Self-harm, self-wounding, the all-consuming need for a personal and intimate relationship with pain in all its balming variances is to general consternation an almost universal trait. Whether the practice represents a simple continuation of the pain/pleasure dynamic apparent in infancy, or a pubescent discovered and conveniently amplifiable response to stressful stimulus is an ongoing debate, but neither explanation can successfully illumine the almost demonic grip the imperative has upon the practitioner. Scarification, the ritualistic or artistic marking of the exterior skin surfaces for later personal or public display and enjoyment serve primarily exhibitionist purposes, whereas secretive wounding through cutting, branding, or bruising are indicative of much deeper and darker motivations.
Self-inflicted pain has definite qualities than make it extremely attractive to those of an emotionally internalized, introverted, or ostracized bent. The ability to exert control is paramount to gaining any degree of esteem, the capability to manipulate the pressures and poignancies of existence of equal import. In mine own somewhat skewed perhaps even perverse view being able to impose choice over the most extreme of physical oppressors, the balance between pain and pleasure, oppression, or release, allows a degree of control usually forcibly conceded to those perceived as ascendant.
On occasion I find myself patently running a fingertip over what traces remains of an old scar, injury, or misadventure, perhaps in some way attempting to connect to the events, experiences or trauma that resulted in such a remarkably longevous rendering. Such a seemingly casual gesture of commemoration, quite probably unnoticeable to outside uninformed observers, is both immediately focusing and an excellent exemplar. Creating if you will unique and immediate connect betwixt a simplistic casual gesture and a memorial to extreme physiological and psychological disquiet. Reminiscence of consequence, particularly in a presently harmless form is an ever helpful tool in an individuals decision making processes.
Whilst presenting control to the perpetrator self-harm equally quite clearly displays the purposeful withdrawal of power from an adversary, in effect taking away the ability of another to singularly oppress by adopting the role of an alternate but unauthorized scourge, particularly if acting in a manner the adversary would see as immoral, unconscionable, an abomination.
Does the usually discrete prosecution of such activities indicate shame, embarrassment, guilt, or more likely reticence, introversion, and isolation, does self-harm indicate weakness, cowardliness, and irresolution, or conversely strength, courage, and perseverance. People who are inclined towards self-mutilation are not uncontrolled, haphazard, without attentiveness, quite opposingly they tend towards restraint, structure, and focus. Demeaner and dress oft reflects somberness, exposing a depth of well-considered passions and convictions.
That self-harm or self-mutilation are accepted as being quite normal amongst devout religious and spiritual sects should be of no great surprise, mortification being seen an acceptable avenue towards sanctification. The drive for purification, rebirth, the expunging of oppressive feelings derived from perceived sin, malevolence, or internal and external psychological pressures is implicitly encoded within the human condition. Each and every prospect, subtle or crude offering assistance in the capture and reinforcing of any degree of the desired absolution will be grasped tenaciously,
To seek self-healing through self-mutilation seems superficially to be an absurd paradox, but in the convoluted circumstances of raw emotion patently makes sense. Pain and suffering are survival mechanisms we all are inclined to visit, perhaps not to any great extreme but most certainly to the point of necessity. We all surreptitiously squeeze one hand withing the other, tense a muscle to the point of inducing cramp, grit teeth till our jaw aches. Such coping remedies are insignificant in comparison to incising, branding, burning, or bruising but are symptomatic of the same inherent inclination.
Belatedly my consciousness has just perceived a connect betwixt self-harm and a need for trust, an as yet veiled relationship I shall in time endeavor to extrapolate upon for both my own and your consideration, my ever kind and valued reader.