How Our Expectations About Self-Harm Recovery Sabotage Us

October 3, 2018 Kayla Chang

You might sabotage self-harm recovery before you even begin if you have this mindset. Learn what it is and how to overcome it at HealthyPlace.

Our expectations about self-harm recovery sabotage us. You see, when you are in the depths of your self-harm, it is hard to imagine life without it. Even if you want to stop, it feels overwhelming and daunting because you figure that in order to be able to stop, the problems that made you turn to self-harm in the first place would have to be resolved. In other words, the circumstances surrounding your recovery would have to be completely different from the circumstances surrounding your self-harm. But this is a lie we tell ourselves that will sabotage our self-harm recovery.

Don't Sabotage Self-Harm Recovery with Unrealistic Expectations

Unrealistic expectations can sabotage self-harm recovery. It can seem logical in our minds to think recovering from self-harm is impossible as long as the circumstances that drove us to self-harm, to begin with, have not changed. To some extent, this is true. There will be issues long-suppressed by your self-harm that need to be recognized and dealt with at some point.

But there is a difference between acknowledging your problems in a way that is honest and productive versus using them as an excuse to give up on self-harm recovery.

If you are feeling at all ambivalent about living without self-harm, your mind will lionize the obstacles standing in the way of recovery. It will convince you that the time is not right yet, that not enough support systems -- of both the real and mental varieties – are in place for you to fall back on when you no longer have self-harm to help you cope. You will feel convinced of failure before you even begin.

All of this waiting, doubting, and hand-wringing will do you no good. Given the chance, your rational mind will be shouted down by the most dangerous question of all: Why even try? And you will sabotage self-harm recovery before it starts.

Stop Self-Harm Recovery Sabotage: Create Action Before Worry

Here is a key point to understand about giving up your self-harm: You do not need to be "ready" to do it. There is no special process you need to go through or coping tools you need to acquire. Having a mental health professional or loved ones who can act as confidantes and provide support for you is a great privilege, but not strictly necessary.

Can't afford a psychiatrist or therapist? It doesn't matter. Alienated yourself from all your family and friends and feel unable to turn to them for help? That can be addressed later.

For now, all you need in order to stop your self-harm behaviors is just the literal, physical act of stopping.

I am not implying that it is easy. What I am saying is that it is an action available to each and every person suffering from self-harm, no matter his or her circumstances. Accepting that fact – truly accepting it, without question – is the only empowerment you need in order to choose recovery for yourself. By choosing the action of stopping self-harm, you can end self-harm recovery sabotage.

In other words, there is, really, no excuse.

APA Reference
Chang, K. (2018, October 3). How Our Expectations About Self-Harm Recovery Sabotage Us, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Author: Kayla Chang

You can find Kayla on Google+.

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