However, I've recently started thinking of a way where breaking can be used in a negative manner. A manner very similar to what I was talking about before, but which takes the "self-medication" value and brings it to a new extreme. I'm not sure if this is what I experienced with Corvus, and helped him do to himself, just before and after Christmas... But it does have certain signs. Specifically, I'm talking about self-harm.
From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-harm
Self-harm is also apparent in high-functioning individuals who have no underlying clinical diagnosis. The motivations for self-harm vary and it may be used to fulfill a number of different functions. These functions include self-harm being used as a coping mechanism which provides temporary relief of intense feelings such as anxiety, depression, stress, emotional numbness and a sense of failure or self-loathing.
As well as defining self-harm in terms of the act of damaging one's own body, it may be more accurate to define self-harm in terms of the intent, and the emotional distress that the person is attempting to deal with.
Just to have it clear: I have never purposfully broken the skin of anyone. Nor have I ever hurt anyone to the extent where you could see significant strain on the skin, like skabs or very serious bruising. Sure, there's been bruises, but nothing akind to what I see other BDSM people submitting themself or others to.
However, from the definition of self harm it is something hurtfull you put yourself through in an attempt to temporarily relieve yourself of emotional stress, depression etc. And isn't that exactly what breaking does too? Isn't that exactly what I said was so GOOD about being made to cry during a BDSM scene in my first paragraph? I think these are eerily similar. Have I assisted Corvus in doing harm to himself?!?
On the other hand, lots of other potentially dangerous things are done as a form of stress relief. Basejumping comes to mind... Motorcycle racing.... Going to a football match and screaming at the oposing team and their supporters... Working out until you can barely stand upright... All these can also be said to be potentially dangerous, hurtfull or both. And all may be used as a way to relieve emotional stress and such.
In the end, I think all these methods of relief relate to the release of hormones. Endorphines, adrenaline or whatever they're all called. (I'm no biochemist. :P )What gives you a kick or a feeling of joy when your heart is racing and you're doing something your instincts tell you that you shouldn't. And then you go ahead and do it anyway.
What differentiates self-harm from all these others is perhaps that it is "harm". Not "hurt" or "endanger" but simple, destructive "harm". It is destroying in stead of building. Perhaps.. I'm really not sure. (I'm no psycologist either. :P ) I guess I just don't know enough about this area to really be able to answer my own questions. Perhaps someone else out there can?