Sometimes an aspect of a person's chaotic internal experience is that feelings and thoughts build up a subjective state of tension or arousal that motivates people to do something to take action to reduce that tension or arousal.Cutting or burning one's self can, apparently, serve such a tension-reducing function. I read an account of a young woman who was consumed with suicidal thoughts which pushed her towards a compulsive feeling that she should end her life.Particularly with regard to severe trauma and abuse, words fail to capture the magnitude of internal reactions.
Such panic interferes with thinking, and makes it harder for people to understand the motives behind self-injury.
Further complicating the matter is the way that self-injury looks like it must be a suicide attempt even though it usually isn't.
Traumatized people sometimes cope with their trauma by dissociating.
Dissociation is a mental and emotional state where the normal unitary experience of consciousness gets chopped up into disconnected parts.
This process of physical expression of inner experience is sometimes called "acting out." One rather impulsive and aggressive form of acting out involves inflicting wounds on one's self with the intention of using these physical wounds as a communications device.
The idea is that there is some rough correspondence between easy-to-see self-inflicted physical wounds and internal and thus invisible emotional wounds.Self-injurers sometimes use this pain sensation to override painful background chatter that fills their minds.For example, they may have been traumatized by a rape experience such that they have PTSD symptoms and constantly be replaying that rape in their minds.Let's unpack these 6 reasons why people self-injure.People sometimes harm themselves because by doing so, they are able to gain a subjective sense of control over chaotic internal emotions and thoughts.An act of self-injury which might make sense if understood as a suicide attempt become all the more difficult to comprehend when the self-injurious person denies that they are trying to kill themselves and is telling the truth. What are they trying to accomplish when they harm themselves?