View Full Version : Compulsion to (REALLY) strike yourself?


Stevuke79
09-04-14, 11:33 AM
Does anyone experience a compulsion to punch themselves? For me it's particularly when remembering things that bring up feelings of self loathing.
(I posted this in the private password thread too - forgive me if you're seeing it twice)

Most of those memories aren't even that bad; not bad at all in some cases. (One is just guilt that I spoke in a rude tone to a professor that I really liked - but at the time I felt so awful. I even apologized after class and he was incredibly gracious.) But they meant something to me, and they've become associated with feelings of self loathing and usually come with a strong compulsive desire to hit myself. I think some of them also relate to a "promise" I made to myself as a kid to be perfect. (Obviously, I don't believe in such a silly promise anymore, but when I fell short I think it meant a lot to me.)

The hitting used to be not so bad - maybe at night I would give in a few times and let a few blows go... one every few months. But lately it's flared up like crazy. So far during the day I have always caught it - but a few times I've caught myself literally with my hand in the air or on my face. And last night when I wasn't very alert, I really knocked the shyght out of myself. I mean I don't see bruises but I think I feel some mild residual pain. (The pain is mild and no big deal, but it's a strange thing to do to one's self.)

I've thought whether this is like cutting. I don't think so - if I understand cutting (pardon me if I have it wrong), there's something relaxing about the self-harm and it's not loathing as much as a path to the endorphins.

Anyone else do this? I started mentioning it to my shrink - he says it's related to feelings of deep conflict. (I also mentioned it in the context of other things that more explicitly imply the same - and I think it's related but I'm not sure.)

Stevuke79
09-04-14, 11:35 AM
(That actual post was written yesterday. And by the way, my face doesn't hurt anymore. So yeah, I think I lightly bruised myself. You should see the other guy??)

Conman
09-04-14, 12:21 PM
does self-harm of any form fall into this?

i use a rubberband on the wrist to try and keep me from nailbiting, it's been mostly successful id say. lip biting is harder to use it for cuz it's my face vs something i have to raise to my face.

for some reason when i get certain depressed kinds or am having a really bad day, i want my body to feel as badly as i do and i usually do bad things to it, typically drinking alot that night with a high chance of hangover. not sure why but that's how ive been.

even as a kid taking martial arts the tae kwon do place really only had black belt or above people who could use it at any time, not everybody before then. i need something like jiu-jitsu cuz youre either gonna get hit or you successfully defend yourself/take down the opponent. thats the only way to learn is to not get hurt and fight back. same principle i feel for making body feel bad as i do

Abi
09-04-14, 12:59 PM
A month or so ago, I was in this extremely bored, depressed state, so I ate chicken that I knew was on the verge of spoiling with the intention of getting stomach cramps as that would be "less boring".

When I mentioned it to a friend she suggested it may be a form of self harm. :confused:

Conman
09-04-14, 01:10 PM
found this on the wikipedia page

"Non-Suicidal Self Injury (NSSI) was added to the DSM-V as its own disorder, which distinguishes it from milder forms of self-harm. This disorder occurs when a person is deliberately harming themselves in a physical way without the intent of committing suicide. Self-harm without suicidal intent can be seen on a spectrum, just like many other disorders (substance abuse, gambling addiction)..."

given it can be a spectrum i suppose a big part of it is also intent. i dont bite my nails cuz i want to **** my hands and fingers up (i love working with my hands, i need those for my career!), i bite because of some impulse control issue and compulsive 'need' (dont wanna use that word) to bite my nails and since lip i guess i have oral fixation issues in general.

the bad day and taking it out on my body thru whatever means falls under NSSI i suppose...

let's see if dropping that definition makes things for others better or worse. mwahahaha

peripatetic
09-04-14, 01:29 PM
is it skin picking, conman? that is (dermatillomania is), technically, i think considered an anxiety issue. i have gone through spells of picking at hangnails and so forth, and lip picking on some level, from anxiety, though i wouldn't qualify for a dianosis of it.

i think that's typically considered distinct from self harm, but self harm definitely comes in many forms (from cutting to burning to possibly being types of food restriction, depending on what the clinician says--i agree the "intent" is going to play a big role--to bruising). my understanding is that it's most often for "release" but can also be for "feeling something" as opposed to feeling numb. it's definitely, as you said, a spectrum and can be part of many different disorders.

