Self-harm (or self-injury) is a non-suicidal action of purposely damaging your body. Cutting and burning yourself, the most common forms of self-harm, are not meant to be a suicide attempt, rather they are a form of coping mechanism for dealing with pain, anger, sadness, stress and emotional pain. People who self-harm may feel a sense of initial calm which is unfortunately usually short-lived and does little to halt the return of emotional pain. Self-harming can also cause feelings of guilt or shame for the action, and can leave you trying to find excuses for cutting yourself that will explain your actions.
Self-harm is a sign of a larger problem, like anxiety issues, depression, grief or loss, undealt with trauma, eating disorders, self-worth issues and poor impulse control. Self-harm typically leaves behind physical signs, like injuries, burns, and cuts that aren’t properly explained. Over 80% of people who engage in self-harm end up cutting for self-injury. People who self-harm may also choose to wear long clothing year-round in an attempt to avoid the need to make excuses for self-harming. Self-injury like cutting often manifests around the wrists, forearms, and ankles, but it’s also common in less visible areas like the waistline, backs of legs, thighs and upper arms.
The scars caused by self-injury can also pose health problems by raising the risk of infection, or cause awkward exchanges during social interactions with others. You might get asked how you got the scars; in which case you’ll want to have some excuses for cutting ready to go – that is unless you’re ready to tell the world about your problems.
Note: This article does not intend to promote or encourage self-harm of any kind. This post is meant to help those struggling with a self-harm problem maintain as much of a normal social life as possible. If you self-harm, please let someone you trust know and seek help.
Outdoor-related excuses for cutting
One of the first go-to categories for excuses for cutting scars is to blame them on the outdoors or a painful interaction with some plant life. Plants are a handy excuse for self-harm because many thorned plants can actually leave marks that resemble cutting scars. If you’ve been known to garden, or even just go on hikes outdoors, these excuses for cutting might be just what you’re looking for.
1. You were trimming back a thorny bush
This could be any type of bush, like a rose bush, a raspberry or blackberry bush, a thicket of brambles, or any other plant with thorns. If you forgot your long-sleeved gloves, or just had to get deep into the root of the plant, then that’s where those scars on your arms came from.
2. You were repotting your cactus
Cacti are notorious for scratching and cutting up your arms – especially when you try to repot them by yourself. Holding the plant with one hand, while you fill dirt and wrangle the pot with the other means you’ll likely have some needle-like scrape marks all over your forearms before you’re through.
3. You got scraped up rock climbing
It doesn’t matter if you’re an avid rock climber, or maybe you’ve just tried it out for the first time. There’s no denying that the sport can leave its marks on your limbs and body. All it takes is one slip and the next thing you know, you’re sliding and scraping down a sharp, abrasive rock face, picking up cut marks all over your body in the process. Depending on what your cutting scars look like, a rock-climbing incident could be a good excuse for cutting yourself. Rock climbing isn’t just one of many excuses for having a black eye, it works well here too.
4. You had an allergic reaction and were itching too vigorously
You went on a hike and the path got a bit overgrown at times. You had to push aside a lot of vegetation and clamber through a few thickets on your way. When you got home you realized you were having an allergic reaction to some plant you came into contact with. Crazy how the irritation looks a lot like scarring or cut marks. This excuse can work well for cuts on your arms, ankles and legs, or any other part of your body for that matter.
Animals make great excuses for cutting yourself
A hyper dog or an angry feline can really leave some marks on your body if you aren’t careful. Even if you were just playing (with your cat or dog), chances are you could leave with a few cuts and scrapes, especially on your arms. Are you a pet owner? Perfect! You’ll have a tailor-made excuse for self-harm marks that you can use on just about anyone.
5. Your cat scratched you
We love cats but we also agree they can be vicious little buggers when they play or if you piss them off by doing things like trying to trim their nails or give them a bath. With those sharp claws and the tendency to use them, cat scratch marks, especially on your arms, are a no-brainer excuse for cutting marks that is totally believable.
6. You had to fight off a crazy raccoon
Go outside at night anywhere in North America and it might seem like you’re in a crappy Planet of the Apes spinoff. Get it? Planet of the Racoons… No? Ok, I’ll show myself out… Point is, raccoons have sharp claws and a nasty demeanor when cornered, so getting scratched up by one isn’t outside the realm of possibility.
7. You had to intervene in a dog fight
You took your canine companion to the dog park where they got into a fight with another dog. You stepped in the middle to separate the ferocious beasts and got a bite to the arm, or ankle, or leg for your troubles. Dog bites or claw scratches can resemble cutting marks so this is a handy excuse for self-harm that you can use if needed.
Kitchen-related incidents make for good excuses for self-harm marks
Cooking in the kitchen means using sharp knives and hot things like stove burners or the oven. If you’ve ever looked at a chef’s arms, you might have noticed them covered in a myriad of scars from errant blades, scalding oils, or the hot edges of the oven door. Scars on your arms are common if you work in the kitchen a lot, which makes cooking a believable excuse for scars on your arms.
