Self-harm


#1

Is self-harm such as skin-picking or cutting a mortal sin? Does it have to be confessed?


#2

self-mortification is not a mortal sin so do not become scrupulous beleiving if you die not confessing that you will go to Hell. One of my ex gfs suffered from this when she was extremely depressed. She always talked about how she didnt feel liek herself and did it to escape the pain. If you feel anything like this then i would suggest you try and seek out a spirtual counsellor or talk to your priest, not out of fear of sinning against God but out of wanting to get out of the habit. That is a hard cross to bear and I will pray for you! Talk to your priest though, please.


#3

Assuming your cutting yourself with razor blades or knives, please see a doctor as soon as you can. I know we don’t give medical advice here, but what you’re doing is an illness. Also, talk to your priest. Whatever you do, self mutilation is not right. Get help fast.

God bless you.


#4

I presume the question is not about certain type of self-mortification, but rather a habit.

Self-mutilation is a serious matter and my indicate some type of underlying problem. If you know someone who is doing this, I would suggest you urge that person to seek medical and psychological evaluation immediately.

Is it sinful? I do not know. Confess it, comnplete with all the background, and let the priest tell you.

Whomever this person is, I am offering my prayers for them.

"signofcross::gopray::gopray2:


#5

mutilation is what i meant not mortification :S… like i said above my ex went through this so please go talk to a priest. I know somewhat what it is like to go through that kind of ordeal.


#6

originally posted rrp
Assuming your cutting yourself with razor blades or knives, please see a doctor as soon as you can. I know we don’t give medical advice here, but what you’re doing is an illness. Also, talk to your priest. Whatever you do, self mutilation is not right. Get help fast.

This would be going back to the 1960’s but when I was in high school, I used to carve initials in my hands and arms of boyfriends, etc.

I did stop doing it on my own after I graduated from school. The reason I did it was for rebellion and also I was going to school, working, and studying all the time. It probably was some type of release. I sometimes felt devoid of emotions so if I could feel pain, at least I felt something. The heritage I come from is known to have “melancholia” but it really isn’t depression.

On these forums I have been told not to worry about teens in black clothes, with body piercings and tattoes(I hear these are painful). I question if these things are a signal of return to tribalism?

The issue may be what degree does she cut herself? Is it occasionally? Is she feeling stressed out? How old is she? Is it a he or she as the issues may be different?

If it is severe, maybe the person does need professional help.
I agree with others, you should talk with a priest about it.


#7

I don’t want to go into details about the degree/way of self-harm in the specific case. The intention with self-harm is to harm one self and the underlying reason is self-hatred, and when it comes to cutting, skin-picking etc. it often becomes a habit/ocd-like situation. So the question is if these are sins that most be confessed or not. The reason for asking is that e.g suicide or suicide attempts are mortals sins (even though most people who try to commit suicide are depressed or mentally ill), right?
So is it a mortal sin to hate and harm oneself, despite that it is some kind of “mental problem”?


#8

cutting and other self-abuse such as bulemia is objectively sinful, but like many similar behaviors, usually has a mental health component–depression, OCD etc.–that makes it unlikely the individual gives full free will consent to the action. Once the person recognizes they have a problem they do have a responsibility to seek help for it.

If you mean mortification in the sense of penitential practices, we should only do commonly accepted physcial penances such as fast and abstinence as traditionally defined by church discipline. Nothing outside commonly accepted practices should be done without advice and permission of one’s confessor or spiritual director.


#9

Interesting question. And I have known quite a few cutters. Many times too they do this to release the deeper pain. In other words, a physical pain to take your mind of a deep rooted emotional trauma. May not make sense to many but it is sad.


#10

that sumnmarizes the majority of cases!!! You are 100% right. This is why counselling not drugs (such as anti-ds) are required to get at the underlying issue


#11

originally posted by TheHopeless
The intention with self-harm is to harm one self and the underlying reason is self-hatred, and when it comes to cutting, skin-picking etc. it often becomes a habit/ocd-like situation

In the 60’s as a high schooler, I don’t remember feeling hatred toward myself or even depression. It was more rebellion toward authority and I really didn’t want to hurt myself.I I thought it looked cute like a tattoo. I never had a suicide thought as many high schoolers do. That is why I say you need to talk to the person and ask questions. Maybe today it is different? Long hair was just coming in on the boys but it wasn’t common and we were still wearing skirts pass our knees with blouses.

