Should I confess self-injury?


Should I bring up this topic in confession? I don't know if it is a sin but I have trouble believing it because it is part of an illness. I am reluctant to do so because I once went to a priest for help and he reacted very negatively which made me feel even worse. This was the first and only time I ever tried to reach out and have a personal talk with a priest.


[quote="_Darla, post:1, topic:183457"]
Should I bring up this topic in confession? I don't know if it is a sin but I have trouble believing it because it is part of an illness. I am reluctant to do so because I once went to a priest for help and he reacted very negatively which made me feel even worse. This was the first and only time I ever tried to reach out and have a personal talk with a priest.


Suggestion #1. Find a different Priest:coffeeread:

Suggestion #2. Confess the self injury to the new Priest, and make a point of reminding hum that this is an illness as well as a sin.:sad_yes:

Suggestion #3. Ask for the Annointing Of The Sick, as well as for the Absolution.:gopray:

As a recovered alcoholic, I frequently receiver the Sacrament Of The Annointing Of The Sick, and it helps me in my struggles with alcoholism:yup:

As always, these OPINIONS have not been endosed by my three cats:nope:


Darla, if it was due to an illness then it is not a sin. I think I know what you are talking about. You did not want to hurt yourself; you just couldn't help it, right? Please seek help from a psychologist. A psychologist will understand what you are going through.


I would still recommend talking to a new/different priest.


Along with the good advice above, Jesus did say, 'Love your neighbor as you love yourself.'[Matthew 22:39] In those words of Jesus there is an implicit command to love yourself, which also entails not hurting yourself, so yes, it's a good idea to quietly and calmly mention it in confession.
May God bless and help you


I would confess it (even though I don't think you were sinning) because he might be able to help you sort through your feelings. But I would also talk to a psychologist. A psychologist will definitely be able to help you without judgement because they understand the nature of these illnesses.

You know, priests are just like anyone else. The first priest you went to may not have understood the nature of anxiety disorders or depression to be able to have helped you, rather than being critical of you. I'll pray you find someone more experienced with this type of thing, so that you can heal from both the priest and the psychologist.


Find a gentle priest, and confess, or try the first one again, and see if he’s settled down. :slight_smile:


I am in therapy but I haven’t mentioned the self-injury.

I have to wait until Easter for my confession. I’m really dreading it because I have other awful things to confess and the priest (another one) I will have to confess to recently made a remark in class saying something to the effect that someone who is always sad isn’t a Christian. How can I expect him and others to understand and give advice when they are feeling like this?

Can someone receive the Anointing of the Sick for a mental illness? Would that be within my rights as a Catholic or would it be the decision of the priest?


I used to be make my self throw up and take laxatives everyday. I confessed it to our priest along with my other sins. He focused almost 100% on my self injury and it made me feel so much better. We spoke for a long time about it, he made me realize that by harming myself I am harming Gods work. If you feel the same as I did, and feel a need to confess then that is God telling you that you need to confess!! It will make you feel so much better… it really did for me!!
God bless x


Sorrow is a key part of Christianity…

Christ’s life was full of it, the ‘Man of Sorrows’, and our Blessed Mother’s, ‘Our Lady of Dolours’…

We have to have a healthy sorrow, however, for the sake of God, and if it is depression instead, or despair, we have to overcome that since it is self destructive.

There is healthy sorrow and unhealthy sorrow.

We have to count our blessings and gifts God gives us and be thankful, and that will help lift us up and sustain us with the happiness we need.

I recommend Eucharistic Adoration for healing. . if you cannot get to church, try here.


yes even if it may be part of an illness. The sacrament of confession is a healing sacrament and you need grace all the more if you are also battling an underlying illness or compulsion. Yes a priest might react negatively, but bear in mind that is his job, and we should accept in humility the help he gives us, even if we don’t want to hear it, and even if he expresses himself badly. Of course anytime illness is present in body or mind we are also obligated to seek help from the professionals whose job it is to assist us with that burden as well.

there are two settings where you only hurt yourself if you are not totally honest: in confession, and with your doctor or therapist.


Darla, You should tell your therapist. Some therapists are not equipped to deal with this type of illness. If that is the case with yours, ask him or her for a referral to a psychiatrist.

Talking to a priest might be good for you, my only concern is if the priest doesn’t understand the nature of your illness, he may see this as an act of free will rather than a symptom of illness. Make sure the priest knows it is an illness.


I didn’t tell my therapist because I had stopped hurting myself for more than half a year and only started again a few days ago because things are just really bad right now. I’m sure I will overcome it again.

BTW, in confession, is it okay to explain the reasons for certain sins in our life? I don’t want to excuse them but in some cases the priest wouldn’t be able to give advice. But then again, confession is not a therapy session? But where else am I going to get help from a spiritual point of view?

Does anyone know about my questions regarding the Anointing of the Sick?


Oh you should explain the reasons, they have to do with how the priest properly judges the matter. :slight_smile:

I don’t know what advice to give you on the Annointing, traditionally it is only for people in danger of death, but this has changed lately to a more generous application.

If you believe your illness is serious enough, you may ask for it and leave it to the priest’s best judgement whether to apply it or not.


anyone battling a chronic or acute illness, or something like surgery that is a possible danger is a candiate for this sacrament. For those who are able, it should be preceded by sacramental confession. By all means ask your priest, the fact that you are in treatment for an illness should be enough. The interpretation of who is a candidate is fairly broad. If you should feel that something you want to confess and ask forgiveness for arises even in part because of an illness or disorder, you tell that to the priest in confession as well. the grace of both these sacraments is real and powerful in combatting these trials.

if you are not honest with your therapist there is little likelihood the treatment will help much.


It is okay to briefly explain circumstances for sins in Confession - that is how the priest judges culpability and offers advice.

Find a good spiritual director or Catholic therapist - I don’t have resources that will help you find such but I’m sure the Apologists would. Please post in the AAA forum.

I pray you find the healing you need. Christ’s peace be with you.


Praying for your healing.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death.

closed #18

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