Self-harm, Cutting and Demons

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Self-harm, Cutting and Demons

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I went through the abject terror and trauma of a person close to me cutting themselves with knives and scissors and sharp implements until they bled and bled and caused themselves much harm.  Their eventual intent was suicide.  It began quietly and quickly built to an out-of-control situation that affected several lives.

Twelve months later the scars are there but the damage could have been much worse.  Thankfully, God mercifully intervened and fixed everything as suddenly as all the problems began.

Recently, as I did my usual Bible reading, I was surprised when reading an account in Mark 5:1-20 about a demon-possessed man who was healed by Jesus Christ.  I had read this passage quite a number of times previously, but this time one verse jumped out at me as if reading it for the first time.

Mark 5:5 states, “And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.” Could this be the very first documented account of cutting/self-harm?  It may be.  Does it mean that everyone who cuts themselves is demon-possessed?  I’m really not sure.

All I can write about is the case I encountered.  The person clearly was not themselves.  They initially were very frightened and eventually confided that they had something inside of them trying to control them.  As days and weeks progressed, the behaviors became more overt and obvious to the point where one could not simply ignore it.  The person was hysterical at times while at others like an empty vessel unable to function who no longer had any belief in praying to God.  They stopped praying just three days before this all began (there were additional problems that began many months prior).

Demons are very real

Initially I was shocked with the situation and in a state of paralysis.  I lost weeks of my life living in a daze wondering what to do to help this person.  I sought help from psychologists, psychiatrists, hospitals, many professionals who only deal with this sort of thing.  Some of them admitted to knowing about demons but they always relied on medications.  For some reason they would say that medications interfere with the process somehow.  Eventually I relented and allowed medications.  It did help somewhat.

Then things escalated out of control and it got to the point where police and authorities became involved.

Throughout the whole experience I did pray and ask God for help but it wasn’t until I really dug down deep and implored God to do something because no one else could do anything that helped that I saw a change.  I had to verbalize to God that I knew wholeheartedly that He was the only One who had the power to change things and heal this person.  My faith was always unwavering but I learnt a very hard lesson that I had a history of looking to people and others for physical help when what was needed was going to God first and foremost for a supernatural solution to a supernatural problem.

Blessings of spiritual peace and healing

The biggest blessing God gave to me was the peace I experienced throughout this trial of terror.  I cannot put the deep level of peace He gave me into words or describe it aside from saying that I knew inside of me that God’s Spirit within me was greater than all those demonic influences no matter how many there were, just like in the example given in Mark 5:9 where mention is made of a legion of demons.  God is so incredibly powerful He could crush legions of legions.  This is nothing for God.  This is just inconsequential.  His power is absolute!

I am ashamed of myself now.  It was the hardest trial experienced to date and I cannot imagine experiencing much worse. If I can share anything at all, it is that God must literally come first in everything. Prayer is so powerful, more than I had ever realized before.  Pray with belief.  Ask God to help your unbelief like the man in Mark 9:23-24.  Interestingly enough, this account deals with another unclean spirit.

Just because we do not see demons doesn’t mean they are not there.  We know the earth is saturated with them--the fallen angels that were banished here along with Satan (Jude 6; Revelation 12:4).

This trial came out of nowhere at a time in my life where I was joyously content (something Satan always tries to destroy). 

Everyone must pray every day for protection from spiritual enemies as seen in the Model Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.  Don’t leave even a crack in your armor but put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) in order to have the necessary defense against evil.

For more information about Satan, who is extremely skilled in flying under the radar, read our free Bible study aid Is There Really a Devil?

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  • dianestone47

    Thank you for the story this helped me a lot

  • preciosagabi

    hello, my son just confess to me that he has been harming himself, not in the way you will expect, he is not cutting himself but in other ways he is harming his body. he also confess to me a little while ago that he has been watching pornography since an early age, he also has been watching videos of people harming them self online. this has really impacted me since Im always praying for him. My son its very involved in the church and knows so much about walking with God yet I also know that things like this can lead to very serious consequences. I know that the enemy its behind this and Im trying to help him pray for deliverance. if there is anyway I can get maybe more information on this subject and how a parent can handle it, please let me know. I will really appreciated.

  • Skip Miller

    Hello Tania, Here is a hotline number that you can try:
    But you said that your son is very involved in church. It would seem to me that your pastor would be the one you would go to first. I am not sure what church you are referring to so I can't exactly recommend that. But God is the best answer anyway. Pray for His assistance!!
    Satan istheenemy but God is able (and willing) to defeat him.