Stevuke79
09-04-14, 01:35 PM
I don't think it falls under non-suicidal self harm, which I think is something I used to do. The way I understand from Dr. Wiki, it's a sort of addiction in that it's related to the dopaminergic response to pain. I think people who do this say it feels calming or soothing,.. kind of like a chemical or behavioral addiction. (alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, internet)

I used to do something similar in college - I would work my hand squeezer till it hurt like heck until I realized I get the same effect with a metal pen leveraged against the bones in my hand to pinch the skin - much easier. It was always deliberate and never felt compulsive.

On the other hand, I still do the pen thing, but rarely and it actually does stem the "hunger" for other compulsions,.. so maybe it's partially compulsive, .. but I always think of it as more "deliberate-medicinal". Like House did in the below scene, smashing his hand with a pestle while detoxing. (0:40-1:10).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcZ_ccl_Ke0

does self-harm of any form fall into this?

i use a rubberband on the wrist to try and keep me from nailbiting, it's been mostly successful id say. lip biting is harder to use it for cuz it's my face vs something i have to raise to my face.

Right!! I think like you!!

I feel like I'm an addict, .. and the best I can do is choose my addiction. I was addicted to video games, then the gym, then mountain biking, .. now I'm trying to develop a guitar addiction.

Btw, my philosophy is to pick addictions that are:
1. Low consumption: money, time, energy, life, health
2. Self limiting: (wears you out, unlike for instances video games which can be nonstop.)
3. Accessible: In other words, I need my guitar to be closer than a video game and you need your rubber-band closer than your nails and lips. :)

for some reason when i get certain depressed kinds or am having a really bad day, i want my body to feel as badly as i do and i usually do bad things to it, typically drinking alot that night with a high chance of hangover. not sure why but that's how ive been.That sounds a bit more like wanting control over your feelings - or wanting balance between your body and your feelings.

and THAT feels more like what I experience.

even as a kid taking martial arts the tae kwon do place really only had black belt or above people who could use it at any time, not everybody before then. i need something like jiu-jitsu cuz youre either gonna get hit or you successfully defend yourself/take down the opponent. thats the only way to learn is to not get hurt and fight back. same principle i feel for making body feel bad as i doThat sounds more like self conditioning/training/punishing (or not punishing but self reinforcing).

Are you sure that's how you feel? Not how you rationalize? (Because I used to rationalize it too. :))

peripatetic
09-04-14, 01:58 PM
"release"

i realize i should clarify. not just release of emotion, but expression of emotion in (one of) the (only) way(s) the person might have available.

i've met a number of people who engage in various forms of self harm, but don't have personal experience with it so that is all second hand.

TygerSan
09-04-14, 01:59 PM
I disagree. I do think it falls on the spectrum of NSSI, though maybe not the most typical case. It still involves a release of some kind (release from compulsion, but still), and it still involves negative self thoughts.

For me, I SI by biting myself (have since I was a toddler. While frequency is quite low now, I'd be lying if I said it *never* happens now). It's somewhere between a compulsion and impulsiveness. For me, it involves feelings that I can't control, or feelings in response to a situation I have no control over.

I don't know if I can find the source anymore, but one of the *few* self injury sites that I resonated with was one that had an article on how *invalidation* of feelings can lead to self-injury, as one learns not to trust ones emotions. I think that a lot of us, because we don't respond/react in typical ways to situations, and thus are often invalidated (You're so sensitive! Stop overreacting. Why are you crying, it's just a minor change in routine?, etc.).

