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The Emotions Behind Cutting

Cutting is a form of self-harm that is defined as making scratches or cuts on the skin with a sharp object that are deep enough to break the skin and cause bleeding.

S. Hein said, “I don’t think anyone wants to cut when they’re being listened to.”  There is so much truth to this.  A person cuts because there is an underlying problem such as abuse or self-esteem issues or a combination of issues.  Cutting becomes an outlet to release these negative feelings and emotions.  If someone reaches out to them then that becomes their outlet instead of cutting.

Cutting is defined as making scratches or cuts on the skin with a sharp object that are deep enough to break the skin and cause bleeding. Approximately 2 to 3 million people in the United States self-harm.  This includes eating disorders and the numbers continue to increase.

Cutting has an ability to make people feel better because the physical pain of the cuts feels better than the emotional pain.  In cases of people with chronic pain disorders, the cuts are a physical pain that they can control, unlike the pain from the illnesses.  Cutting usually begins in young teens and may continue into adulthood.  Cutting is predominately done by girls, but boys do it too.

Those who cut may also use other methods of self-injury such as burning the skin with a cigarette or match.  Cutters always try to hide the cuts and then continue trying to hide the aftermath of scars and marks that cutting leaves behind.

I did not, you see, want to kill myself. Not at that time, anyway. But I wanted to know that if need be, if the desperation got so terribly bad, I could inflict harm on my body. And I could. Knowing this gave me a sense of peace and power, so I started cutting up my legs all the time. Hiding the scars from my mother became a sport of its own. I collected razor blades, I bought a Swiss army knife, I became fascinated with the different kinds of sharp edges and the different cutting sensations they produced. I tried out different shapes—squares, triangles, pentagons, even an awkwardly carved heart, with a stab wound at its center, wanting to see if it hurt the way a real broken heart could hurt. I was amazed and pleased to find that it didn’t. –Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

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