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do people who cut themselves do it for attention

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/10/2014 Category: People
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,764 times Debate No: 61505
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)




This is an open style debate on whether most people who cut themselves (intentionally) do it for attention (pity from others, to fit in, to make a point to those they are having problems with, rebel (against their parents) I will be arguing that most do not.
This is a 3 round debate, with 48 hours to respond, anyone can accept. And Con may start his/her argument in round 1.


This is my first debate, nice. I would like to state right now, that not ALL people cut themselves for attention. However, I will also state, that people do it for attention as well. I am NOT saying everyone that cuts themselves do it for attention.

Right, to the argument...

I have met people who claimed to cut themselves but really didn't. How did I find out?

Simple logic that's how. Let's use this example for my argument alright?

First, the inconsistency of said person's photos(No names will be released. We will refer to this person as "Person"). The Person's photos on the social media website was not the same. What do I mean? Person's photos were of different people, but edited to make it look like someone else. Person's photo A and B did not match because the scars were in different places each time. Though, subtle it was noticeable. One scar, above the knee has rotated in photo B but was in a different position in photo A. If someone cutting themselves has photos, look for inconsistency. That will tell you that they are trying to get attention.

Secondly, they avoided death. sounds weird but it's true. Apparently, they had "killed themselves". After one month they returned saying they were alright...but didn't they die? Apparently, a "friend" had taken over Person's account and had a photo with a description explaining how they killed themselves. There is only one explanation...obviously Person was posing as said friend. Another way to detect a liar.

Thirdly, Person was off and on happy. Yes it can happen in depression, but this was an odd pattern and I'll explain why. Person would go on about how Person was fat, ugly, and had no boy/girlfriend relationship and no one liked Person. However a week later they had a boy/girlfriend and were talking about how they were good looking and fit. A few days later they denied anything about having a relation, and deleted all posts related to how happy they were. Possible break up? Sure it can happen, but what made it so peculiar was...they said they had a boy/girlfriend a few days later. This repeated for a while then ended. Off and on relationship in a span of 2 weeks? That's not normal and is a good sign that they are lying.

How does this relate to my argument and the debate?

These are the ways you can tell someone is posing, and it is like this on ALMOST every depression account on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. That's right, people play and pose as depressed kids, teenagers, and even adults.

But do people actually cut themselves for attention? Let's pause about smokes and mirrors and discuss people who aren't depressed but do cut themselves for attention.

According to a few websites I've been to many people agree that SOME people do cut themselves for attention. If you want sources ask, and I'll provide.

Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank Pro for accepting this debate, and would like to wish you luck on your first debate.
I would like to begin this round with a retort against your argument; your entire story about Person was completely pointless, and here is why"
1st you had one person who may have been lying on a social media sight, (I can"t get onto any social media sights where I am but I am still interested in your references if they"re not social media- or YouTube) I would like to point out that people who take part In NSSI (Non Suicidal Self Injury) tend not to show their injuries and usually hide them with clothing (hoodies, long sleeve shirts, or turtle necks for instance)
Next I would like to argue with some facts of my own.
1.Myth #3: NSSI is a cry for help " or, someone who hurts himself on purpose is being manipulative. The idea of intentionally causing injury to oneself is foreign to many people and difficult to understand. Why would someone hurt himself on purpose? For many people who engage in NSSI, the behavior is a way of dealing with aversive feelings, thoughts, or situations. Most people who engage in NSSI do so to regulate emotional and physical experiences, such as reducing feelings of sadness or anger. Even though you might think that the pain of self-injury would make someone feel worse, people often do it because it makes them feel better, at least short-term. NSSI is an adverse coping strategy, but people engage in it because it"s easily available and effective at regulating emotional, physical, and social experiences.
Traditionally, many doctors, therapists, and family members have believed that people engage in NSSI primarily to manipulate others. However, recent research has found that such social factors only motivate a minority of cases and usually represent cries for help rather than coldhearted attempts to exploit caretakers. Although there are many reasons why people engage in this kind of self-injury, the most commonly reported reason is simple, if seemingly odd: to feel better. " Mind & Brain " Mind Matters

This Argument is from personal experience
I use to cut myself, for several different reasons, sometimes I just was feeling really low. Sometimes, I felt so angry that I needed to inflict pain on something, so rather than hurting someone, I would do the damage to myself. These are just 2 of the reasons why I myself would cut; I hid it from everyone, using my hoodie, and long sleeve shirts, In 100+ degree weather. The only reason why I"m even admitting to this is because it"s part of my healing process, and because now I wish to help others who go through the experience that I went through. (Not to mention It will help with the debate)
But seriously I know what it"s like.

