Self harm


You may have a belief system that allows you to harm yourself. These beliefs are frequently distorted and may even have come from your abuser(s).

The following exercise might help you to identify ways to deal with this whenever you feel you want to hurt yourself.


The reasons I harm myself

Write the following questions down and answer them individually, writing down your answers:

  1. how do you harm yourself
  2. why do you harm yourself
  3. How do these behaviours help you to survive?
  4. How do these behaviours reinforce your feelings of guilt, shame, and self-blame?

Now take each of the reasons for self-harming that you listed, and think of five things (or techniques), you might do instead which might help you to express the emotions or actions you feel/do when you self-harm.


Putting this into Practice

Now that you have completed that exercise, you might want to try one of the new techniques that you listed instead of harming yourself.

When you feel like you are going to harm yourself:

  • be conscious of your actions
  • stay in control
  • try one of the techniques you listed
  • think about how you now feel
  • talk to someone that can support you as soon as possible

This is an exercise which can be used in times of crisis. It is vital that you continue to receive support to help you to address the longer term issues of self-harm that you are experiencing.


Bristol Crisis Service for Women


Self-harm Network

First Signs

Recover your Life

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