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By cutting themselves, they are able to refocus their attention on the pain of the cut and for a short while, experience relief from the rape trauma.
This wasn't perhaps the most ideal coping solution in the world, but it was what she had come up with, and it was functioning to keep her alive.
Such panic interferes with thinking, and makes it harder for people to understand the motives behind self-injury.
Further complicating the matter is the way that self-injury looks like it must be a suicide attempt even though it usually isn't.
What people may not realize is that it is also painful to not feel anything.
Dissociated people who feel largely emotionally numb are often in great pain of a sort.
Traumatized people sometimes cope with their trauma by dissociating.