Alternatives to Self-Injury and ED


I made a chart to try to help myself think of things I can instead of eating disorder or self-injury behaviors. I’m not done with this chart. I still need to add antecedents (the specific event that causes behavior, Ex. my friend criticizes my clothes) and setting events (any physical, social, environmental, or physiological event that increases the likelihood an antecedent will trigger behavior, Ex. having a cold, being in a crowded room, feeling overheated).

However, I finished the function of behaviors (what the behavior does for me) and replacement behaviors (things I can do instead of ED or SI) sections of my chart. It is still important to identify the setting events and antecedents because that can help me use coping skills before I start feeling upset.


What coping skills or replacement behaviors help you? Do you have any thoughts on what I wrote? Thanks!


Setting Event Antecedent Function Replacement Behavior
    Concern/ caring from others ???
    Pushing people away Just stop talking to them, depression makes you do that anyway. Plus, people seem to drift away even when you don’t want them to. Therefore, you don’t need behaviors to separate the wheat from the chaff. What you really mean is testing loyalty. You want to see who stays, but those who aren’t true friends will eventually leave anyway, why torture yourself to test the people who love you?
    Keeping others close Make an effort to do specific things with people you care about at regular intervals, show them you care, basically, be a friend to have friends
    Distraction This is similar to the boredom ideas, but use things that specifically take your mind away like reading or a movie or an opposite emotion (ex. Comedy) TV show.
    Self-punishment/ Guilt ???
    Expressing anger ???
    Self-esteem Measurable success is part of self-esteem. However, there are other reasons. One way ED, SI, and BDSM give me self-esteem is that I can endure things that are considered torture by civilized societies (starvation, whipping, cutting, burning, and stress positions). This also ties into strength and power. Part of the issue is I KNOW I am good at these things. Ever since I was little my parents remarked on my pain tolerance. My dad and I used to play games to see who (my brother or I) could withstand pain or cold the longest. One time I passed out. Another time, I started bleeding. I KNOW I am good at weight loss. I don’t know if I’m good at anything else.
    Measurable success Lots of things are measurable! How fast or far you can run, how much weight you can lift, etc. Don’t use things that are dependent on others’ evaluation like grades in school or performance evaluations at work. Those aren’t objective.
    Emotional stability Work on emotional regulation techniques in DBT workbook? However, behaviors are more effective because I don’t have to feel things as strongly in the first place! Emotional regulation requires experiencing the full force of my emotion and dealing with them better. With ED especially, I don’t have to feel in the first place. Restricting blunts all my emotions. How can healthy emotional regulation be preferable?
    Strength/ Power/ Control (superiority to others) Most of the time, I feel weak and pathetic. When I use behaviors or endure pain to give someone else pleasure, I show strength and willpower and self-control. Exercising through pain or to exhaustion might have the same effect.
    Alleviates Boredom Incorporate fun things into your daily life, so boredom isn’t a problem. Relearn knitting, horseback riding, reading, etc.
    Alleviates Loneliness Do things on a regular basis with friends. Try, go to classes like art classes at Michaels, go to support groups. However, this requires more effort then behaviors. I KNOW behaviors. Also, how do I know anything other than the first idea will actually work? I don’t, but I guess I should try. I lose nothing by trying. I can’t do things on a regular basis with friends because they don’t actually want to do anything with me. I try to set things up and it never works out.



5 thoughts on “Alternatives to Self-Injury and ED

  1. Pingback: Worried about Weight and Friends | Masochist Musings

  2. Pingback: Running instead of Cutting | Masochist Musings

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