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Day 25


I've just read the research below and I suggest that its conclusions could be extended to cutting.

In short, it says that these behaviors are not related to nervousness, anxiety or anger but to frustration or boredom by those who tend to be perfectionists. This makes a great difference to what might be attempted as a remedy, e.g. activity-based rather than contemplation-based.

I hope that this doesn't come across as too simplistic but can act as a strand of an insight.


Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Volume 46, March 2015, Pages 189-197


Body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) are repetitive, injurious, and non-functional habits that cause significant distress or impairment, including hair-pulling, skin-picking, and nail-biting. The emotion regulation (ER) model suggests that BFRBs are triggered by negative emotions and reinforced by alleviation of unpleasant affect. The frustrated action (FA) model suggests that BFRBs are triggered by and alleviate impatience, boredom, frustration, and dissatisfaction. Individuals with BFRBs are hypothesized to be particularly susceptible to these emotions because they demonstrate maladaptive planning styles characterized by high standards and unwillingness to relax.

Show Comments (4)

  • Anonymous Anonymous
    65 months ago

    Hm, interesting... But have to say I disagree that the two are similar and can be equally applied.

    I have dermatillomania (obsessive skin picking) and yes, it is partially (but not completely) triggered by frustration and feelings of imperfection, but it is triggered just as much by stress and anxiety - I ALWAYS find it gets worse and more extreme when I'm overly stressed about things.

    As a recovering self-harmer, and yes, I still occasionally slip up! I have to say, I cannot imagine it being "trivialised" in a way that would suggest it is triggered by latent feelings of boredom, and it is slightly offensive to me personally, to know that it is seen that way by some people.

    Self harm is not used as a boredom buster. Most often it is something that is done as a "release". It is a control mechanism, when our lives become so downtrodden and feelings of hopelessness are at their highest, it is often the one thing that people feel they can control, they can "let out" some of the negative emotion - the pain, the rush of adrenaline, the hormone surges that occur post-cutting maintains a status quo. And for many of us (having spoken personally to many self-harmers) it is something that we rarely know we are doing, it becomes a crutch - seeing ourselves bleed, hurting ourselves in a physical manner, many people I have spoken to have said that by doing so, there is always that hope that if we bleed, if we subject ourselves to that negative process, we are allowing the negativity to "seep" out of us.

    Yes, it is short lived. Yes, we feel incredibly guilty and a lot of the time we feel worse for doing so. But it is rarely for attention. Rarely is it because we are "bored" or because we are frustrated with the way things are.

    dermatillomania, trictillomania and onychophagia is on the OCD spectrum, and not to be confused with a "bad habit" they are serious and debilitating. I've often ended up with my hands and feet being bandaged because I've torn chunks out of them so badly that I've ended up scarring myself.

    Cutting and self harm is NOT ocd, and is triggered by something much, much more damaging and dangerous. Keeping "busy" helps to alleviate the BFRBs. It cannot stop someone feeling like they do when they self harm.

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  • Lammy Lammy
    65 months ago

    Lac, you took the words right out of my mouth x

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  • Waiting for a life Waiting for a life
    61 months ago

    Runcicle where have you gone? You OK?

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  • runcicle runcicle
    61 months ago

    Thanks for your interest, Waiting. I read everything and comment occasionally.

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