with the secret of self-injury. I’m not saying it’s super easy it does take time. Be patience with them. Support them as they face the fear. Change does not come overnight. If it is not dealt with it could potentially open the door to more dangerous behaviors.
It is so very important to get help instead of suffering in silence. The self-injury provides a temporary relief to an otherwise ongoing issue. Learning healthy ways to overcome the self-injurious urges is essential. It’s key to know how to handle the different stressors, emotions, and situations that come their way.


Change your perspective and your actions to something more positive. Self-injury can cause more separation from family and friends, guilt, shame, stress and so many other negative side effects. You don’t have to be an expert at knowing how to handle everything that happens to you. It helps a lot to use healthy alternatives when things get difficult. I know this is not always an easy thing to do. Don’t give up!

Healthy switcharoos you can do:

  • Draw, paint, color (sometimes people even do this on themselves, using a red marker or bright colors keep it non-toxic if you do this!)
  • Explore and label your feelings, ex. I am feeling …
  • Write in a journal
  • Create a positive playlist of music
  • Find positive quotes of Pinterest
  • Mini dance parties
  • Watch funny movies
  • Sip some calming tea
  • Play with a pet
  • Talk with a friend
  • Go for a walk
  • Find a healthy distraction
  • Do something opposite of the unhealthy action or thought
  • Phone a friend
  • Chew something with a very strong taste, like sour candy and peppermint
  • Seek counseling –seek out professional help to address your concerns.



S.A.F.E. Alternatives (Self-Abuse Finally Ends) Information Line: 1-800-DONT CUT

To Write Love on Her Arms

Self-Harm information

Cornell University

Self-Injury Outreach and Support

Suicide Prevention 1.800.273.TALK (8255)

Text START to 741741


Experience this kind of personal growth by contacting us at @  FHC.
Flourishing Hope Counseling PLLC is a Kingsville, Texas Private Practice.


Photo above It’s national self-injury awareness day by Carlie Kiggans and is licensed by (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)