Self-harming, a consequence of child abuse



Self-harm can come up as a response to a variety of reasons, and as well as its causes, it can take many physical forms, such as burning, cutting, hair pulling, overdosing, and even poisoning. All of these manifestations of pain may not always be a cry for attention or a suicide attempt, and victims, in many cases, may not even know why they’re doing it. In fact, in many cases, victims do not even realise they’re doing it, as they are “used” to feeling pain and hurt by different sources.

The exact reasons behind self-harming may not always come clear, and in most cases, it is difficult for a professional to identify the issue. It is believed that self-harming is also related to depression, as a person, and in these cases, young people do it through times in which life may not be looking as sharp as they imagined.

When a child has been a victim of sexual or any other kind of abuse, they tend to blame themselves for whatever is wrong around them. So, as a way of punishing and blaming themselves, they turn to evoke pain and harm on themselves for “being the cause” of the situation.

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Among others, the feelings or causes behind self-harming can be described as:

  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Lack of control over life and situations
  • Lack of people to advise them
  • Loneliness

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How can we help?

First, we must not take it personally, as it would only make things worse. If the victim is someone close to us, then concentrate on letting them know how you feel about the situation, talk to them, and show them you come from a place where no judgements will be made. Through a long friendly conversation, you can get all the answers you’ve been looking for.

Discover what’s the reason behind the harm, as we mentioned before, a friendly conversation can only make things better. Listen to the victim, show yourself as a friend, as a person who’s interest on their best. Never judge or reprimand, tell the victim that you’re fully aware of the situation and tell them that self-harm is only a momentary relief of whatever they’re going through. The real exit is far beyond pain.

Help the victim build their confidence again. Plan an activity that will show their hidden talents, praised them of their achievements and make them feel like they’re capable of achieving great things if they only set their mind up for it.