Very few people ever are willing to cause themselves harm, without, their being in serious mental pain already. There are a few people who commit NSSI for manipulation purposes; I will admit that, but only a few. Many people don"t have the will power to put the blade into their skin. It is usually the mental pain that drives them to try it.
Again I would like to thank Pro for participating in this debate.



My opponent failed to actually prove it was pointless. The whole story was to show liars will cut themselves or lie about cutting themselves to prove my point. My story brought up a decent statement.

Second while cutting releases endorphins it doesn't actually help. Multiple websites (too many to count) and people on Yahoo doesn't help and never did. And if actual people with problems are aware why would they still cut? They aren't even addicted to the cutting...they like the endorphins.

To further strengthen my argument, I would like to restate what you said "Very few people cut themselves for attention" which is a hasty generalization. You claim this without evidence to support it. How can you prove very few people cut for attention?
Debate Round No. 2


Based on the explanations we have offered, young people use NSSI to manage negative or empty feelings and to communicate suffering when they lack the ability to apply more effective solutions. Therefore, it makes sense that rates of self-injury are highest in those with troubling emotions, complex or stormy relationships, and poor coping skills.

The motives behind cutting are often counterintuitive. For an individual who does the behavior, cutting himself is how he makes himself feel better. Often, cutting is the only way he knows how to deal with negative emotions like depression, rage, guilt, emptiness and self-hatred, according to TeensHealth.
Most people who inflict self-harm do so because they need relief from all the pent-up emotions they are experiencing. Like an addiction, these people are not in full control of their actions, but rather seek the intense relief they experience after cutting themselves.
Cutters perceive that the action provides them with positive benefits. It allows them to express their feeling and feel in control. Cutting may distract them from difficult life events, relieve guilt as it can be used as a form of self-punishment, and for some cutters, make them feel more alive.
Once people start cutting, they find that they cannot stop. They may say to themselves, "This is the last time, and then I won't do it again," or "I can always stop when I want to," or "I have control over this, I can stop whenever I want to." This is how teenage cutting becomes addictive. The person believes they have the control and can stop when they want to, but this is seldom the case.
Starting to cut and feeling a strong urge to do it over and over again is compulsive behavior. It is habit forming and is fatal. Just like any other addiction, people who cut start associating the act of cutting with the temporary relief that they get.
To make it clearer, think of people who are binge eaters. They know that compulsive overeating is bad for them - but over time, their minds begin to associate binge eating and the relief it provides them as a way to escape intense emotions or disturbing memories.
Similarly, the minds of those who cut start making a connection between cutting and their childhood abuse to the temporary relief that cutting brings as a means of escape and false deliverance. This is one of the reasons that answers your question, "Why do people cut themselves?"
1.Some people cut to get 'relief' from pent up feelings. Cutting gives them a false sense of respite from their mental stress or emotional problems.
2.Cutting may give them a platform to express intense feelings such as depression, rejection, anger, betrayal or confusion.
3.Curiosity. There are some people who are led to cutting simply by curiosity. Ever heard the saying "Curiosity killed the cat"? Well, as much as curiosity can be a good thing, in this case, it does not lead to any benefit at all. At first, they may try out cutting as a harmless innocent thing, but this is addictive and compulsion to cut may cause life-threatening situations. As teens are in a stage of exploring and are more curious in that stage of life, they are more likely to indulge in dangerous habits such as smoking, drinking and self-injury through cutting.
4.Emotional abuse or physical abuse may cause some people to close off the outside world and become reclusive. In this state, they may resort to cutting.
5.Adding on to the above, many victims of emotional and physical abuse often feel 'unclean' and 'disgusted' with themselves that they cut themselves as a way of punishing themselves. Most such victims feel that it was their fault that some one physically or mentally abused them and so they punish themselves for their 'crime' by cutting or self-injuring themselves.
6.Self-hatred. Many people who cut themselves do not appreciate themselves or their bodies. They find themselves to be 'ugly' or 'fat', and in a desperate situation, they harm themselves by cutting, to get a quick fix for their problem. If they learn to love themselves, they wouldn't dream of deliberately harming themselves.
7.Too much pressure or stress can cause teenagers to resort to cutting. You would be surprised to know that many teens who cut themselves are actually honor students " Family and Parenting

