Why Do Girls Cut? Essay

1303 words - 5 pages

Why do people hurt themselves? In a journal article from the American Journal of Psychotherapy, Louise Ruberman notes that about 2.1 million teens suffer from nonsuicidal self-injury, or NSSI. Young women between the ages of 14 and 18 years old take part in NSSI due to poor development of the relationship with their mothers, childhood abuse, and psychiatric disorders. Although there are multiple ways of causing injury to oneself, cutting of the skin as a means of self-mutilation is said to be the most common (Ruberman 119). We will start out by examining the problems that occur during the relationship development between a mother and a daughter at a young age.
Gender role identity and body image are directly related to the relationship a young girl has with her mother while she is growing up. During the young ages, a girl needs to feel accepted and positively identified by her mother in order to be happy with her femininity. Mothers play a very important role in helping young girls establish their self-esteem, because a young girl’s first role model is most often her mom (Daniluk & Usmiani 47). If this relationship somehow goes astray, the young girl may easily form a negative body image of herself. Behaviors of self abuse often occur right around the age of puberty, and the reaction to a negative self-esteem may result in NSSI and cutting. According to Ruberman (120), girls who choose cutting as their means of self-injury are using their skin as a “canvas” to cut open and obtain some control over their own body. This behavior is derived from the lack of control they feel they posses. Ruberman (120), states in her article that a mother’s job is to stand by her daughter as she grows from birth without interfering with her own fears of separation or disappointment that may come along. If these feelings come forward, then the daughter is at risk of have these psychological problems which may, unfortunately, lead to NSSI (Ruberman 121). If a child feels as though she lacks the confidence to carry out a loving and caring relationship with her mother, then she will also lack the confidence needed to mend this relationship should there be a problem or a conflict.
Another related cause to the suffering of NSSI is a history of child maltreatment. Neglect or abuse during adolescence has shown very high connections to self-injury (Glassman 2484). Glassman states that many adolescents turn to self-abusive behavior because of the model behaviors they were raised with. Children who are consistently neglected, criticized, and emotionally abused learn to become very critical of them. Often times these children use NSSI to express this self-abuse directly (2484). A study done by Glassman and colleagues examined the relationship between NSSI and different childhood abuses. What they discovered was that physical neglect, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse are the most related to NSSI. However, physical abuse and emotional neglect had very little to do with the...

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