8. You burned yourself reaching into the oven
Kitchens are hectic places, and timing your cooking so that everything is ready together is a real skill. It also means that chefs are often scrambling in the kitchen, which is a major cause of accidental burns like those that happen when carelessly reaching into a hot oven. Kitchen accidents are among the best excuses for burn marks we can think of.
9. You’re a really bad cook
It’s not so much that your food tastes bad, it’s just that you create a lot of dishes and have a lot of accidents as you cook. Last week you cut your finger on a mandolin, and today you sliced your wrist while peeling a potato. These things happen, so sharp knife or utensil accidents can be a great cover-up excuse for cutting marks on your wrists.
10. You got scalded by boiling water
We all know pasta should be cooked “al dente”, and soggy, overcooked spaghetti isn’t appealing at all. That’s why you had to rush like a maniac to strain the noodles, which is when you lost control of the pot and got burned by the boiling water inside. Scalding by boiling water is as good an excuse for burning self-harm as it gets.
11. Some hot oil splashed onto your arm
Just as common as boiling water in the kitchen is hot oil or grease. Things get even more dangerous because there is a tendency to splash and sizzle (especially if you get some water into the mix by accident). Seriously, most of the burn scars on a chef’s arms come from splashing oil, so why not use it as part of your excuses for burning yourself?
Work-related excuses for cutting scars
If you work with your hands, then it would be a miracle if you didn’t pick up some scars along the way. This is especially true for trades, but it can just as easily happen to you while doing household or backyard chores. That’s what makes these excuses for cutting plausible and believable.
12. You were putting up some barbed wire fencing
You don’t need to work (or reside at) at a prison to come into contact with barbed wire. That stuff gets used all over the place on farms, ranches or construction sites, and it’s crazy sharp. Even just a light touch is enough to leave cuts and scrapes on your skin, which is why barbed wire could be a believable excuse for scars.
13. You got papercuts during tax season
Maybe you’re an accountant, or just a messy student, and paper cuts are just par for the course. We all know those things are annoying and painful, but did you know they can be used as a good excuse for cutting scars on your arms as well?
14. You were carrying chopped wood in your arms
Maybe your home is heated with a wood stove, or maybe you’re into saunas and campfires. Regardless of the reason, you spent the day chopping firewood, then carrying it to be stacked elsewhere. Sometime during the process, the rough wood must have cut up your forearms a bunch.
15. You were doing some renovations and got into some splintered plywood
Big sheets of plywood or long 2x4s can be a real hassle to move around. They are also usually not finished very well, and that means cuts, scrapes and splinters if you’re not wearing gloves or the right clothing. It doesn’t even need to be a piece of wood that got you, there are lots of things that can put cuts and scrapes on your skin during a home renovation.
16. You work in construction and got sliced on a nail that was sticking out
One of the hazards of the job site is exposed nails. That’s why work boots are a must and long, tough clothing is recommended. If you work in construction, or spend any time at all around a site, then getting cut by an exposed nail is a reasonable excuse for self-harm scars you can use to deflect from the issue.
17. You got into it with your weed whacker
Yard work can be a real chore, especially if your weed whacker is constantly getting tangled up and jamming. You turned the damn thing off the first few times, but then you got lazy and just reached in to untangle the line while it was running. Luckily, you escaped with nothing more than a few cuts on your arms, which you can now use as an excuse for cutting to give your friends or family.
Excuses for cutting to give your parents
Want to keep your excuses fresh and interesting (for yourself mostly)? Try out these random excuses for self-injury marks the next time you get pestered about what’s up with your skin. Even if they don’t work, at least you won’t be repeating the same stuff over and over like a robot.
18. I was practicing with my butterfly knife
Butterfly knives are super cool and impressive if you know how to use them properly (like num-chucks too). Of course, to become proficient, you’ll need to practice, which means you’ll likely end up with a few cuts before you master the blade. Butterfly knife accidents are good excuses for cutting if you’re into knives and tools.
19. Your s/o scratched you while you were having sex
Sex is a heated affair and sometimes the passion can get the better of you or your partner. Passionate scratches happen easily in the heat of the moment, which can be really hot and intoxicating. It’s also good because it can be your next excuse for cut marks on your body.
20. You wore metal jewelry in the sauna
If you’ve ever worn a necklace or bracelet in a hot sauna, you’ll understand what we mean. It happens fast, you move the wrong way and all of a sudden the heated metal touches your skin, leaving a burn mark. Happens all the time, which is why this is an awesome excuse for burning yourself during self-harm.
21. You spilled hot candle wax on yourself
Power outage, satanic ritual, or some BDSM foreplay with your partner – candles and hot wax are likely to have been involved. Maybe it was an accident, or maybe it was on purpose, but you spilled hot wax on yourself and it left a burn mark on your skin.
22. You got in a fight with someone with long nails
Long nails are very common these days, and while they look good, they should really be considered weapons in a scrap. Getting scratched during a physical altercation hurts, but it can also be a good excuse for cutting if you need one.
