Self-injury and Self-care

Self-injury and Self-care
Many victims of domestic violence use various unhealthy coping skills, in
order to survive the trauma they endure. I will focus on only one of
these coping skills in this article, as well as focusing on the topic of
self-care. Both self-injury and self-care are on opposite ends of the
spectrum, when it comes to victims of domestic violence.

All those that have been battered are accustomed to physical and emotional
pain, to some degree. For a number of them, self-injury is used in order
to deal with the internal pain that they experience. Self-injury can be a
way to bring a perceived sense of relief to the victim, from the emotional
pain that they feel. For many, they feel as though causing external pain
to their physical bodies will relieve them of their internal emotional
pain. With every infliction upon their body, they are able to mask their
emotional pain for just a moment longer; thus, they don’t have to deal
with how they feel inside. However, self-injury never goes away on its
own. It often escalates into a highly dangerous and sometimes fatal
level. Each time the victim harms themselves, they find that the they
must experience one degree higher of pain, in order to numb their
emotional suffering.

Self-care is not easily understood by victims of domestic violence. They
are so used to caring for their abusers and their children while ignoring
their own needs. The concept of caring for themselves is not something
that they can grasp with clarity. Therefore, it takes time, especially
for the victim that injures themselves. Self-care can be something as
difficult as looking at themselves in the mirror while affirming their
self-love or as easy as having a cup of coffee with a friend. However, I
believe that the biggest part of self-care is learning to reach out for
help. You see, when they reach out for help, they silently make a
declaration to care for themselves and put themselves first.

Reaching out for help is difficult. It means admitting that they
self-injure, as well as acknowledging their distorted perception of
themselves and their bodies. It means trusting another soul with their
deepest and darkest secrets. It means putting it all out on the table and
asking someone to help them piece it back together. What self-injury is
to delaying the process of healing, self-care is to ushering in the
healing that cleanses the soul. Both are on opposite extremes of the
spectrum; yet, both are just as critical to understand and clarify. As
victims of domestic violence, let us reach out for help and begin our
healing process.

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