Why do people self-harm?
These are some of the reasons people self-harm:
- to express something that is hard to put into words
- turn invisible thoughts or feelings into something visible
- change emotional pain into physical pain
- reduce overwhelming emotional feelings or thoughts
- have a sense of being in control
- escape traumatic memories
- have something in life that they can rely on
- punishment for feelings and experiences
- stop feeling numb, disconnected or dissociated
- create a reason to physically care for oneself
- express suicidal feelings and thoughts without taking one’s own life.
Cases of self-harm are on the increase
The number of young people arriving in hospital emergency after self-harming or taking overdoses is not only much greater since the start of the pandemic, but the number of younger children self-harming is also increasing, reports Dr John Wright of Bradford Royal Infirmary Hospital.
According to the National Library of Medicine, an international survey taken in 2015 concluded that:
- About 17% of all people self-harm during their lifetime
- The average age of the first incident of self-harm is 13
- About 50% of people seek help for self-harming (mainly from friends)
Feelings of hopelessness, despair, rejection, torment and failure often accompany acts of self-harm along with a sense of guilt and inadequacy.
One of the problems of self-harming is that even though a short-term feeling of release is felt, the underlying cause of the problem is not dealt with, and the self-harmer can begin a vicious (quite literally) circle, similar to an addiction, that is difficult to break.
One young woman’s experience
Noemi, a young woman from Madrid was abused by a close family member as a child. After later confronting her abuser, she was accused of lying and told she was evil. Noemi explained to me recently, that as a result of all that had happened: “My mind was so negative. I felt so much hatred towards him, I was absolutely full of hate. The abuse affected many areas of my life and it was horrible. As a teenager I was so rebellious. My heart became hardened towards people. There are many ways you can harm yourself through food, sex, bad relationships, cutting yourself and I did most of them! I remember when I was thirteen, I would make myself vomit because I didn’t like the way I was.”
In a moment we’ll look at how Noemi got free and what dramatically transformed her life for the better. But first, let’s look at current treatments that are usually employed.
Common treatments for self-harm
There are a number of different methods that can be used to treat self-harm, which concentrate on either treating the underlying causes or on treating the behaviour itself. Other approaches involve avoidance techniques, which focus on keeping the individual occupied with other activities, or replacing the act of self-harm with safer methods that do not lead to permanent damage.
But do they work?
Common treatments for self-harm may go some way to alleviate the problem, but the best way is to address the root cause.
What doctors don’t tell you
What most doctors won’t tell you is that the root cause of self-harm and many other mental health issues, is actually spiritual. There are forces of darkness at play, and just because you don’t see them with your physical eyes, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
Let’s hear more from Noemi: “As I was growing up, I thought that forgiving the person who abused me would help, but I couldn’t forgive him, even though I tried. It was like a wall in front of me. But one day I asked the Holy Spirit to show me what it was and I saw that it was an evil spirit – the spirit of rejection – which caused me to feel rejected. I had been experiencing a horrible demon of self-harm. The spirit appeared to be in the form of a mirror that was distorted and each time I looked in it, it made me appear deformed.” So, due to an evil spirit of rejection, Noemi wasn’t seeing her true identity and the way she thought of herself was distorted.
Noemi goes on to say, “That mirror didn’t show a true reflection of who I really was. Thankfully, I was delivered of that spirit. Once I saw the truth of what it was, I told the spirit to leave me at the name of Jesus and it went. Jesus has now set me free and my heart is now merciful and sweet, my life has changed and I have been able to forgive.” Noemi is now a Spirit Lifestyle Coach, helping other people find hope, healing and freedom.
Dark forces at work
According to the Bible, Jesus said, “The thief comes to steal, to kill and to destroy, but I have come that they may have life to the full” (John 10:10). The thief that Jesus is referring to here is satan, the devil, and he works through evil spirits which in turn often work through people.
When bad things happen to us, evil spirits are often involved and because satan is jealous of us and God’s love for us, he tries to destroy our lives. As other people or circumstances come against us in life, it’s important that we choose not to react in a way that would allow evil spirits to gain a foothold in our lives. How they do this is by causing us to feel anger, hatred, rejection, pain, confusion, self-pity, bitterness and so on. They often put thoughts into our minds that seem to be our own thoughts, but are actually lies or half-truths and we believe them.
