Is inflicting pain upon yourself your MO?
April 5, 2012
Some of you know exactly what I am saying and others might wonder what I am speaking to, but in truth, it all comes down to: what are you attempting to accomplish in the present moment? Is it joy and acceptance or pain and acceptance?
I just recently spoke to a client who decided that he wasn't good enough because he failed to fulfill a task in a timely manner so to justify his situation, he needed to inflict pain on himself and his modality of choice was to cut himself with a knife.
The bleeding represented not only pain but also justification for his inability to fulfill an obligation. It may sound like lunacy to some of you but for those who choose those acts it is not. Rather it is a form of compensation for feeling less than normal, accepted or even deserving of love. That fact may sound hard to believe but nonetheless, it is a truth and reality. Everyday, people are inflicting pain on themselves, for no other reason than they do not feel worthy to be accepted and loved. It is almost like a release valve - a need to release the stress that they are feeling at that particular moment.
I think this belief stems from an experience in early childhood and continues for years because it has not been rectified. Self-harm is a coping mechanism that has been experienced since the beginning of time but it is most prevalent today because we are more aware of its far reaching implications and also because through the information highway, it is a news worthy topic that is being openly discussed. The basis of this problem is not so much about the infliction of physical harm and pain (which is definitely apparent) but more about the emotional reasoning behind the infliction.
One fact is relevant the infliction of pain is intentional. I am speaking to those people who do not want to end their lives but rather choose to find a coping mechanism to deal with it. No matter how you address it or approach this topic, it is nonetheless disturbing.
As I was researching this topic, I found in a recent UK study with a community sample (Hawton, Rodham, Evans and Weatherall, 2002), 6.9 per cent of a school population of 15 and 16 year olds had engaged in an act of deliberate self-harm in the previous year. Only 12.6 per cent of these episodes had led to a hospital visit. These figures are similar to those from a US sample (Centers for Disease Control - Attempted Suicide among High School Students - United States 1990).
I believe part of my message here is to understand the fine line between a healthy and robust human being and one who is fragile and vulnerable to the
words and body language of others.
We all have feelings and sometimes our emotions run away with us but the difference here is in discerning the distinction between the two and identifying those individuals who fit into that mold. We tend to be oblivious to other people's feelings and that is unfortunate. Maybe it is time for each one of us to start becoming aware of some basic fundamentals of life and start becoming conscious of the way we act react and respond towards others. Compassion first starts with self I have said that so often. But I will say it again we cannot feel compassionate towards another if we lack it towards self.
So today, I invite you to begin expressing true compassion a sense of caring and sharing with yourself and then see how those feelings spill out towards your family members, your neighbors and your community. Only then can we as members of a larger world order begin to share those feelings with others. I would much rather
give someone a hug than see them inflict pain upon themselves because they feel inadequate. Awareness is the first step toward enlightenment.
Joan Marie Ambrose