Usually cutters will not reveal the true cause of their gashes. They fear that nobody will understand what they are going through and use self injury excuses like 'the dog/cat scratched me', 'I hurt myself while doing a task', etc.
Read more at Buzzle:

Because cutting and other means of self-harm tend to be taboo subjects, the people around you"and possibly even you"may harbor serious misconceptions about your motivations and state of mind. Don"t let these myths get in the way of getting help or helping someone you care about.
Myth: People who cut and self-injure are trying to get attention.
Fact: The painful truth is that people who self-harm generally do so in secret. They aren"t trying to manipulate others or draw attention to themselves. In fact, shame and fear can make it very difficult to come forward and ask for help.
Myth: People who self-injure are crazy and/or dangerous.
Fact: It is true that many people who self-harm suffer from anxiety, depression, or a previous trauma"just like millions of others in the general population. Self-injury is how they cope. Slapping them with a "crazy" or "dangerous" label isn"t accurate or helpful.
Myth: People who self-injure want to die.
Fact: Self-injurers usually do not want to die. When they self-harm, they are not trying to kill themselves"they are trying to cope with their pain. In fact, self-injury may be a way of helping themselves go on living. However, in the long-term, people who self-injure have a much higher risk of suicide, which is why it"s so important to seek help.
Myth: If the wounds aren"t bad, it"s not that serious.
Fact: The severity of a person"s wounds has very little to do with how much he or she may be suffering. Don"t assume that because the wounds or injuries are minor, there"s nothing to worry about.

All of the information above are just parts of my sources, (I would add more but, there isn"t enough space, I looked at the only sight you actually presented (Yahoo) and did found your countless sights that came up. All of them did say that NSSI was not productive, and I completely agree. But unfortunately for your argument we are not arguing whether or not cutting is productive, we are arguing whether or not MOST of those who cut are doing it for attention, or if they are doing it for other reasons. And there for we get to the dose cutting help, the cutting into your skin doesn"t help, but what goes on in the brain does. Endorphin does make you feel better when you cut, and it is like a drug, a drug that you use when you are feeling severe emotional pain.
You asked "If actual people with problems are aware why would they still cut?" I believe that paragraphs 4-8 of this round would answer that, ( " Family and Parenting) So yes those who are having problems would continue to cut.
To your story. Like I said your story tells of one person who may have lied, and in no way tells us that the majority of people that cut, do it for to manipulate others.
I believe the reliable sources (at least better than A blog that people put their opinions on with no need to state their resources) above, as well as the 2 from round 2 are enough to argue the point that most people who do cut, don"t do it to get pity, or manipulate others. (Please feel free to checkout my sources.) And I would like you to state your sources, in case I missed any that can disprove my own.


Interesting argument...I do see your point and I do understand however...

Let's look into No. 4 in that long list of yours "Emotional abuse or physical abuse may cause some people to close off the outside world and become reclusive. In this state, they may resort to cutting."

The same person who HATES being abused resorts to abusing themselves? Either your source is not reliable or you're confused. If I don't like candy and people forced me to eat candy, I would not eat candy as an escape to being forced to eat candy. Does that make sense? No it doesn't. You said they feel "dirty" or "unclean" however you put it correct? To simply state it's the same case as mentioned above.

Also you stated this "People who cut have no intentions to kill themselves..." is a lie. The risk of suicide is higher in those who commit acts of self harm. in the "Prognosis" part it states this "More than 5% of people who have been seen at a hospital after self-harm will have committed suicide within nine years."

Anyways...Thanks for this debate. I didn't try to come off as a person who thinks self-harm is a joke or a lie, it is a real thing and I do believe there are people with issues and they should be helped.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by funnycn 2 years ago
Post your argument :P
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Nobody is pro, this subject. Why even debate this as con, since nobody disagrees with you?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: pro used no real sources (anecdotes) and even if they were to be believed, we do not know if it is the truth or not, as suggested by con.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro tried to advocate from anecdote and personal incredulity. And a good portion of Pro's argument was based on people who lie about cutting, though Pro did fold in the ones that also cut themselves. Con sourced his arguments, and showed that most people who cut themselves to not do it for attention. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.