Why Do I Feel Like Hurting Myself When I'm Mad?

September 15, 2022 Kim Berkley

If you've ever asked yourself, "Why do I feel like hurting myself when I'm mad?" know that you are not alone.

I Used to Hurt Myself When I Was Mad

The typical mental picture of someone who self-harms is someone who feels sad or hopeless. Maybe they're crying; maybe not. It's not entirely inaccurate—I was often that person, back when I self-harmed—but it's not always right, either.

Sometimes when I felt like hurting myself, I was mad. Usually, it was because the person I was mad at was me. I was angry with myself for not being who I was "supposed" to be, the person I thought I should be. I was frustrated that I'd fallen short of expectations—expectations which were usually my own and often unrealistic.

I hurt myself to punish myself, but also because it was easier to hurt physically than emotionally. Anger, just like sadness or fear, can be overwhelming. Self-harm can sometimes seem like your only option to vent anger that you might feel you have no other outlet for.

If You Feel Like Hurting Yourself When You're Mad, Try These Things

The thing to remember is that self-harm is not your only option. There are other, healthier ways to express your anger.

I've found the following more helpful than hurting myself when I'm mad:

  • Journaling about my feelings until I reach a more balanced state of mind
  • Creating art that expresses my anger
  • Singing along to angry music until I begin to get tired of it—then gradually listening to happier tunes until I'm calmer
  • Talking it out with someone, especially if it was their behavior that made me angry in the first place
  • Taking a bath or shower and visualizing myself "washing away" my frustration
  • Writing out why I'm angry and then listing things I can do to either correct the situation or manage my feelings about it
  • Getting some shut-eye; sometimes, a good night's sleep really does change my perspective for the better

These are just a few ideas; feel free to experiment with others if you like. What works for me will not necessarily work for you, but I hope it will at least provide a good place for you to start trying things.

If you're struggling with anger, frustration, or any overwhelming feelings—and especially if you're hurting yourself to cope—one more thing I would urge you to do is to reach out for help. Ideally, you'll be able to work with a mental health professional who can provide invaluable support throughout your healing process. If not, however, know that even reaching out to a trusted friend or family member can make a big difference in your life and help you change things for the better.

Whatever you decide to try, the most important thing is simply to begin. The sooner you start, the sooner you can begin to heal.

APA Reference
Kim Berkley (2022, September 15). Why Do I Feel Like Hurting Myself When I'm Mad?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 22 from

Author: Kim Berkley

Find Kim on Instagram, Facebook and her blog.

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