The more we come into agreement with these thoughts and feelings, the more we will begin to spiral downwards into inner turmoil, depression, anxiety, self-loathing and other negative feelings which then lead to negative patterns of behaviour.
In order to try and free ourselves from these dark thoughts and feelings, we look for a way out, a way to stop that happening. And if we don’t recognise that the root cause of our problems is spiritual, and don’t deal with that through the power of Jesus, then we will often turn to other outlets. Such as substance abuse, (alcohol, drugs etc), over-working, excessive exercise, eating disorders, shutting ourselves away from others, or self-harming in some other way such as inflicting pain on ourselves.
Self-harm help and freedom
What most doctors don’t tell you about self-harm is that there is a simple way out. Once you recognise that the source of the problem is demonic, half the battle is won! In fact, the battle has already been won, because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross. Once the schemes of the enemy are exposed, it’s simply a matter of submitting to Jesus and acknowledging that through Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection, the powers of darkness have been broken.
Hebrews 2:14 states that “Since the children have flesh and blood, He (Jesus) also shared in their humanity, so that by His death, He might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery…”
This means that you no longer need to be subject to the power of satan in your life. You can be free, right now! The gospel means good news and this really is good news and it’s true. Even as you read this truth, you may already start feeling lighter and more hopeful. That’s the power of Jesus beginning to work in your life.
Who should you turn to?
Noemi says, “I would advise anyone going through this, go to the Holy Spirit – He’s the Counsellor and He will help you and He will change your life and guide you to what God has designed for you. Don’t live according to the pain or the rebellious feelings inside because you will harm yourself even more and make things worse. So stop, go to Father God and allow Him to hug you and speak to you. Nothing compares with that.”
You can thank Jesus now for what He did for you when He died in your place. And begin to believe that the same power that raised Him from the dead, the power of the Holy Spirit, is available to come into your life today and set you free from all those negative thoughts and feelings and behaviour that you’ve put up with for so long.
Invite the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit to come into your life and to show you the truth, to open your eyes and your understanding to know what is going on in the spirit realm around you at the moment. Make the decision to come into agreement with God’s good plan for your life and to stop giving the devil any space in your thoughts or your actions.
Ask Father God to forgive you for all that bad stuff and know that through Jesus, He forgives you completely! Allow Him to remove it all from you. Tell those evil spirits to leave you through the powerful name of Jesus and take a deep breath in of the Holy Spirit, then breathe or cough out all those lying evil spirits.
Know that you are loved by God, you are His child, and begin walking in the light. As soon as a light comes on, the darkness flees so don’t forget that.
Supernatural scar removal
Listen to this amazing true story from Alexandria who set up a Miracle Café in Idaho similar to ours:
“One day, a young gentleman around 23 years of age poked his head around the door and asked if he could just sit in our café because he said it felt good in there. I explained it was probably the presence of Jesus he could feel. He seemed happy about that and told me he’d just given his life to Jesus – apparently he’d been involved in the occult previously. I hadn’t seen him before, but I began to share God’s heart for him and God’s destiny for him and his identity that the Holy Spirit showed me. The young guy was delighted and surprised that I knew things about him, even though we hadn’t met before.
As I continued to pray blessings over him, his eyes started to get big and it was weird as he kept looking at his arms. He could hardly contain himself as he pulled back his sleeves. ‘Look, look, look!’ he said. We watched and could see scars from self-harming on both his arms – it was almost as though the finger of God moved across his arms and erased the scars as we watched them disappear. We watched as miracles broke out right there for that young guy as God erased the scars of self-harm.”
I love this true story and it shows that God not only loves to heal the emotional and mental wounds and scars, but also physical scars too. It happened as this young man began to get revelation of God’s love for him and his true identity and destiny in Jesus. It’s interesting that Noemi also got free when the distorted spiritual mirror was revealed to her and she discovered her true identity from God.
I pray this for you too, that “the eyes of your heart would be flooded with light, that you would know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance” in you (see Ephesians 1:18).