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Author Topic: BPD BEHAVIORS: Self injury and self harm  (Read 34747 times)
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« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2006, 06:24:19 PM »

I am new to this group.  I am a 34 year old mother of one son.  I have severe issues with cutting.  I hide it the best I can.  I fight everyday not to do it.  it is like an addiction.  i know once i do it i will feel better, but i know it does not hep me in the long run. 

i was diagnosed with BPD 4 years ago.  i have been through more med combos than i can even begin to count.  right now i am on Cymbalta, Ritalin, and Klonapin. 

for the past three days i have been sad.  empty sad.  not wanting to eat or do anything sad.  i get up and go through the otions and take care of my child.  i homeschool him so i still keep up with his activities and get him to hockey and karate.  but inside i just feel sad and empty.  i think part of it is that he is getting older (7) and he does not need me as much any more.  i can't have any other kids due to infertility issues so i am just so sad about this i cry all the time.  and crying makes me want to cut.  cutting makes me feel better.  i feel the pain and know i deserve it.  i deserve it because i am so screwed up that i cant even get pregnant again.  dang...most 15 year olds can do that with out even sneezing and i cant.  it makes me feel like a failure.

so i am messed up.  i cut.  it makes me feel better.  it makes all the icky feeling flow out of me.  and i feel better for a little while. 



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« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2006, 07:15:23 PM »


Do you have a confidant, someone you can confide in and trust when you're feeling down and distressed?  .

Proverbs 17:17 - "A true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for when there is distress."

Also, look at Resouces for Individuals with BPD as I am sure you will find support there too. 

Anyway, we hope the best for you.  What makes you very special to us is that you want to get better.  Just keep trying and never give up no matter what. 

My wife, whom years later now seems to have developed a fairly obvious case of BPD, used to cut herself just a little bit with scissor tips, little minute nips on her arms, when she was distressed.  You're not alone.

One time my wife and I drove a young friend to the hospital because she accidentally cut herself too deeply.  She explained her feelings that led to to cut herself:  She hurt so bad and couldn't control her hurt.  But she could cut herself and control how much that hurt.  Well, she sure miscalculated that time and off to the emergency room we all went late one night.

So I wonder.  Is it a control issue for you too, control something, anything, even pain you cause but control, and then you can feel better?  (I am not trained, so there can be lots of other reasons to cut besides that one, I'd guess.)

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« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2007, 01:52:00 AM »

hi, my bp friend cuts and it is totally heartbreaking and people that are not experiencing what it is like to be one of the primary carers for them just can't grasp the pain that it cause us nons. Cosmo, reading your posts made me cry because i have been there i have felt exactly what you are feeling and i too came to be grateful for the cutting in a sick kind of way. At least if my friend cut she was not attempting to kill herself. at least i knew that after a bit of blood she'd be okay. It broke my heart but it was better than the alternative. You said in one of your earlier posts that all you can do is to say that you love your daughter. I know the feeling of complete helplessness. It starts to feel like it doesn't even matter that you love her because it's not enough, you just have to stand back and watch someone so beautiful be in so much pain and then be ashamed of herself. It rips you apart, it is probably especially hard for you being her mother, i am only a friend and it tears me apart enough. my friend constantly cut when we were out or at uni, i had to watch her trying to stop by digging her nails into herself or bending her fingers back while no-body else had a clue and i had to continue as if everything were okay, then i'd watch her get up and go into the bathroom and still i had to pretend everything was okay in front of everyone else. then she come back and she wouldn't be able to meet anyone elses eyes except mine, she'd look at me and either let me know through her eyes if it was okay or if she needed me to help her clean it up. I still have nightmares about it and it still tears me apart, so i understand the pain you are feeling and the helplessness. I wish i could offer something to take away the pain you are feeling but i can't, all i can do is to tell you i understand and to point out that cutting though, it is horrendously painful for us to know they are doing it, it is better than suicide.   
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« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2007, 04:56:43 AM »

From what I've read the probably best way to deal with cutting by a loved one is what is used in CBT.

If the person involved feels the urge to cut they can make contact (healthy behaviour), which may help them to avoid it.

If the person involved has already cut then no contact is allowed for say 48 hours. This means that the cutting is passively discouraged and the person involved has to learn to deal with their feelings in a different manner than giving in to impulse...

The healthier behaviour is picking up a phone or going to see someone and discussing the feelings. The unhealthy behaviour is enhanced by cutting and then receiving attention for it... band-aids and all...

So my advice would be, if you are staying in contact with someone who does this to set up some rules about this behaviour along those lines. It also places the responsibility of the acting on impulse on the person who does it, rather than yourself!
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« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2007, 10:29:47 AM »

A child with autism, a perfectionist teenager, and an adult with BPD all self-injure for very different reasons.

