Coping and Cutting

We found this quote on the net but we don't like this idea... Coping is a temporary solution until you can adapt to a situation.

We don't like the idea that you have to "adapt" or "adjust" to a crappy environment. By crappy we mean it "doesn't meet your emotional and mental health needs".

We might say that you have to keep "coping" until you can either make some changes to your enviroment (probably with the help of someone) or leave the environment, for example when you able to move out. So cutting is your way of coping. We understand that. But we would feel better if you could get some things changed so your life wouldn't be so painful and thus you would not feel such a need to cut or self- harm.

One of our favorite psychologists, Maslow said,

Adjusted to what? To a bad culture? To a dominating parent? What shall we think of a well-adjusted slave?

Maslow also said

A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.


Here is something copied from the emotionally abusive parents page


What parents should do if their teen is self-harming according to www.focusas.com/

Parents must listen to their child (teen) and acknowledge their child's (teen's) feelings. In other words, parents should validate feelings...

What is not said is the reverse of this. In other words, one of the main reasons teens self-harm is because their parents do not listen to, acknowledge and validate their feelings.


Here is another quote from the same site:

One factor common to most people who self-injure, whether they were abused or not, is invalidation.  They were taught at any early age that their interpretations of and feelings about the things around them were bad and wrong.  They learned that certain feelings weren't allowed.  In abusive homes, they may have been severely punished for expressing certain thoughts and feelings.  At the same time, they had no good role models for coping.  You can't learn to cope effectively with distress unless you grow up around people who are coping effectively with distress. 

The site then says

Although a history of abuse is common about self-injurers, not everyone who self-injures was abused.  Sometimes invalidation and lack of role models for coping are enough....

But constant or frequent invalidation *is* abuse. It is psychological and emotional abuse, so it is more accurate to say that everyone who self-injures has been abused in one way or another. If someone receives the emotional support they need and are free to express all their feelings, they will never achieve a high enough level of emotional pain to cause them to self-injure. It is only without emotional support in the form of validation, acceptance and understanding that such high levels of pain build up over the years.

Things are even worse than this article sounds because it is primarily your parents who are the main cause of your pain. So they both cause you pain at home and don't help you handle pain from either inside or outside the home.

More quotes by Maslow

Human beings seem to be far more autonomous and self-governed than modern psychological theory allows for.

Maslow said

What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.

What we think that means is that you must become aware of your feelings and your needs, especially your emotional needs. And you also must become aware that the people around you are not meeting your needs and not giving you the freedom to meet them on your own.


I am deliberately rejecting our present easy distinction between sickness and health, at least as far as surface symptoms are concerned. Does sickness mean having symptoms? I maintain now that sickness might consist of not having symptoms when you should. Does health mean being symptom-free? I deny it. Which of the Nazis at Auschwitz or Dachau were healthy? Those with a stricken conscience or those with a nice, clear, happy conscience? Was it possible for a profoundly human person not to feel conflict, suffering, depression, rage, etc.?

In a word if you tell me you have a personality problem, I am not certain until I know you better whether to say "Good" or "I'm sorry". It depends on the reasons. And these, it seems, may be bad reasons, or they may be good reasons.


Clearly what will be called personality problems depends on who is doing the calling. The slave owner? The dictator? The patriarchal father? The husband who wants his wife to remain a child? It seems quite clear that personality problems may sometimes be loud protests against the crushing of one's psychological bones, of one's true inner nature.

Maslow also said when we call someone a bad boy or a delinquent etc, maybe it is because he "is simply resisting exploitation, domination, neglect, contempt, and trampling upon."  
Erich Fromm said:

The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane.

It follows...that mental health cannot be defined in terms of the "adjustment" of the individual to his society, but, on the contrary, that it must be defined in terms of the adjustment of society to the needs of man, of its role in furthering or hindering the development of mental health.