  • Skip Miller

    Hello Anonymous,
    As I read the article I was struck by a thought: There are actually 2 stories here. One is the story of the person cutting themselves and the other is the story of the person wanting to help. Both are valid and need God's intervention but in decidedly different ways. There are those who can help those who cut themselves and each one needing help is advised to find the one for her or him that works best. On the other hand, there is also help for the one wanting to help! And prayer by both is absolutely recommended. And
    I am amazed at how often I think that I must solve all my problems alone. It just isn't so. Break into 1 Tim 5: 10. Notice that "some" have relieved affliction -- some, not all. We all have gifts but not all do not have the exact same ones. Some people react in horror to what others see as an opportunity to serve! But if a person does not admit their challenge, how will anyone know about it? Be discrete, use your head, but share that 'situation' with someone.

  • AnonymousPotato

    Hey, as a 3-year self harmer myself (and a regular church attendee), I find this article to be slightly biased. If you do research online regarding self injury, there is scientific proof that when a self-harmers cuts themselves that there is a hormonal response. In simple terms, it is the equivalent of a drug. Self harmers feel lost and hopeless; cutting helps release and deal with our pain. I'm not saying that this behavior is justified by this, but perhaps this explanation will help you understand. I truly don't think I'm demon-possessed and when fellow church members look at me (your average teen girl, just with scars) and tell me that I must be demon-possessed, it hurts. A lot. I'm not saying this possession isn't possible, but personally I just need love and support from my church family to get through this.
    If you're like me and you came across this article while looking for help, there are far more resources available for what you are going through. Please find help and talk to someone about this. You are stronger than your addiction and, with God's help you can become a better person for it :)

  • Sabrina Peabody

    From what I've read, the response may be linked with shame and feeling like you have no control to change a situation that is causing you pain. I think medication and counseling with prayer and Bible study would be excellent tools in this situation to begin the process of defining the issue and then start the healing process.

  • Deanne
    Thank you Scott. Read with interest. Jacob, our children are so precious. It is good to hear that your son is doing so well now. My child has opted to live a worldly life at the age of 12 years and now lives with her father. However God healed her in such a spectacular way I will never forget and am very thankful that He did this despite my child rejecting God or putting God "on hold" as it were. Still it is tough at times to cope. The adversary is just ready to pounce on our children and any one of us so we must be on guard at all times. LonelyforGod12345, I can pray for you. My human thinking hopes you can move but will pray for God's will to be done specifically which could mean any number of things such as patience, the other party moving on, or you affording to move. Please pray for your protection and ask God to lead you in the direction He wants you to go/take. Your situation sounds difficult at best and I know God will intervene if you believe He can and will do so. Michael51, I agree that mental illness has a genetic component as I do work in this area of mental health at times. However, my article relates to something else which I cannot completely share
  • Michael51
    We must be very careful about attributing mental illness to Satan or a demon possession. I have lived with Bipolar for many years of my life. I was told that if my faith was stronger in God I would not be ill. THIS IS NOT TRUE! Medication and sometimes hospitalization are necessary for people struggling with mental illness. God keeps me safe when I am sick, but there is no cure for my illness. I will not blame it on God or Satan. Mental illness is genetic. We all must deal with our lives as they are created. Linnea Gardner Haysville, Kansas
  • lonelyforgod12345
    Thanks for the article. I too am in need of peace. I don't know if my life has been given over to the demons or not, but I have a harassing neighbour who stomps feet over my head when I'm home. I have almost no peace when she's home. I've been here for almost a year and have had no peace for most of that time. I still believe in and try to keep God's way, but not perfectly. I try to keep the 7th day Sabbath at home, and the Holy Days, and the First and Last Days of the Feast we just had. I would liked to have gone away for the Feast but financially am unable to. So I try to study from the old WCG correspondence course lessons for each holy day. If anyone reads this, I would appreciate being added to your prayers regarding the harassment I suffer here. I want to move, but I don't have the money to do it right now. I am quiet almost all the time. If I sing, or talk on the telephone, or have a visitor here and we have a conversation, she starts stomping feet over my head. The landlord's been contacted many times, but he either can't do anything or he's ignoring my requests. Was hoping I could write more here. Thx for reading.
  • Jacob Hitsman
    Hello Deanne, My own son was doing this harmful act of cutting himself on his arms and now has the scars to prove it also. This is sad and suicide was on his mind too. Not to sure what prompted this behavior but I reacted afterwards with compassion and understanding and knowing this behavior was over told him to get on with life. He has seem a psychologist many times and seems to feel better about himself and this behavior went away. He does love God now and keeps His Commandments that he was taught from being a young boy. I did not over-react to this behavior but it was somewhat alarming to me anyway. Now it is one of those things that are been there done that and he has learned by this experience. I tell him often that I love him very much and he tells me the same and with this we continue on in the life. He does love the life now and wants to pursue medicine as his chosen field of study. If I said anything I say it is nice you still are in the life and hope you enjoy being here too. God does work miracles and my son has put God to the test and found out prayer does work and so he does pray often now and believes God. Thank you Holy God for rescuing my son from destruction
  • Scott Hoefker
    Perhaps you will find this helpful as well. -Scott Hoefker
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