The phenomenon of repeated wrist cutting in young women, performed in a nonsuicidal manner, was studied through the use of a control group. Histories revealed a significant incidence of early physical illness and surgery and markedly abnormal patterns of menstruation. The subjects interviewed immediately after cutting described an inability to deal with specific feelings, leading to a state of depersonalization. They cut themselves in an effort to reintegrate, and seemed to know exactly what was necessary to accomplish this: seeing a certain amount of blood, feeling a degree of pain, or being able to look inside the gaping wound. The authors relate the wrist-cutting gestures to genital conflict, reactions to helplessness, and an inability to handle aggression.