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Self-harm.

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Self-harm.

Postby TheGirlOfSecrets » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:33 am

I've been thinking about this for a while: the wiccan rede says - an it harm none do as ye will. But what about self-harmers? Because that's a way for some people to express their pain (I know it's bad, but some people can't help it). Then, the threefold law might come back to them and cause something bad to happen in their life, and then it will cause them to self harm more? I'd like to hear people's opinions, because I'm very curious on this topic.

I wasn't sure where to post this but I think here is ok... Blessed be )O(
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Re: Self-harm.

Postby Echo_of_shadows » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:52 am

I didn't make a connection with my self-harm and the Wiccan Rede, or any sort of karma or law of return. When I had first started cutting myself in my mid teens, I wasn't Wiccan, but I did become Wiccan in my late teens. Though the cutting did continue through my early twenties, and the first few years of my life as a Wiccan, I didn't apply the Rede to myself in that situation. It is interesting for me to reflect and wonder if maybe I had made a connection between my self-harm and any sort of karmic consequence, if I would have been able to stop sooner.
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Re: Self-harm.

Postby TheGirlOfSecrets » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:35 am

Thankyou for your thoughts:)
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Re: Self-harm.

Postby Xiao Rong » Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:10 am

[note: going to be delving into a lot of painful things here, some of which might be an unpopular opinion]

You know, I've been thinking a lot about this the past two days (coincidence, perhaps ... ?). I grew up in an abusive childhood home, and so I resorted a lot to self injury when I was a kid. For some people (definitely true for me), cutting myself was a coping mechanism, a way to take control of my body when I felt like I had no control over my life, and no way to escape it. It was a way to make something hurt that I could deal with right then and there, as opposed to the bigger stresses in my life that I couldn't deal with. Now, I'm not a Wiccan, nor do I follow the Wiccan Rede, but I do sympathize with the goal of not wanting to harm yourself or others. But I feel like there's often a disproportionate emphasis on the self-injury, when it is often merely a symptom of other, bigger problems, and is often a strategy that people use to manage these bigger problems. It is quite literally, and counterintuitively, a survival tactic. I don't even know what I would have done when I was a teen if I didn't cut myself - it certainly managed my suicidal tendencies, probably kept me from having a mental breakdown. Now that I'm older, in control of my life, out of my abusive home, and with access to a lot of other coping mechanisms for stress, I don't need it anymore, and haven't done it in a very long time. But at the time, people who were aware that I was cutting myself were way focused on this particular behavior, rather than the things that made me feel like it was necessary in order to make it to the next day. (phew, that's a lot of stuff to get out of my system that I've told basically nobody else before!)

Now, I am not, in any way, condoning self-injury, but I do empathize and understand the people who feel like they need to. For those of you who are interested, yesterday I found this booklet entitled "Hurting Yourself" by the Icarus Project that explains in better detail how self-injury works as a coping strategy, what people get out of self-injury, how to minimize the harm done if you choose to self-harm, and alternate coping strategies (e.g. writing in a journal, going out for a run, etc.). I think the key here is the harm reduction perspective, which basically says that if you feel like you have to do it, for whatever reason, there are ways to do it to that are safer and less risky.
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Re: Self-harm.

Postby TheGirlOfSecrets » Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:59 am

Thankyou for your thoughts, luckily I'm not in an abusive household, but I do know how hard it is to cope sometimes... I was thinking about this for a while, because I kinda felt guilty after I'd done it. But thankyou again, have a good day:)
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Re: Self-harm.

Postby YanaKhan » Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:50 am

On the note of self - harm, do you consider consecrating with blood self harm? For example Nordic runes require blood consecration and I have been told of you don't do that, they either don't give you the right answers, or get their blood by causing you harm. So I guess it depends on the work you are doing. After all, you never know if your spell harms none, for example, you heal someone who is supposed to learn a certain karmic lesson through the illness, does that harm none? And people who harm themselves usually deal with a lot of pain and it brings relief. Therefore it could be considered as non harmful in terms of spell-work. I don't know if I'm right, could be terribly wrong on that one as I have never experienced anything that could make me harm myself, but I do believe in trusting your instincts even if none agrees with you. Perhaps trying to meditate on the problem would be a good idea.
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Re: Self-harm.

Postby TheGirlOfSecrets » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:14 pm

I've never heard of that Elcida, thanks for your input:)
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Re: Self-harm.

