May 17, 2012

How to Avoid Being an Emotional Cutter

by Kim Jackson of PeaceLoveandPrettyThings

Have you ever heard of teens who physically cut their bodies as a way of dealing with emotional pain? They are called cutters. They commit this physical act of hurting themselves as a way to focus; thinking that they won’t feel the emotional hurt if they are focused on the physical pain.

It’s not always a logical connection, but in many ways adults can be cutters as well--emotionally. Have you ever felt that “fight or flight” emotion? Ever felt like there was something you needed to do, but couldn’t get motivated to do it until you were backed into a corner? You know—not getting your finances together until you’ve spent 6 months close to being evicted from your apartment; or not getting a job until you’re so severely in debt that it will take you years to climb out; or quitting your job without having a new one because you feel like that will force you to do the search.

Holding off on making a change until the very last second is, in a sense, punishing yourself emotionally--like a cutter would punish his or herself physically. So how can you avoid getting to this point? With two very important things: planning and patience.


Figure out what your goal is, and then write down the logical steps to get there. Give yourself a time limit: can you do this in a week? One year? Five years? Set reasonable expectations for yourself and be adamant about working consistently toward your goal. You won’t see progress overnight but you will be able to track that change weekly, or monthly or yearly—if you stick to it.


And that’s where the patience comes in. Yes—you’re frustrated at your circumstances, but knowing that you have a plan in place to change them gives you the upper hand. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, just take a look at how far you’ve come, and then update your plan; this gives you something to focus on other than what’s upsetting you.

Have you ever felt like you were an emotional cutter? What other tools did you use to turn your frustration around?

PLPT is co-authored by Kim Jackson and GG Renee with the intention of connecting with women through messages of self-love and personal freedom. We believe that true beauty starts on the inside and radiates outward, so maintaining emotional health and balance should be an essential part of every woman's beauty regimen. We use this platform as an opportunity to share our personal experiences, and to help other women who are seeking guidance to find their own truths and live fabulously.

9 Weigh in!:

Abby said...

I can relate with me it was with food. i would eat complete crap until I had the wake up call of heart disease that was the ass whooping that made me revise my habits for the better. Thank you for shining light onto a taboo subject in the black community.

MsJisola said...

I definitely have this issue. I wait til the last minute to do things; I feel stuck where I currently in life and overall just not focused. I've been reading and working on staying positive as much as possible so that I can accomplish a lot of my goals. I meet with a life coach in one week to get the ball rolling. The hardest part is proper planning and being patient. It is indeed a process.

TTsGurlBB said...

I don't feel like I'm an emotional cutter as I don't deal well with the examples of stress you mentioned, therefore I do everything in my power to keep my proverbial boat floating smoothly. But, with less important things I am a definite procrastinator so I know that planning (and patience) is something that I need to implement in my life pronto.

Anonymous said...

I can attest that this does work. Planning and organiznig my life in order to achieve particular goals. For example when the new year started, I said I wanted to pay off my credit card and car by June. I saved intensly from each pay cheque and June is almost here and my car will be paid off by the end of the month, as will my credit card. Leaving room for other things.

Anonymous said...

I was one of those teens that cut myself. It's a horrible cycle that plagued me for years. At first, it helped me handle my depression. But then I had to cut for every little thing that happened. It became such an addiction that I had to cut, even when I was happy. I couldn't go a day without doing it. But I found support in my friends, learned how to channel those temptations into something else, and now I'm proud to say that at 19 years old, I've been cut free for 1 year and a half.

Anonymous said...

That is awesome to the other comment. The power of a support system.

aWickedRose said...

As someone who used to cut this article is just...not what's good. I get where the metaphor was TRYING to go but it was clunky and smacks of disrespect to what self harm really is. Adults do it too by the way. Escapism or procrastination would have been better tie ins for what the author was trying to address and it wouldn't have trivialized a serious mental health issue/disorder. It seems like they just grabbed at something to pull in readers. (The author not Nikki.)

watkinsabob said...

I actually read this same article on Kim Jackson blog the other day. Great article!

Leah Omonya said...

I'm not a cutter myself, but have seen girl my age (15), in school with cuts all over their arms, you just dont know whether you should say anything.

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