One thing that IS constant though is the biological reaction.  It triggers the production of endogenous opiates; our bodies are capable of producing the equivalent of eight grams of morphine.  Consider how addictive opiates are, and it explains why many who cut tend to have an extremely hard time stopping.  Ever taken an opiate or one of its derivative pain-killers?  I've heard most people like it.  Also it's really dangerous, since just like with other opiates, tolerance increases over time, and this can lead to needing more and more.  Also I know that it's been shown that autistic kids, who aren't cutters so much as bangers, tend to hammer along acupuncture points and meridians, which are chosen by eastern medicine practitioners for precisely that purpose.  There's also a big link in non-autistic individuals with prior physical abuse, and that makes sense to me.  I'm pretty sure there are links to sites about it on the web that could provide you more information.  The stuff that helps with children with autism - namely language acquisition, medication, and learning frustration tolerance techniques - is also probably beneficial to cutters, but I doubt you're in a position to suggest it productively. 

As for working it out... I doubt she understands it herself.  Usually just being able to articulate feelings and needs mitigates them somewhat, but if she's been doing it that long, that severely, then the one I'd focus on is the SD.  My mother dabbled in this for attention.  I've had friends who kept it intensely secret and were only willing to discuss it when they were asked point-blank during support group, or had been able to stop with therapy.  It really, really depends, but most who self-injure aren't suicidal, at least not to begin with.  They see it as a coping mechanism.  Still, people can and do die from this, either accidentally, or when they find they can't stop on their own.

Her poor daughter...
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« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2007, 12:49:06 PM »

In Understanding and Treating Borderline Personality Disorder - A Guide for Professionals and Families, Gunderson presented survey information on why patients participate in self-injury:










to feel concrete pain instead of overwhelming emotional pain

to inflict self-punishment

to reduce anxiety and feeling of despair

to feel in control

to express anger

to feel something when numb or out of touch

to seek help from others

and to keep bad memories away


Cutting releases endorphins known as endogenous opioids.  Endogenous opioids are well known for their role in alcohol addiction. Alcohol (ethanol) exerts numerous pharmacological effects through its interaction with various neurotransmitters and neuromodulators. Among the latter, the endogenous opioids play a key role in the rewarding (or addictive) properties of alcohol .



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« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2007, 03:39:21 PM »

My feeling (at least with my BPGF) is that it's mostly a coping mechanism--something that 'brings her back' when she feels completely out of control. She banged her head 5 times on Sunday morning (probably the first time in over a year) after having woken up in a rage. Her doctors have been very emphatic that she really needs to find a mechanism other than this--when she was much younger, this (along with cutting) was part of her coping repetoire, leading one doctor to tell her, "If you keep doing this, you're either going to die or become a vegetable" (as her skull already has numerous minor fractures). Needless to say, when she does it, it's a truly frightening experience.

However, I can't rule out at least some attention-seeking. Basically, she's been walking around concussed for the past few days, feeling 'floaty', occasionally nauseous, and adamant that she's not going to the ER. It really pushes me to the limit, especially when she "apologizes" for doing it by saying, "You wouldn't have to see it happen if you thought twice before you decided to argue with me" (aka, "you made me do it").
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« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2008, 03:49:51 PM »

There are lots of forms of Self-Harming... including eating disorders or reckless driving.

Cutting and scratching is often associated with BPD but this DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THE CASE.

BPDs do not have to cut in able to be diagnosed.

and Cutters are not BPD by definition.

It can be associated with

- Perfectionism

- Psychosis


- ...



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« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2008, 08:47:31 PM »

One might take note of the differencebetween self harming and  suicide attempts.

When one cuts, if the cuts are across the arm (right to left) they are cutting. If the cut is from wrist to elbow, that is a suicide attempt.

It is an attempt to control something. Usually a time of stress. Others here have described the addictive quality of cutting due to the chemicals released in the body.

I also think that people that insist on surgeries, and broken bones, accident prone, etc are also self harming.

Tattoos, piercings etc are the socially acceptable way of self harm.

This style of harm is from the Africans. Tribes would decorate and pierce their bodies as rituals.

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« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2008, 10:04:03 AM »

Tattoos, piercings etc are the socially acceptable way of self harm.

I think that is an overstatement.  grin

Its not because women wear earrings, that it is an act of self harm to cope.

Its defintily a cultural thing too.

To belong to a group or subculture or tribe involves markings and signs.

It has been that way for ages. If you are willing to have pain for the group, you are one of them.

So it is not that simple.


I had a friend who got a tattoo on her ankle - out of the blue.

I am certain that in that case it was indeed an act of selfharm.

To punish herself for the things she had done to other people.


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