It's disturbed me for quite some time that a stupid practice like cutting has become a trend. I mean, I don't see any constructive point in it, and it seems like a lot of people just do it to be cool. Most of the preppies at school do it and whine about how it's because of all the drama in their lives or to get their friends to stop. WTF is wrong with them. Gaaaaah. Methinks it's time to break out thje screwdriver.
Some people cut as a release...they can't express their pain/disappoinment/anger in words so they cut themselves. Some people cut because it is a way to feel again when they feel dead inside. Some people cut as a cry for attention. And some people cut as a prelude to suicide.
I would place my bet on prelude to suicide.
They cut themselves alone in the night, that's not exactly an attention-whorish method. Not to mention with all the emo-bashing, nobody wants to be classified as a 'cutter' anymore.
My ex-wife was a self-injurer (the politically correct, non-offensive term for cutters, burners, hitters, or any other form of self-injuring behavior), more accurantly, she cut herself, and quite a great deal. So, I've got a bit of experience with this.
There are any number of reasons that someone will feel the need to self-injure. In the case of my ex, she injured herself when she was dissociating (Not 100% sure on what exactly this means, but it's like she isn't exactly herself), because the pain would bring her back to her senses, so to speak. I also think that it had a great deal to do with her wanting to bring attention to her numerous issues; After she had me giving her that attention, with my help, she's managed to stop cutting. She's been two years clean of it now.
She also had a great deal of support through a forum called Bodies Under Seige, run by a woman named Deb - I think she had something to do with a book of the same name. It's an awesome forum, very supportive, even if I can't handle all the angst - you have to remember, the incredibly vast majority of people there are self-injurers, with the few odd people like me who are related to them in some way and are there for support.
ANyway - reasons. As I mentioned about, dissociation, and in some cases, attention. There are those who do it because they want to commit suicide but can't quite bring themselves to go all the way, but use self-injury to bring attention to that. These, however, are in the vast minority, and most people who self injure will tell you it's about wanting to live, not about wanting to die. Granted, many self-injurers are suicidal, or nearly so, but that's not necessarily connected to their SI (self-injury), or their SI is their way of compromising.
There are people who do it to distract themselves from memories, or to try and cleanse themselves. I remember one story of a woman who regularly used a hair curler to try and cleanse herself of the memory/feeling of having been molested as a child. I'm sure a bit of imagination can lead to what all that entails.
I'm sure the list goes on, but while I am experienced in this, I can't even begin to claim that I know everything - so I'll shut up, and if anyone has questions, feel free to ask. I will do my best to answer.
::Edit:: Stormrage - in that situation, my bet would be on wanting the attention.