Isn’t that what black clothes, purple hair, tattoos, body piercings,and Gothic jewelry are about today. No person had those things in the 60’s except tattoos on bikers or Navy sailors.

Later in the 60’s there was a massive baby boom population, some of which became “hippies”. Another group,the “antiwar” group had been active in the US since the turn of twentieth century.It became very active during the Vietnam war.


#12

The original post does not sound like mortification at all- it sounds like an emotional problem (which is very unhealthy- spiritually, and physically). No one should practice corporal mortification, other than fasting as the church recommends, without the guidance of a spiritual director.


#13

My question is about self-hatred and self-harm and the sin-fullness of these. It is not about fashion

In the 60’s as a high schooler, I don’t remember feeling hatred toward myself or even depression. It was more rebellion toward authority and I really didn’t want to hurt myself.I I thought it looked cute like a tattoo. I never had a suicide thought as many high schoolers do. That is why I say you need to talk to the person and ask questions. Maybe today it is different? Long hair was just coming in on the boys but it wasn’t common and we were still wearing skirts pass our knees with blouses.

nor is it mortification

The original post does not sound like mortification at all- it sounds like an emotional problem (which is very unhealthy- spiritually, and physically). No one should practice corporal mortification, other than fasting as the church recommends, without the guidance of a spiritual director.

It is about harming oneself intentional in a “compulsive” way.


#14

I used to do this.

I dont believe it was a mortal sin because it was often something I was not in complete control of. It took the intervention of another person to stop me. It also took counciling and meds.

To be a mortal sin doesn’t there have to be full knowlege and full consent? I honestly didn’t want to harm myself at the time - but it was out of desperation for a release, to make everything stop.


#15

I also used to do this and it was to control rising panic. When a panic attack started, I found that cutting myself worked in a similar way to sedatives. It became habit very quickly as it IS an addiction. I have, with lots of support, stopped and I really can’t imagine myself doing it. The thought of it is bizarre - it doesn’t seem like something I would ever do. So I can assume that it was illness that caused me to do it. I am not ill anymore and have no desire to hurt myself. Even when panic and fear come now, I am able to use other coping strategies that are healthier. That, for me, is a huge achievement. I was ostracized in my work place because I was ill and self-harmed. People were disgusted with me. I didn’t do it openly but I did get found out. People said I was bad because of it and this condemnation and self condemnation increased the behaviour. So, please, if you know somebdy who has this problem, be a friend to them. The last thing they need is condemnation. Anyway, I still haven’t been to confession (12 years now) because I am terrified of the reactions of others. I need to go to confession but I need to be able to trust my confessor. Trust is something I find difficult to do. I have only 2 friends in the whole world. The rest ‘dumped’ me when I was ill and I desparately want to make friends but am too afraid of being rejected and condemned.


#16

bump


#17

Linnyo, please go to confession. A good confessor will not become angry at you, ridicule you or laugh at you. And you will feel so much more at peace with God’s blessing and forgiveness.

What you can do is go to your local church after morning mass. Ask one of the sweet little ladies there who would be a good kind confessor. They will give you a name. (Everyone in a parish knows who the best confessors are.)

Then get a bulletin and find out confession times. Or you can call the office and make a special appointment.

Please do this for yourself.

That’s what the priests are for. They’ve given their lives to waiting for people like you to walk into their confessionals so they can bring you back to God. :o


#18

If you are doing this I would recommend seeing your doctor before your priest. That’s a serious problem often indicative of psychiatric ilness.


#19

Linnyo,

I feel for you. My wife was in very similar circumstances. She also used poor coping skills and still struggles with her self worth and with trust. One thing she did though was to seek confession. I believe that was a major part of her continued healing process.

There is NOTHING you can tell a confessor that he hasn’t heard.

No one will reject you
No one will judge you

We are all part of one body and we need all parts healthy and whole.

You will be in my prayers.


#20

Originally Posted by TheHopeless
Is self-harm such as skin-picking or cutting a mortal sin? Does it have to be confessed?

i have the same questions. i am very surprised how many cutters there are. Very shocked! Wouldn’t you think that it is a sin? If God made us in his image, if one hates oneself are they not hating God, if one kills oneself are they not killing God, in a way?

Chyna


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