Postby azriel » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:31 pm

I believe it all depends on whether you are able to overcome the habit of self harm or not. In a way, the threefold's influence can be seen in the attitude the person has towards themselves. When I began cutting myself, the more I did it or the worse the harm became, the worse I felt about myself. Even those who stop the self-harm but still feel regret or guilt for what happened still feel the weight on their shoulders. However, those who stop and accept that what happened occurred, and do not regret the past will feel a weight off of their shoulders and a heightened sense of self.

At least, that is what I have noticed in my own experiences. I do not think that one who harms themselves will be continuously punished by karma for the rest of their life because the harm they do to themselves is enough to create the future influences/energies in their life.

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Re: Self-harm.

Postby Kyrie » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:52 pm

Personally, I think "harm none" includes self-harm. However, I think we place too much weight on the Rede and the Law of Return. I don't think the universe is going to punish you; you're probably doing enough punishing on your own, to be honest.

I highly recommend you find some other way to deal with whatever you have going on in your life. Talk to someone close to you. Start journaling, if you're not doing so already. Dig deeper into your spirituality and start paying more attention to the positive things instead of dwelling on the negative. Part of growing up is learning how to deal with crap. Find SOMETHING that makes you feel good!
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Re: Self-harm.

Postby TheGirlOfSecrets » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:27 pm

Oh no, it's not me, I was just wondering everyone elses opinions! Thanks everyone!
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Re: Self-harm.

Postby Xiao Rong » Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:23 pm

Nera wrote:I highly recommend you find some other way to deal with whatever you have going on in your life. Talk to someone close to you. Start journaling, if you're not doing so already. Dig deeper into your spirituality and start paying more attention to the positive things instead of dwelling on the negative. Part of growing up is learning how to deal with crap. Find SOMETHING that makes you feel good!


Nera, I meant to reply to this thread sooner, but I just wanted to say that a lot of your tips do not really apply to people who are really suffering from depression or suicidal tendencies. I think your tips can work as coping mechanisms for some people, but depression is a medical condition that's really not solvable just by talking to a friend or writing in a journal. Or for people like me (I had an abusive childhood which I could not escape until I went to college), my circumstances were so overwhelming that to me, one of the ONLY things I could do was to self-harm to manage my suicidal ideation (my parents isolated me from friends, journaling was dangerous, I was not allowed to have any hobbies to relax, etc.). Goodness knows that some people are in even worse situations than mine, and even less escapable. As I mentioned before, I do not condone, but I entirely empathize with people for whom self-harm is the only reliable outlet. Focusing on the self-harming habit alone is missing the forest for the trees; usually it is a symptom of something much larger and graver, rather than a disease by itself. While I think you are well-intentioned, it seems to me that by saying that people suffering from oppression or in really terrible conditions in their lives just need to pray more or be positive or whatever is really putting the blame on their shoulders and just serves to bury the root of their problems even deeper so that it's even harder to help them (not to mention, it just sounds really condescending to tell someone with depression to just "look for the positives in life"). I recommend that in the future, you really listen more to what self-harming people are saying, before you dispense that kind of advice.
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Re: Self-harm.

Postby p3nathan » Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:21 am

I have to agree. Telling someone suffering from depression to think positively is pretty much like telling an alcoholic to just drink juice or telling someone with agoraphobia to go out and let their hair down.
When I self-harmed, nothing else did it for me. I got addicted to it in many ways, because it gave me the release I needed to sleep one night without the voices screaming in my head all night. I'd self medicate from time to time too, but more often than not that'd eventually bring me back to self-harming and it'd often be worse than when I was sober.
A lot of people asked me why I did it and they can't make sense of it... all I can say to them is "Good, that means your logical mind is healthy and in charge. Mine wasn't"

I also didn't have much spirituality back then. The depression consumed near enough everything that I was. I got counselling but was afraid to tell her I was self harming. I told her I had done it in the past, but feared I would be locked away and restrained if I told her I was doing it then. I realised I had to tell her when my friend found me in a kitchen bleeding all over the floor and broke down at the sight of me, that was my rock bottom moment.

I'm glad I got help, but it took time. Bad mental health and depression aren't just a case of feeling down or not being positive enough, it's a deep seated illness that swallows you whole if you don't find help.

I'm a counselor now and I will never take emotional/mental problems lightly.
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Re: Self-harm.

Postby MoonChild » Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:59 am

I believe that I have to love myself first so that I could love anyone else. Because if someone can hurt himself, he probably can hurt anyone else.
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Re: Self-harm.

Postby Xiao Rong » Sun Dec 15, 2013 11:58 am

MoonChild wrote:I believe that I have to love myself first so that I could love anyone else. Because if someone can hurt himself, he probably can hurt anyone else.


