Our expert says:
Many things which might seem beyond our voluntary control, are actually and potentially WITHIN our control.
Read over what you have said here. If you found that harming / mutilating yourself was just "part of your daily routine", like brushing your teeth - didn't that strike you as unfortunate ?
And of course, the fact that you were able to stop it when you wanted to, for the sake of that friendship, shows that you DID and do have voluntary control over it. Maybe sometimes you don't feel motivated to exercise and use the voluntary control you actually do have.
As you noticed, even if self-mutilation seems no big deal for you, it is indeed a Very big deal for other people, especially for those who care about you.
And there are much better ways of coping with ANYTHING, which a counsellor / psychotherapist could help you to learn and use instead.
So, one really effective thing to do would be to arange to see such a therapist. And especially CBT, Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy, is excellent for helping one to unlearn such bad habits.
Then, if it tends to happen when you're distracted and concentrating on something else, maybe try wearing gloves ( I'm not kidding!) at those times, or in some similar way, to make it impossible to do such things absent-mindedly.
When it comes to cutting or picking at yourself when in a crisis or feeling very anxious, some of my patients have found it surprisingly helpful to adopt an alternative method.
For instance, they may "slash" at their wrist or arm using a red felt-tip pen or marker ( one of the washable rather than Permanant ones !) rather than a blade. They may wear a thick ruber band round their arm, and at such times, Snap the band sharply against the arm for a short sharp mild pain, rather than harming themselve in any other way.
Be creative !
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