Self-Harm and the Fascination with Pain

December 7, 2013 Jennifer Aline Graham

Whether it be cutting, bruising, burning, head banging or picking, one thing is for sure – pain is involved. Gross or not, some self-harmers are interested in blood and tissues and use self-injury to redirect his or her focus. Some self-harmers like the feeling it gives them because it allows their internal pain to be released. Like I’ve stated in the past, self-harm redirected me to something else to worry about – the mark, the pain, covering the cut with bracelets or make-up.

No matter what the reason is behind why those who self-harm do what they do, pain is a main focus.

The Fascination That Doesn’t Disappear

This past week, I got my arm grabbed and twisted when at work. The youth who did this was very strong and when he let go, it left my arm very swollen and bruises immediately started showing. I went to get it checked out and luckily it wasn’t broken or sprained – just very swollen and very bruised.

I’ve always had a weird interest in bruises. I’ve always pushed those I find on my bodyThose who self-harm seem to have a continuous interest in pain even without realization.and if a friend has one on their arm, I tend to push the bruise just to annoy them (yes, I’m that friend). It has been something I’ve always done without thought and since I got this injury, I’ve started wondering:

For those who have stopped self-harming, does the fascination with pain ever go away?

I wonder if my tendency to pick randomly or push bruises are linked to my past of self-injury. Even when the self-injurious behaviors stop, it seems that our bodies are still attached to the idea of pain. I wonder if even though I haven’t cut in over five years, my body still seeks out self-injurious behaviors without my realization?

The body is a magnificent thing and I think it sometimes has more power than we think.

Recognize the Messages Your Body Sends

When our body is getting sick, you may start getting a sore throat a week or so before a full-out cold begins. When you forget to drink your daily coffee, you may get a headache from the lack of caffeine (that may mean you have a coffee addiction, which I understand).

So, when you want to rip off a scab or pick some old skin, stop yourself before you regret it.

The quicker you recognize your post self-harming behaviors, the more you will be able to catch yourself. However, this doesn’t mean it will be easy. It is hard to break, like any other habit. I still find myself reaching for my bruised arm and when I catch myself, I get irritated. It’s extremely hard to stop yourself from doing something you are used to, like any kind of addiction.

When you realize what behaviors need to be changed, the more likely you are to become successful with it.

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APA Reference
Aline, J. (2013, December 7). Self-Harm and the Fascination with Pain, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 19 from

Author: Jennifer Aline Graham

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