Any action or behaviour that causes harm to oneself and is done as a result of anxiety, depression, stress, emotional numbness or other mental health concerns, can be self-abusive behaviour and needs to be considered when trying to understand the underlying reasons for the behaviour. Now this concept is broader than what is accepted by general society and the medical profession, however, the definition of self-abusive behaviour is any behaviour that causes harm to self. This then opens many of our behaviours to interpretation with regards to self-abuse.
There are many different forms of self abusive behaviours. Although some would say eating disorders are not considered to be a form of self-abusive behaviour, for this discussion, I would include it. I would also include for the sake of argument, that any manner in which we can mistreat our ourselves, should be considered as self-abusive behaviour. When we mistreat ourselves and cause harm, we are in fact being self-abusive.
Wikipedia states that “the motivations for self-harm vary and it may be used to fulfill a number of different functions. These functions include self-harm being used as a coping mechanism which provides temporary relief of intense feelings such as anxiety, depression, stress, emotional numbness or a sense of failure or self-loathing and other mental traits including low self-esteem or perfectionism. Self-harm is often associated with a history of trauma and abuse, including emotional and sexual abuse”
Take a look at the following assessment tool and answer the questions honestly. There is help out there to stop hurting yourself so please answer the questions honestly. If you aren't honest, you aren't likely to get the help you need. Please?
Self Abuse Self Assessment Tool
Signs you may be self-abusing or in danger of starting
Please read each statement carefully and please respect yourself enough to answer them honestly. Don't be embarrassed and please be gentle with yourself as you take each statement into consideration.
Getting the right kind of help depends on how you answer these questions.
- Do you cause sores on your body?
- Have your eating habits changed? Do you eat everyday?
- Do you cut yourself?
- Do you burn yourself?
- Do you hit yourself?
- Do you have others do the above to you?
- Do you wish you could have others do them to you?
- Do you consume, inhale, inject, or swallow knowingly harmful substances to hurt yourself?
- Do you have thoughts of hurting yourself?
- Do you have thoughts of killing yourself?
- Do you wish you were never born?
- Do these thoughts and feelings control your daily thoughts and activities?
- Do you wear clothing to cover your fresh sores?
- Are you embarrassed and try to cover up your scars?
- Do you talk about yourself in a negative self-depreciating manner?
- Do you have negative thoughts about yourself?
- Are you controlled by feelings of helplessness or worthlessness?
- Do you think that there is no one at all who will ever understand you and what you are going through?
- Do you find yourself avoiding activities that you previously enjoyed?
- Do you find yourself avoiding your friends and family when you are invited to a get-together?
- Do you make up excuses and stories so you don't have to go anywhere?
- Has your daily hygiene routines changed? – do you have less showers than usual – do you still brush your teeth and carry out your usual hygiene routine daily? - do you still get dressed each day?
When you are done, sit back and honestly look at your answers. Are your answers more yes's or more no's?
Be honest with yourself. You know your life better than anyone else.
Please take this sheet to your doctor or your health professional to start the conversation going. Although most self-abusive behaviours aren't considered to be life threatening, intense emotional feelings that cause self-abusive behaviours needs medical attention and help to deal with.
You are worth getting help! So is your spouse, your children and your family. With help, support and a strong dedication, you CAN make the changes you need.
take good care of you and always be gentle