I found this years ago in a Facebook group and have always thought it quite brilliant, hence my reason for sharing it today:
The DOs and DON’Ts of Self Harm
01. Don’t ask them why. If they want you to know why, they will tell you. Most of the time they don’t even know why.
02. Sometimes they just need to tell someone, because they fucking need to.
03. Never talk about him/her behind their back. They will find out and they will be pissed. They prefer you to speak directly to them.
04. If you ask them to never self-harm again, and they say “okay”, they’re lying.
05. Never ask them to never self-harm again.
06. Don’t try and understand why they do it. You’re wasting your time.
07. If you don’t know what to do, just ask them “Are you [insert appropriate form of harm here]? Do you need to talk about it?”
08. Get over your own insecurities about worrying if they’ll hate you for asking.
09. Asking shows concern. Not asking shows negligence and an “I really couldn’t care less” attitude.
10. Telling a teacher/parent/counsellor/other friend before talking to the person in question shows “I can’t be fucked working up the courage to ask them myself”. But it’s better than #09.
11. Offering suggestions of other means of coping is pointless.
12. Tell them that you’re there for them. No matter what. And you never judge. And you will always listen. And you will always just be there. And sometimes you never have to say a word at all. Sometimes they don’t want you to say anything.
13. It does not mean they love or enjoy pain.
14. It gives them the right to make fun of themselves/other self harmers.
15. Depending on the situation, it does not give you the right to.
16. Classifying them as “emo” only reduces yourself to an ill-informed bitch who believes you’re God’s gift.
17. It is not always a case of attention-seeking. A lot of the time it isn’t.
18. Self harm is a way of coping with emotions. While most people might cry and scream and rant and rage, self-harmers generally don’t express those sorts of emotions openly, and bottle them inside. The only way they know that works of releasing them is by inflicting pain on themselves. Hence the NOT ATTENTION SEEKING.
19. If they wanted attention they would go slit their wrists in the toilets at school and walk out with their clothes soaking in blood, collapse in the middle of the school grounds, and wail.
20. Other people self harm because they’re so emotionally numb on the inside, they need the pain to remind themselves that they’re alive.
21. Others hurt themselves because they believe they deserve it.
22. There are 39846324956234986487562387456238475123518746459865 other reasons for self harm.
23. There is not one direct cause. There is usually a trigger. A trigger may be a picture of a cut. That will get them thinking of cuts. That will get them into the mindset of cutting. And inevitably, they will want to cut.
24. Other triggers include any form of high negative emotion.
25. There is a difference between cutting for release and cutting for addiction.
26. Addiction-cutting is when you used to cut because you needed it, and now you cut because you can’t stop. You have no way of controlling the emotions without cutting. So you cut when you’re angry, sad, depressed, etc. It works. Temporarily. So when the same emotion comes up, they do it again. Only this time it doesn’t work as well. So they do it harder. And etc.
27. They know they shouldn’t do it, it’s no use telling them that.
28. Some of them like their scars, some of them hate them. Some are proud of them, some are ashamed. Just because one likes them and the other doesn’t, does not mean that the one who likes them is “okay” with what they do.
29. The need and want to self-harm rarely goes away.
30. Ask them questions about what they do. If they don’t want to talk about it – don’t push it. But if they do want to talk about it – keep asking questions. Don’t let them do all the talking. Ask questions. Questions are caring. Questions show them that you love them enough to want to know what they do, so you can understand and be there for them as best as you can.