I wonder sometimes if some of the SI is almost a tic-like reaction? As an addendum to this, has anyone else noticed tics and such more as an adult rather than a child? I *definitely* tic now on occasion, but don't remember being called out on it as a child (and I was defo being assessed every 3 years or so by teams and such, so I would've thought it would've been picked up).

daveddd
09-04-14, 02:23 PM
I bite my thumbs and fingers. Not the nails

The finger. So bad they're calloused

daveddd
09-04-14, 02:25 PM
Opiates or some junk

Conman
09-04-14, 02:39 PM
is it skin picking, conman? that is (dermatillomania is), technically, i think considered an anxiety issue. i have gone through spells of picking at hangnails and so forth, and lip picking on some level, from anxiety, though i wouldn't qualify for a dianosis of it.

not dermatillomania. just nail biting and dermatophagia around the dry/easily biteable skin around freshly bitten nails when it gets bad. then lip biting whatever that is. and i have a tendency to pull my eyelashes out cuz it feels like there's something in them even when there's not and i keep going at it.

@steve: for the martial arts thing that is both how i feel and how i rationalize it, it makes sense. pain is a pretty powerful negative reinforcer. and youre damn right i want control over my feelings and emotions, theyve been ****ing with me hard lately and im pretty sure lots of places say not to try and control them, just accept them. well i have a big problem with accepting lots of things about myself and some new emotions i didnt know i had are only gonna make it harder/worse. i dont bottle my emotions up to control them tho. i get overwhelmed when my control slips

Stevuke79
09-04-14, 03:52 PM
is it skin picking, conman? that is (dermatillomania is), technically, i think considered an anxiety issue. i have gone through spells of picking at hangnails and so forth, and lip picking on some level, from anxiety, though i wouldn't qualify for a dianosis of it.

i think that's typically considered distinct from self harm, but self harm definitely comes in many forms (from cutting to burning to possibly being types of food restriction, depending on what the clinician says--i agree the "intent" is going to play a big role--to bruising). my understanding is that it's most often for "release" but can also be for "feeling something" as opposed to feeling numb. it's definitely, as you said, a spectrum and can be part of many different disorders.

I think that's basically one of the distinctions I wanted to make,.. but yeah also as you say it's all related. At the end of the day compulsions are compulsions.

peripatetic
09-04-14, 04:41 PM
I think that's basically one of the distinctions I wanted to make,.. but yeah also as you say it's all related. At the end of the day compulsions are compulsions.

i must've been unclear. i don't mean it's all related. i meant that what appears to be the same behaviour can present in different conditions, but have very different causes and often different resolutions (just as "inattentiveness" can be found in multiple consitions, mental and physical health related--from adhd to hormonal imbalance--and the cause and resolutions are very different). when i said it's on a spectrum i was meaning more what tyger and conman said about self harm.

if anything, my mental healthcare professionals over the years have considered what i've done "without thinking" from anxiety (which is not consistent, ritualistic, recurring, or a few other criteria, including that it was very easily remedied without medication or any intervention beyond putting a bandaid on hangnails when they occur and using chapstick) and things done from self harm to be quite different. that's the information i've been given and in various settings where there have been people prone to self injury there are striking differences. and they've never considered me "similar to/like them" either. and that's due to intention/motivation, i'd say. and that's across the board in my experience with mental health and encountering those who do self injure in whatever way at whatever degree of severity.

hope that clarifies what i was talking about. x

Stevuke79
09-08-14, 10:42 AM
I used to bite my nails so badly that when I ran out of nail I would gnaw on the skin, and in elementary school my cuticles got very badly infected. Someone pointed it out and said it was gross and I just stopped cold turkey.

