Self-harm affects roughly 1% of the population. A person self-harms for many reasons, but the underlying cause is usually to deal with painful emotions, such as anger, loneliness, unhappiness, shame, or guilt. These emotions may be related to abuse issues, such as flashbacks or selfhatred, resulting in a wish for the individual to punish themselves.
Many individuals that self-injure find it difficult to talk openly about their feelings, so harming themselves is a way of relieving their emotions and temporarily obtaining a sense of calm. For many people that self-mutilate, it is much easier for them to deal with physical pain than with emotional pain. Other people injure themselves because they feel numb and pain is one way in which they can prove they are able to feel something, or that they are actually alive.