Wow .... Okay ... I think that is a TERRIBLE assumption to make. The vast majority of people with mental illnesses are NOT violent (in fact, they are more likely to be victims of violence). I would imagine that people with depressions are even less LESS likely to hurt others. Not to mention people who develop mental illnesses because they live in really awful situations, or have suffered something traumatic in their lives (in my situation, I became very depressed and developed an eating disorder as a result of child abuse - but I would NEVER have dreamed of hurting other people). This sort of assumption is exactly why it is so difficult for abuse victims and people with mental illnesses to seek help.

As P3Nathan and I have stated previously, the reasons why someone might harm themselves are often very complex. According to the Mayo Clinic, here's a list of reasons why people might turn to self-injury:

- Manage or reduce severe distress or anxiety and provide a sense of relief
- Provide a distraction from painful emotions through physical pain
- Feel a sense of control over his or her body, feelings or life situations
- Feel something, anything, even if it's physical pain, when feeling emotionally empty
- Express internal feelings in an external way
- Communicate depression or distressful feelings to the outside world
- Be punished for perceived faults


People who harm themselves may believe (as I did) that they are so worthless compared to everyone else that it doesn't matter if their bodies are harmed.

Self-love is important, but it's not as easy as simply declaring, "I love myself!" and being done with it. As I've come to find out over the years, if you don't already love yourself, it can be the hardest thing in the world to come to terms with yourself (I'm not even there yet with "self-love"; I'm kind of at "self-tolerance"). Self-love is an active process, an active battle that I have to fight pretty much every minute of every day, and it's taken YEARS to come reject my inner critic which tells me every day I'm not good enough or perfect.

Moonchild, I recommend that you do some additional reading on the subject before you cast judgment on people who self-harm, or really work on listening to people who try to share their experience.

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Self-injury/Pages/Causes.aspx

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/teen-angst/201210/deep-secrets-the-truth-behind-self-harm


[edited to add: Not to mention, there are plenty of people who love themselves just fine and still hurt other people.]
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Re: Self-harm.

Postby Heartsong » Sun Dec 15, 2013 1:13 pm

Xiao Rong wrote:
Wow .... Okay ... I think that is a TERRIBLE assumption to make. The vast majority of people with mental illnesses are NOT violent (in fact, they are more likely to be victims of violence). I would imagine that people with depressions are even less LESS likely to hurt others. Not to mention people who develop mental illnesses because they live in really awful situations, or have suffered something traumatic in their lives (in my situation, I became very depressed and developed an eating disorder as a result of child abuse - but I would NEVER have dreamed of hurting other people). This sort of assumption is exactly why it is so difficult for abuse victims and people with mental illnesses to seek help.


I completely agree. If someone hits you enough, either physically or verbally, eventually, you're going to believe you deserve it. As a matter of fact, some people believe that they deserve that kind of abuse without an outside party contributing to it. I've been fighting depression my entire life and I'm a suicide survivor (which is also self-harm). I can tell you, point blank, that when you are in that frame of mind, most of the destruction is aimed inward. For people like me, you feel like you're a burden to the world in general. My self-harm was constantly reminding myself of that perception, and for the abuse I went through, I punished my body instead of my abusers, because I believed they were right.

Xiao Rong wrote:
Self-love is important, but it's not as easy as simply declaring, "I love myself!" and being done with it. As I've come to find out over the years, if you don't already love yourself, it can be the hardest thing in the world to come to terms with yourself (I'm not even there yet with "self-love"; I'm kind of at "self-tolerance"). Self-love is an active process, an active battle that I have to fight pretty much every minute of every day, and it's taken YEARS to come reject my inner critic which tells me every day I'm not good enough or perfect.


That is 100% true. Well said, Xiao, you nailed it. Even after my attempted suicide, I couldn't accept myself, much less love myself. It took over a decade before I could even say that I was content with myself (and I'm not at "self-love" either).

To be perfectly honest, unless you've gone through it, it's difficult to understand. It's hard to comprehend how and why someone would put themselves through what they do. Intellectually, I get that, but a part of me also feels like I'm being blamed for a choice that at the time seemed like the only way out. "Love yourself, that's the key!" Yeah, well, come take a walk in my head before you tell me that. Everyone's experiences are different and thus people respond in different ways. Some individuals are lucky enough that loving themselves is what gets them through, what helps them survive and if you're one of those people, then I am very happy for you. You have an ability that many haven't or couldn't develop.

As Xiao points out, self-love is important, but I believe that it's just one stone in a very long and winding path. It is exactly an active process.
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