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The inner personal feelings of a 'cutter'

Updated on March 11, 2012

Cutting is an interesting thing. It seems so self-destructive, so hateful to oneself. Why would anyone want to scar their bodies, make taut, shiny white marks across perfectly formed skin? Why would anyone want to purposely cause their own blood to drip and puddle on the floor, drop by agonizing drop?

Because it is a form of control.

Everything else is spinning out of control: you can't control your parent's fighting, the stress of schoolwork, your job, maybe the way the kids at school treat you -- just life in general. You can't control the way you react to situations, the strength of your anger or joy or inner pain. You can't control your fears and ecstasies. You can't control any of this, but there is one thing you can control: the razor.

You can control how deep it slices, and how much physical pain you can handle. You can control how long you have to deal with it, or how often you do it. You can control the healing process: bandaging it up and hiding it, or letting the wounds show and watching the reactions of people around you. This is yours, and yours to control.

That is why people cut.

It is impossible to force a person to stop doing anything, especially anything that they may find empowering (no matter how destructive it actually may be). Therefore, the only way a cutter will stop cutting is if they come to the conclusion that it is harmful to themselves and choose to do so of their own will.

This does not mean nagging or guilt-tripping a cutter. This does not mean crying or sobbing about how their actions are hurting you. This does mean that (if they are underage) arranging for a licensed, well-regarded therapist and perhaps accompanying psychiatrist may be helpful.

Do not be a nosy parent and try to find out what goes on in the sessions; if the therapist is at all worthwhile, they won't tell you. There are confidentiality laws, and a patient-doctor trust that should not be violated.

If they are an adult, this means loving and supporting them regardless of the situation, and doing what is best for YOU -- just as you would in any relationship that you found had it's negative points. Weigh what you find to be most important, and how this measures on that scale. Is it worth the fight?

Cutting can be a form of self-identification. It can be a way of controlling your emotions; a way of controlling a world that seems uncontrollable. It's something that's not so terrifying in a world that is very terrifying.

An article on Self Injury at Focus Adolescent

The Health A - Z description of Self Injury


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    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      Very profound hub, with sage advice. I have someone in my life who struggles with this and I could never really wrap my head around why. You just helped me understand a little more. Well written.

    • HowToLoveOne profile image

      Joshua Pine 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Awesome article. I went through a phase between ages 14-16 where I was heavy into cutting. I was very secretive about it and thankfully after a little therapy and a better social infrastructure I moved past that phase. There definitely seems to be a lot of misunderstanding on this subject to outsiders. I hope this article will reach concerned outsiders that want to help cutters.

    • stylezink profile image

      stylezink 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA.

      Very good description. And agree that it is all about control and until that person decides to keep help or realizes what it's all about then they won't be able to stop. I used to be a cutter.. but I'm years away from that now. I'm glad that I have left that in my past.

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 7 years ago

      good description and answer-honest. I had a friend who was, well many I've known who do or did, she got her cat to attack her so she wouldn't be blamed or at least it appeared that way. Not pleasant but good to know these things.

    • profile image

      onceuponatime 8 years ago

      Quoting bobbie8girl: "one cut and everything i need out will go." That's it exactly. EXACTLY. I cut my wrist once during a very bad time in my life. Everyone thought I had attempted suicide but that wasn't it at all. I was just in so much pain that I thought I was going to crack open. Cutting was a release. It felt like a wonderful release, and even seeing my blood dripping out was pleasurable. Sounds crazy, I know. Because it was seen as a siucide attempt I had to spend three days in the psych ward, which turned out to be a good thing. I got help and I'm better now, and I would never do that now in my present state of mind. But I do understand the feelings of why cutters do it. There is such a stigma against mental illness and people don't think the same of you anymore after something like that happens. I know that cutters lose friends because no one wants to deal with their problems. It's a lonely place which makes the pain and isolation worse. Therapy is a good idea so a person has another outlet to release their pain. Then maybe the need to cut will lessen.

    • that one girl profile image

      that one girl 8 years ago from Washington state


      If you are having trouble controlling your cutting, go to therapy. Like anything that can be okay or stress-relieving in moderation, too much cutting is definitely a bad thing.

      Therapy is not failure. Too many people see therapy as an admission of failure, as a step down. Therapy is a tool for people with issues like ours to learn to deal with life.

      If therapy isn't working for you, find a new therapist. Sometimes it's as simple as that.

      If you can't afford therapy, look up your local NAMI or NIMH support groups. Talk to a school counselor, or a youth pastor or whatever it is that floats your boat. Whoever you trust, whoever helps you feel steady and safe again.

      Just don't give up. If all else fails, keep a journal and remember that this too will pass.

    • profile image

      bobbie8girl 8 years ago

      im a cutter. cutting is addictive i cant control anytrhing around me, losing friends, family the stress, the oly way i know how is the way im solving it. i try my hardest not to but everytime i fall hard its the only awnser for me no one understands. your article captured how i feel alot but for some people there to far in to quit. this is what will kill me but i cant stop. there are so many places on the human body to cut. i know ways to hide it so no one will know. like my tigh thigh. i used to cut my arms marks going all the way up them always worried someone would see them but then i stopped with help form a friend. ji move3d and i see myself going back to the way things used to be and theres nothing i can do about it. but now that i have found other places that are easier to hide. theres no hope, no worry, just a release of stress. one cuit and everything i need out will go. its hard to fight. i try and fail if anyone is thinking about cutting dont. it will be one of the biggest mastkes of your life.

    • that one girl profile image

      that one girl 9 years ago from Washington state

      Thank you for your comments.

      Veronica: I am sorry you are leaving; I myself have only been signed up for a few weeks, and wrote most of my articles in the first week or so. This was put up yesterday . . . I just haven't been on in awhile. I took your advice and added some links and whatnot.

      Lacyleathers, that is a scary thing. I hope your son gains control of himself and his actions and realizes the effect he is having not just on himself, but on his loved ones. I wish you well.

    • lacyleathers profile image

      lacyleathers 9 years ago from US

      Thank you for your answer...I'm trying to understand as I have a son who is a cutter...he is also an addict. We have been through the 'sessions'....many... and treatment both in patient and not...

      This is a terrifying me the parent...I feel lost and helpless..... I came home to an office that looked as if someone had been son almost was by his own the time he arrived at the hospital...only 2 pits of blood left...he let it go too far.

      You are correct in that you can't help someone who desn't want help....but what ascary proposition for a parent of a barely 18 year old with so much life ahead....

      Thank you for your article.

    • Veronica Bright profile image

      Veronica Bright 9 years ago from Nebraska

      Good article. Should add more information, links to organizations, etc.

      This is my last comment as no one on my friends list reciprocates although I comment often.

      Good Luck