Archæology

The assorted finds of Artefact Publishing

Cutting loose

Spoilers for non-graphic discussion of cutting.

Fionnaigh writes in part about cutting as a coping mechanism, and whether knowing that it upsets the people around her is reason enough to stop doing it. Obviously I can’t answer that question for her, but I do have some thoughts on the matter.

Cutting, even while being a coping mechanism, adds to what needs to be coped with. The physical damage is not the main issue, if you’re careful. That’s not to say that even normal tissue damage doesn’t cause lingering physical problems, nor that resulting wounds and scars can’t lead to social problems — of course they can and do. However, even though cutting tends to be a symptom of a hatred of oneself, a dissociation between mind and body, or what have you, it also serves to reinforce its cause, and I think that that is its worst aspect.

So, it can be hard for people to accept cutting as a coping mechanism, and I can’t blame people for being upset by it and wanting a cutter to stop. That’s not helpful, however, unless there’s a better coping strategy at hand that works for the cutter. Being asked or encouraged to stop cutting can be a prompt to find better means of coping, but it’s not easy to judge whether the cutter is ready and able to do that.

In other words, it’s no good just stopping cutting if one doesn’t have or find an alternative means of coping. And it sucks to have other people’s attitudes create negative associations for a coping mechanism that isn’t the easiest to live with without that.

Posted by jamie on May 15, 2003 17:19+12:00

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