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This is a major difficulty experienced by many self-harmers. Being perceived as attention-seeking is painful and far from the truth. If attention seeking really was the biggest motivation for someone struggling with self-harm, it's far from being the most effective way to go about getting it. Self-harm may be a way of someone communicating that they are emotionally distressed or finding life difficult to manage, but there are an infinite number of ways to 'get attention' that don't involve inflicting pain on oneself or hurting those around them. Self-harm is about expression, not attention. And even if it were about attention, what is so awful for that person that hurting themselves has become the best way to be noticed?
People who struggle with self-harm are also accused of being manipulative of others, especially professionals. In reality, very few harmers attend A&E departments and even less talk to their GP's. Self-harm is essentially a very private behaviour, and many harmers will go several months - or even years - before being 'found out' or having the courage to make a disclosure. A lot of people who harm will do it in places on their body that are unlikely to been seen - if someone can't see your scars then they can't find out, can they?
Being perceived as attention seekers will only make it harder for young people to seek the help they need to stop harming.