Thursday, February 02, 2006

Self-Injury, Self-Harm, Self-Inflicted Violence, Self-Injurious behavior, or Self-Mutilation

Self-Injury, Self-Harm, Self-Inflicted Violence, 
Self-Injurious behavior, or Self-Mutilation
(Jewish Survivors of Childhood Sexual abuse, Incest, Sexual Assault, Rape)

We all react in differently to various situations. We all find ways of coping and dealing with the fears, hurt, anger and grief, emotional physical and sexual abuse leaves us to face.

Approximately 1% of the population has, at one time or another, used self-inflicted physical injury as a means of coping with an overwhelming situation or feeling.

Am I Self Harming?

This may appear to be a strange question. But some people may not be sure that what they are doing actually is this. So, to clarify what is meant by self harm/injury i have broken it down to a few small paragraphs.

If you cause physical harm to yourself so that you are causing tissue damage. Things like bruising, breaking the skin or leaving marks that last for longer than a couple of hours. You don't cut to kill yourself.

If you cause this harm to yourself when you are trying to deal with unpleasant, difficult or overwhelming emotions, obsessive thoughts, or when you are dissociated.

If you often think about self harm/injury even when you're feeling calm and not upset/angry/emotional even though you may not be physically thinking about doing it right now.

The first two are indications of self harm/injury, and the last indicates that you may be compulsive.

Many psychiatrists and psychologists suggest that this way of dealing with pain and trauma is because that somewhere along the line, you didn't learn good ways of coping with overwhelming feelings. Some doctors had a theory that it was mainly people who had been abused as children who did this, but as time has gone on it has been proved that these people make up only a small section of those who cut.

From talking to people who do cut on a regular basis i have come to realize that the reason they do feel the need to harm themselves is because it brings a rapid relief from tension, stress and emotional pain.

Disclaimer: Inclusion in this website does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement. Individuals must decide for themselves if the resources meet their own personal needs.

Table of Contents: 

Jewish Resources



  1. About Self-harm
  2. Bill of Rights for People Who Self-Harm
  3. Common Myths about Self-Injury
  4. Books

Also See:
  1. Choosing Inpatient Treatment: When Good Choices Help and Bad Choices Hurt by Nancy Shaufele (1995)
  2. Eating Disorders and The Jewish Community
  3. Resources for Jewish Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse
  4. Jewish Male Survivors Of Sexual Violence
  5. Women's Issues: Survivors of Sexual Violence in Jewish Communities

Secular Resources

  1. American Self-Harm Information Clearinghouse (ASHIC)
  2. National Self-Harm Network  Based in London, England - We are a survivor-led organisation, founded in 1994. We are committed to campaigning for the rights and understanding of people who self-harm.
  3. SIARI Self-Injury & Related Issues  Offering hope, support, and enlightenment to those who self-injure, their kith and kin, and those who work alongside people who hurt themselves.
  4. Self-injury: You are NOT the only one 

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