Self-Harm Replaced With Body Modifications- Tattoos And Piercings, My Experience




My left forearm surface piercing.


Here it strikes again. I can feel it coming. I’m restless, anxious. Cannot stop thinking, walking around the flat.

I have to get out of here.

I have to go and do…something.

What will it be?

Have no idea exactly. It almost always starts with my car, engine turns on, I drive and end somewhere.

One piece of thought is scattered through my mind. Piercings, tattoos.

Luckily, it’s Saturday, so my friends do not work, but if they did, I will certainly got a new tattoo or a new piercing.

I have read somewhere, that these kind of body modifications replaces the self-harm urges, and first time I thought about it, I thought it was stupidity.

But, I have changed my mind.

It is mine compensation for the self-harm.

I admitted that to myself,but no one really understands. The people that surround me.

They think that I’m just utterly obsessed with it. Getting tattoos. Piercings.


It’s something else.

It is this:


Tattoos, body piercing and self-harm – is there a link?
Some people say cutting their skin brings them relief from emotional pain – an act usually referred to as self-harm.
Others enjoy having their body pierced with metal and their skin inscribed with permanent ink. Is there a link between these acts? According to the German psychologists Aglaja Stirn and Andreas Hinz, in some cases there might well be.
The researchers collaborated with the body modification magazine Taetowiermagazin, recruiting 432 of their readers to complete a comprehensive questionnaire about their tattooing and piercing practices and motives.
One hundred and nineteen of the participants admitted to cutting themselves in childhood. That’s 27 per cent of the sample – a much higher proportion than is found among the general population of Germany: 0.75 per cent.
Compared with the readers who said they had never self-harmed, those who had were more likely to report “bad things” having happened in their lives, and to say they had previously had a bad relationship with their own body.
Moreover, the self-harmers reported that they often had their skin tattooed or body pierced to help overcome a negative experience, or simply to experience physical pain. Another clue that self-harm and piercing/tattooing might, in some cases, be linked, derives from the fact that many of the self-harmers said they had ceased cutting themselves after obtaining their first piercing or tattoo.
Stirn and Hinz concluded that most people who partake in body modification clearly do not do it because they have any psychological problems. “However,” they continued, “because body modifications have become so common and accessible, they are also used with probably increasing frequency as a convenient means to either realise psychopathological inclinations, such as self-injury, or to overcome psychological traumas.”
Stirn, A., Hinz, A. (2008). Tattoos, body piercings, and self-injury: Is there a connection? Investigations on a core  group of participants practicing body modification. Psychotherapy Research, 18(3), 326-333.


Not everyone who has tattoo’s or piercings is in this group. But, some of us are.


6 thoughts on “Self-Harm Replaced With Body Modifications- Tattoos And Piercings, My Experience

  1. dyane July 5, 2014 / 3:29 PM

    This makes a lot of sense to me….good for you for checking out the connection! You’ve very insightful to dig deeper into why you want the tats/piercings! Sending you my best and thanks for stopping by my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tina The Mess July 5, 2014 / 3:36 PM

    Thanks Dyane!

    Thanks for your comment. I thought about it a lot, because two years ago, there was no way I would like a tattoo or piercing on my body. Just didn’t find them attractive…

    But, suddenly, I became obsessed. And while I’m doing it, self-harming almost completely stopped.

    Now I’m a little walking gallery, not too much, and with a lot of titanium add-ons. 🙂

    I experiment with piercings,and every day I have a new idea where to put the new one.

    But at least it stopped the harmful way of behaviour pattern. This is a safer version.



  3. suicidaltransgirl July 5, 2014 / 3:42 PM

    I had never given it any thought before, but there is quite a bit of truth there, at least for me. I stopped cutting after getting my first tattoo. Eventually I had four tattoos and two piercings. It has been ten years or more since my last piercing. Recently I have been thinking of a new tattoo and I have started cutting again. I had never mad that conniption before, thank you for posting this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tina The Mess July 5, 2014 / 5:46 PM

    Hey there…so sorry to hear that you struggle the same problem…

    But, the connection is there. Obviously.

    I wish you strength!



  5. Addicted Scotian July 6, 2014 / 1:54 AM

    I never thought about it that way but yes! Yes I can see that being helpful absolutely. 🙂 hugs Tina


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