Self injury dating
Alternatives should serve as safe distractions, not substitutes, which will help a person get out of crisis mode and into a place where emotions can be expressed in a healthy manner.Seliner works with clients to create lists of 10 to 15 specific alternatives to use when the impulse to self-injure arises.These will be unique for every person, and include activities such as listening to music, reading, cleaning the closet, petting a cat or dog, calling a friend, painting, deep breathing, crafting, collaging, going for a walk, coloring, playing video games, or other similar activities.My list also includes meditation, journaling, drinking tea or hot chocolate, and watching TV.Over time, self-injury became the only way I knew how to deal with emotions, and I didn’t know what else to do.When I decided I wanted to stop self-harming, the only information I could find advised me to color on my arms with markers, snap a rubber band on my wrist or hold an ice cube.“Drawing on your arm with a red magic marker is going to do nothing but draw negative attention,” says Seliner. “More than half of the people who answered the poll who engage in self-injury, if they engaged in substitute behaviors, their impulses to injure actually increased.” Similarly, cathartic behaviors meant to release anger such as punching pillows, ripping newspapers or throwing ice against a wall do not serve their intended purpose to discharge negative energy, but rather further aggravate a person. “Recommending physical activity to people who feel this way is like throwing gasoline on a fire: it makes them more out of control rather than less.” “Anger is a secondary emotion and often times when you get underneath the anger you’ll find a different emotion, most commonly sadness, hurt, rejection, shame,” adds Seliner. Alternatives or the Self Injury Foundation work to educate people otherwise, the old methods are drowning out safer distractions.“It’s another way that people are using their body as a bulletin board to communicate to the world what they’re feeling.” Beyond the fact that these stand-ins for self-injury can cause damage of their own and don’t resolve the underlying issues behind the impulse to self-injure, they are outright ineffective. “We have heard from our patients frequently that they continually feel overstimulated, revved up and that this contributes to their escalating panic and agitation,” writes S. “We teach [clients] how to communicate their anger in a healthy, appropriate way rather than discharging it with a physical act.” Despite evidence that all of these unhelpful suggestions to combat self-injury are counterproductive, their recommendation persists, even among therapists. The public knowledge of how to help those who self-injure is built largely on repeating the same coping skills in article after article.
“It’s just creating a window of opportunity so they can think through what other choices and options they have [and] helping them to be able to sit with that uncomfortable feeling, seeing that they can manage it without being self-destructive.” The key is building a pause, or window of opportunity, between overwhelming emotions and the impulse to self-injure through harmless distraction-based alternatives.It’s the same self-destructive mindset and behavior in a different wrapper. “Self-injury is a coping strategy, so telling somebody to give it up is really hard — it’s not easy,” says Seliner.“We view substitute behaviors as self-injury,” says Michelle Seliner, MSW, LCSW and current chief operating officer of the self-injury recovery program, S. “Probably one of the reasons substitute behaviors, you see so much of them, is because it really is self-injury but just a different form.” Another popular suggestion recommends drawing on your arm with red marker to mimic cutting.One of the most important things to come to terms with is that no matter how much you love someone, you don't have the power to make them give up a behavior they are not ready to relinquish.And no matter how much your partner loves you, it’s extremely difficult for them to let go of a self-harming behavior that provides short-term relief or a sense of numbing or self-soothing.
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At the end of the day, all I wanted to do was cut or burn for real. It turns out I’m not alone in this experience, and these popular substitute self-injury alternatives are partly to blame. “Snapping a rubber band on your arm leaves a mark and it’s painful.