23. You were drunk and don’t remember
You were hitting the bottle last night and the tequila got to you. You were a drunken mess and must have blacked out, cause when you woke up the next day, you had cuts, scrapes and bruises all over your body. Any idea what happened?
24. You should see the other guy
You got into a fight and although you kicked ass, you still incurred your fair share of damage. For instance, these cuts on your wrists occurred during a knife fight, not by your own hand, and… you should see the other guy…
25. Your scars are actually tattoos
Tattoos don’t have to be created with ink, and can also be what’s known as a scar tattoo. That’s where instead of ink creating a design, it’s the healing of your skin that leaves the imprint. Scar tattoos make for good excuses for cutting that you can give to family, friends and strangers alike.
Fictitious and funny excuses for cutting related self-harm
Sick and tired of fending off questions or comments about the scars on your body? We can’t blame you, it gets old fast, so the next time you just want someone to take the hint and f@#$ off, here are some ridiculous and funny excuses for cutting you can throw their way.
26. You’re a member of a satanic cult
Will you be believed? Maybe. Will people look at you funny? Probably. Is having that type of reputation worse than people knowing you’re having a hard time coping? You decide. If you’re believed or not, the conversation will likely end pretty quickly after you give this reason for cutting or self-injury to someone.
27. These scars are a barcode
If society is going to treat you like just another number, then you might as well play the part. That’s why these marks on your skin aren’t from a self-harm incident, you’ve been slowly assembling an ironic barcode of scars on your wrist (or elsewhere) in spite.
28. You work in quality control for Gillette
If you want someone to mind their own business and leave you alone, then this obviously fake and facetious excuse for cutting will work like a charm.
Excuses for cutting to tell your friends
There are some people who you don’t need or want to lie to, or there are those that wouldn’t believe whatever excuse you gave them. Cutting is a pretty common thing too, so chances are that your marks and scars will be seen for exactly what they are, in which case, your excuses will just sound weak or lame. That’s when honesty is your go-to (if you’re mentally prepared for that), and the following honest excuses for self-harming can help you address the issue, without getting into a big conversation about it.
29. You were an angst-filled teenager
Like many teens these days, you had a rough time growing up and self-harm was how you dealt with your emotional issues. There’s zero shame in it, and people will usually react positively or with concern. Being open and honest about a serious issue is also the first step on the road to getting better.
30. They are a coping mechanism
Life is hard and you’re struggling, or at least you were. Maybe it wasn’t the best option, but it helped, self-harm was your trusted coping mechanism for a while. It isn’t a shameful thing, so if you can be honest about it then that’s a good thing. No need to make excuses for cutting or burning.
31. They’re exactly what you think they are
Usually when people ask about scars on your wrist, they’ll probably already have a notion about where they’re from. That’s why making an excuse for scars can be silly, and just being blunt about your self-harm marks can be the best thing to do.
32. You had a skin graft after a bad burn injury
This is a great excuse for self-harm marks because it could very easily be true. That said, it won’t work on your family, or people you’ve known for a long time, because they’ll know the truth, but saying your cut marks are scars from a previous injury is a great way to cover things up.
33. I’d rather not talk about it
People need to respect your privacy and not be nosy, especially when such a private matter is the topic. Even though it won’t make the problem go away and people who care about you will still worry, saying you don’t want to talk about it is all you need to do to be left alone, at least for a little while.
How to hide self-harm marks and scars so you can avoid needing to make excuses for cutting in the first place
Excuses get tedious and tiresome fast, so avoiding the need to make them all together is a pretty good idea. It’s not rocket science of course, but hiding your scars means you won’t have to explain yourself if you don’t want to.
1. Wear long sleeves
If you have marks on your wrist and arms, then simply wearing long-sleeved clothing to cover them up will work perfectly. There are lots of clothes made from super light fabrics so that summer temperatures won’t be an issue either. Besides, protecting yourself from the sun is a good thing to do anyways.
2. Wear wristbands
Sweatbands, lots of jewelry, or one of those slick leather armbands are some cool options you can use to cover up scars on your wrists caused by cutting.
3. Don’t cut visible areas
If you don’t want your scars to be openly visible to the public, then cutting or burning less visible areas is your best bet. While self-harm is never the best option, being able to hide the marks can help keep things close to your chest.
4. Cover up with tattoos
Covering up scars and self-injury markings with tattoos is a very effective method to hide them from other people. Tattoos work well once you’ve stopped self-harming but unfortunately won’t do much good for fresh wounds. You shouldn’t be ashamed of your past actions, but if you’d rather not have a constant reminder on your skin, then a tattoo can be a great way to hide your past.
Get help and stop making excuses for cutting
If you’re struggling, it’s vital that you let someone you trust know. It’s almost impossible to face things by yourself, so having someone on your team that has your well-being at heart can help you overcome your problems. Your family, your friends, or a medical professional need to know what’s going on with you so they can help pick you up. Making excuses for self-harm is much more serious than something like making excuses for accidentally liking a photo, and needs to be treated as such.