Self harm is usually a hidden problem which can go on for years without being apparent to others. What may start out as a momentary expression of anger or frustration ie: punching a wall / door, can become a way of coping. It tends to be an expression of anger, frustration and feelings of worthlessness and an inability to handle these stressful and difficult feelings adequately. So the person turns their anger inwards on themselves instead of outwardly expressing their feelings towards the person / situation that has angered them.
Self – harm can be mild to severe depending on the underlying problems and how long it has been used as a coping mechanism. The longer it has been an outlet for anger etc the more tolerant the individual becomes of the pain and more severe harm is needed to obtain the same sense of relief as time goes on. This can lead to permanent injury and major infections.
A person who uses self – harm as a coping strategy would find it helpful to use a health professional / counsellor / therapist with whom you would do some personal exploration of personal issues and who would teach you better coping skills particularly related to conflict resolution.