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Self Harm

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I know you’re gonna look at this and make assumptions because I’m a 16 year old girl and I self harm. Most people do it to feel something or seek attention or whatever, but I don’t really have a reason for doing it. I definitely do NOT want anyone to find out because I would probably wear the Scarlett letter in my family for the rest of my life. I like how it feels to hurt myself and I guess that makes me a masochist. I don’t always cut, sometimes I bruise myself. I wouldn’t say that I’m depressed or have a mental illness that would make me hurt myself, but I just want a professional opinion on this because I regret cutting myself since someone is bound to see the scar at some point or another. I got a little carried away one night and it is a pretty big, red scar. The scar doesn’t bother me at all because I like to see marks on my body but I know my mom would probably have a stroke if she saw it. It’s almost swimsuit season you know. I do feel insecure about my body, what teenage girl doesn’t, but that does not even cross my mind when I self harm. So I am just curious as to what a professional would say because I do want help, but I am definitely not going to ask my parents for it. My older sister went off the deep end 3 years ago, and my parents still use her as an example whenever we do something wrong. My mom went through a lot with my older sister, she currently wears the Scarlett letter, and I am not about to do the same. My sister and biological father both have cluster B personality disorder, it was diagnosed, so I am wondering if I might be the same way. I don’t think I am however because I don’t like being the center of attention, and wouldn’t call myself a narcissist, but who would. Once I go off to college i hope to start seeing someone if I can, but in the meantime I am SOL. So any thoughts from a professional would be great.

Self Harm

Answered by on -


  I wish I could let you see your email through my eyes. I see an obviously intelligent young woman caught in a struggle between doing something she’d rather not — and somehow finding some relief. That struggle along with the mix of satisfaction and fear would be difficult to manage for anyone. I am proud of you for taking this first step.

Your insight and awareness into your condition is important because it is the key to helping yourself. You know the history of your family and you know cutting is not healthy and yet you are at a loss for asking for help. This is something that you’ve moved forward by writing to us here — and now must move forward again by seeking therapy.

I’d begin by talking to your guidance counselor at school. He or she is well trained on these matters and can help. Trying to sort this though on your own isn’t the way to go. Asking for some help is.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Self Harm

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Self Harm. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 5 May 2018 (Originally: 8 May 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 5 May 2018
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