Feel self-harm pain

Schnibeln to feel yourself again

Self-harming behavior conceals both a cry for help and a reproach to the environment. For example, those who were neglected, abused or injured as a child and found no help are more likely to harm and punish themselves later. Powerless and helpless, these people take on the accusation of the perpetrator and alternatively direct their anger against themselves, since they cannot direct it against the right addressee and act out it.

It is not uncommon for self-harm to be associated with dependent behavior. Every third woman who injures herself also suffers from eating-vomiting addiction, and self-harm is also relatively common among anorexic girls between the ages of 13 and 17. Eating disorders act as an outlet for relief from unbearable internal pressures, and they are also essentially a form of self-harm. If at some point the negative feelings - fears, doubts, depression, anger - become overwhelming and the internal pressure can no longer be relieved by eating and vomiting, then some people affected need more drastic means. Pain from the past that has not been coped with is practically attempted to work up and reduce through current pain. And only when blood flows do they have the sensation of feeling themselves again. This feeling often occurs with a delay; The wound only hurts minutes or hours later.

Self-injuries are often staged and celebrated like a ceremony: knives and razor blades are accurately spread out on a velvet cloth in a deliberately chosen location, sources of interference are switched off, music plays in the background. It is not uncommon for self-harming women to swing into a trance-like, ecstatic state, which initially makes them feel no pain, but gives them the kick they long for.

Self-injurious behavior (SVV) is not an independent mental illness, but a symptom and expression of a serious mental illness bordering on psychosis, such as a borderline or multiple personality disorder. People with borderline personality disorder know no ego boundaries, and their extreme mood swings often lead to self harm and pain in order to define and physically feel the boundaries between the ego and the world.

Anyone who injures or harms themselves does not generally do so in the open: Some secretly inject urine or drink disinfectant, while others are noticeably prone to "accidents". When girls or women start cutting themselves, scratching their skin with broken glass, scalding themselves, getting burned with lighters and cigarettes, pulling their hair out or breaking their bones, these are signs of intense internal agony and drastic Message to the outside world. Scars are obvious calls for help.

Much that is seen as an early cause of eating disorders also leads to the compulsion to harm oneself: disturbed mother-child relationships, border crossing, sexual and emotional violence, emotional neglect, abuse. According to an American study, 62 percent of those affected were sexually abused in their childhood. Victims can be found in all walks of life. The most prominent self-harm should have been Lady Di. In 1996 she admitted in a television interview that she deliberately cut and scratched herself with razor blades, broken glass or a lemon slicer. Something similar has also become known about actresses such as Romy Schneider and Angelina Jolie.

Self-injurious behavior is a kind of perverted way of taking care of yourself and of taking care of your own "well-being". Because many women who injure themselves have never learned, or at some point forgotten, to understand the signals from their bodies. Not only are they (have become) unable to feel pain and despair, they also no longer perceive hunger and thirst, cold and tiredness. In a sense, you stand next to you, have no home in your own body, are alienated from you and your body, do not have a holistic sense of self.

The great thing that eating disorders and self-harming behavior have in common is the manipulation of their own body: they do not express emotional torments in words, but through actions against their bodies: the conflict with the environment and the outside world is shifted to the body as a battlefield. In this way, self-harm fulfills at least two functions: to bring oneself back into contact with oneself and with one's own body, and to meet one's emotional needs without approaching fellow human beings with openly expressed wishes and demands.

Eating disorders in particular not only have problems recognizing their wishes and needs, but also difficulties in formulating them and expressing them externally. With a wound they arouse at least concern, attention, and compassion, and are likely to receive affection and closeness. After the act of self-harm, there are not only feelings of relief and relief, of pride and even feelings of happiness, as joggers or bungee jumpers know from the release of endogenous opiates, but often also nagging feelings of guilt.

Many of those affected then actively hinder the healing process of the wounds that they have inflicted on themselves. They scrape off scabs, open wounds that are already healing or bite them open again. Those who mutilate themselves in this way also violate the unwritten law of a society that idealizes beauty and flawlessness: the person in question brands themselves and with this (auto) aggressive protest generates attention and pity at the same time, but also distances themselves from the norm.

The open and hidden messages and signals that people with disordered eating send out on the one hand and people who injure themselves on the other are almost identical. Both show through their behavior how badly they have suffered (mentally) damage. An emaciated body, like a deep cut or a festering burn blister, can document outwardly how bad the person concerned is. It also implicitly packs the statement: I treat my body as badly as you treat my soul!

According to the experience of the Göttingen psychoanalyst Professor Ulrich Sachsse and the Bielefeld psychotherapist Luise Reddemann, SVV offers psychotherapies with elements from different directions such as behavioral, body and hypnotherapy. The aim of therapy, often lasting several months, is to help the patient to be able to remember "without suffering from it".