It took YEARS to all grow back and I thought they would never be 100%,.. I almost wrote that I can still find a few scars, but nope,.. I just checked,... all healed!! lol

I bite my thumbs and fingers. Not the nails

The finger. So bad they're calloused

Stevuke79
09-08-14, 10:44 AM
@steve: for the martial arts thing that is both how i feel and how i rationalize it, it makes sense. pain is a pretty powerful negative reinforcer. and youre damn right i want control over my feelings and emotions, theyve been ****ing with me hard lately and im pretty sure lots of places say not to try and control them, just accept them. well i have a big problem with accepting lots of things about myself and some new emotions i didnt know i had are only gonna make it harder/worse. i dont bottle my emotions up to control them tho. i get overwhelmed when my control slips

Right, I hear that. I guess I can see how it's both, .. but for me even though I strongly relate to the discipline thing, it feels like a compulsion. So for me I feel like I sort of made up the discipline thing.

Stevuke79
09-08-14, 10:47 AM
..For me, it involves feelings that I can't control, or feelings in response to a situation I have no control over.

I don't know if I can find the source anymore, but one of the *few* self injury sites that I resonated with was one that had an article on how *invalidation* of feelings can lead to self-injury, as one learns not to trust ones emotions. I think that a lot of us, because we don't respond/react in typical ways to situations, and thus are often invalidated (You're so sensitive! Stop overreacting. Why are you crying, it's just a minor change in routine?, etc.).

I think that's a great insight,.. I think for me, if I thought about it, that could be the source of it.

I wonder sometimes if some of the SI is almost a tic-like reaction? As an addendum to this, has anyone else noticed tics and such more as an adult rather than a child?

Much more! I pretty much didn't have them as a kid. Or if I did, we didn't notice them.

I like your theory on this. I think it's a good way to try to understand these things.

Stevuke79
09-08-14, 10:52 AM
i must've been unclear. i don't mean it's all related. i meant that what appears to be the same behaviour can present in different conditions, but have very different causes and often different resolutions (just as "inattentiveness" can be found in multiple consitions, mental and physical health related--from adhd to hormonal imbalance--and the cause and resolutions are very different). when i said it's on a spectrum i was meaning more what tyger and conman said about self harm.

Ah,.. I think I superimposed my world view on what you said, lol. sorry.

I agree with what you're saying too - similar appearing symptoms can have very different causes. In this case I think it might all have something to do with letting out emotional energy. But I agree that's not necessarily the case.

OhLookABunny
12-21-14, 01:13 AM
I think there are different classifications to the things people have posted about. Fidgety habits or tics are a thing in themselves. Mine, for instance, include hair twisting (not pulling it out, but it does damage the hair if done too much). I've done that since I was a tiny kid and it drove my mom nuts. (I also don't think reasonable use of the rubber band technique in an effort to overcome a bad habit is necessarily self-abusive. It depends on the person, if they can let it be more of a reminder than a harsh thing.)

Another one I have is not letting a minor scab heal - it's like, despite intellectual knowledge that it'd heal best if left alone, I always think maybe it's close enough that I could get rid of that hard ugly scab and it might not bleed but usually I misjudge and it does. Ewww, I know. Sorry for the gross-out. :p

I went through a phase in my late 20s-early 30s when I was having a lot of anger and not dealing with it constructively, and did a few minor self-punishing things like scratch my arms. Might've been a bit hormonal those times too.

The worst mean physically hurtful things I've done to myself are those things that on rare occasions I do when I really screwed up and caused myself stress or anguish or deep disappointment or frustration. Making a very stupid mistake, such as forgetting something important, or accidentally breaking an item I value - something that just makes me furious with myself. :mad: Then I would do something like smack my head :doh:or my leg or bash my hand against something. Truly a desire to physically punish myself for my stupidity. It's similar to wanting to throw things when having a hissy fit, I suppose, only I sometimes turned it back on myself as a punishment.

But then - I feel guilty - I'm Catholic, and I feel like I should confess that as a sin because if I'd done it to someone else I would definitely confess it, and since the Bible says to love your neighbor as yourself, well, that doesn't work so well if you are hateful and violent towards yourself! :rolleyes: So what I've done to resolve this guilt quandary is work on resisting those urges (I even pray when I get one!) and like road rage, or wanting to throw things and cuss in frustration, over time I've outgrown some of it.