The Tender Cut: Inside the Hidden World of Self-Injury

By Patricia A. Adler; Peter Adler | Go to book overview

8
Self-Injury Communities

Once self-injurers ventured into the postmodern world of cyberspace, they found an arena that mirrored their solid world in many ways but had more ephemeral features. In this chapter we examine the characteristics of self-injury cyber communities and the people who inhabited them. Participation in social communities such as these can be very beneficial, offering individuals who join them multiple resources. They give members increased value, or social capital, by enhancing their social networks, offering social norms that govern how members interact, and providing sanctions that ensure members adhere to these norms. It took a while for the self-injurers in our study to learn the characteristics, norms, and values of the different communities they found. As they did so, they created a cyber persona, or possibly multiple personae, for themselves. They then had to navigate their existence in the numerous realities of these new cyber realms.


Cyber Group Roles

The population that frequented different cyber self-injury sites varied, but there were certain common types of participants and posting styles that emerged across these sites. Four of them appeared most repeatedly.


Drama Kings and Queens

Many people took the role of drama kings and queens. They vented or cried for help in an emotional manner, sometimes spewing out stream-of-consciousness ramblings. They worried and reacted harshly to small things. They repeatedly presented their life occurrences and agonized over them. Wendy, a 24-year-old graduate student who cut and burned herself when she did not achieve the perfection she sought, described the irritation she felt toward people who seemed desperate for attention, noting that they just “said the same things over and over and over but never really did anything proactive

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The Tender Cut: Inside the Hidden World of Self-Injury
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Literature and Population 22
  • 3 - Studying Self-Injury 38
  • 4 - Becoming a Self-Injurer 53
  • 5 - The Phenomenology of the Cut 66
  • 6 - Loners in the Social World 94
  • 7 - Colleagues in the Cyber World 108
  • 8 - Self-Injury Communities 128
  • 9 - Self-Injury Relationships 144
  • 10 - The Social Transformation of Self-Injury 167
  • 11 - Careers in Self-Injury 181
  • 12 - Understanding Self-Injury 199
  • Notes 219
  • References 231
  • Index 250
  • About the Authors 252
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