YOUNG PEOPLE ASK
Why Do I Cut Myself?
What is cutting?
Cutting is the practice of compulsively harming oneself with a sharp object. It’s just one form of self-injury. Others include burning, bruising, or hitting oneself. This article is about cutting, but the principles discussed apply to all forms of self-injury.
Test your knowledge: True or False.
Only girls cut themselves.
Cutting violates the Bible command at Leviticus 19:28, which says: “You must not make cuts in your flesh.”
False. While the problem seems more prevalent among girls, some boys cut themselves and engage in other forms of self-injury too.
False. Leviticus 19:28 refers to an ancient pagan ritual, not to the compulsive practice of self-injury discussed in this article. Nevertheless, it stands to reason that our loving Creator doesn’t want us to harm ourselves.—1 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 John 4:8.
Why do people do it?
Test your knowledge: Which statement do you think is most accurate?
People cut themselves . . .
because they are trying to cope with emotional anguish.
because they are trying to kill themselves.
Correct answer: A. Most people who cut themselves don’t want to die. They just want to end their emotional despair.
Note what some young people have said about their practice of cutting.
Celia: “It brought me a sense of relief.”
Tamara: “It seemed to provide an escape. The physical pain was better than the emotional pain.”
Carrie: “I hated feeling sad. Cutting took the focus off my sadness and put it onto my physical pain.”
Jerrine: “Every time I cut myself, I became almost unaware of my surroundings, and I wouldn’t have to deal with my problems. I welcomed the change.”
If you have this problem, how can you stop?
Prayer to Jehovah God can be a vital step to recovery. The Bible says: “Throw all your anxiety upon him, because he cares for you.”—1 Peter 5:7.
Suggestion: Start with brief prayers, perhaps simply telling Jehovah, “I need help.” In time, you will be able to open up and pour out your feelings to “the God of all comfort.”—2 Corinthians 1:3, 4.
Prayer is not some psychological crutch. It is real communication with your heavenly Father, who promises: “I will really help you. I will really keep fast hold of you with my right hand of righteousness.”—Isaiah 41:10.
Many who have struggled with cutting have also found comfort in talking to a parent or another trusted adult. Consider the following comments from three young people who did just that.
Questions for reflection
When you are ready to reach out for help, in whom could you confide?
What can you say in prayer to Jehovah God about the matter?
Can you name two methods (that do not involve self-injury) that you can use to release your stress and anxiety?