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I did this to myself/dealing with the stigma and coming to terms with my scars


Lie_low
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I have not injured myself in 10 weeks and I’m hoping that part of my life is behind me. What I have now is a tremendous amount of grief over what I have done to myself. I wish I could take it all back!!!

I have very noticeable scars that are obviously self-inflicted. I wear long sleeves around everyone but my immediate family. Unfortunately people sometimes notice the ones on my wrists even when I am wearing long sleeves. And though many of them are several years old and have faded a bit they are still quite obvious.

I’m afraid of what people think when they see scars like this. I’m sure it’s not a good thing. I feel like I have to go the extra mile to prove that I’m a sane and capable human being. How can I move on when I have all these reminders of my past? I did this. How can I live with that?!

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Start by treating yourself kindly today. The reminders of the past are a part of the journey that has led you to where you are in the here and now. I really think it's in the way you use those past experiences. You may choose to confine yourself in the constraints of past wounds and allow those wounds to prevent you from moving forward in life. Or you may use those wounds as a means of motivation for creating a new and positive future. The scars may serve as knowledge of how far you have come and what you have since put behind you.

Have others said things to you about this? You don't owe anyone proof of who you are. You also can't control what others may or may not think. In time, those who are true friends will know you and come to understand who you are. The point of all this being that you can't change the past, but you can live for today. I know this seems easier said than done, but you have already taken a very huge first step. You're on your way. Hopefully things get easier for you, lie-low.

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People who see your scars might be more willing to show you theirs. And not everybody's scars are on the outside.

My opinion on what other people might be thinking is that anyone who would judge you by cutting scars needs to see a bit more of life. The admonition about not casting the first stone sneaks through the back of my mind ...

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Hi Lie_Low,

I find what both Irmajean and Finding have said to be absolutely profound. When I have seen old scars on someone's arms or even markings of someone who has used needles, I feel great compassion (not pity, not that they're somehow less human than me or others, not that there's something wrong with them, etc.)... these are the marks we all carry, some within and others with outwardly expression, of, as Finding suggests, a real life lived with very real struggles.

When I was a little kid, we lived at that time in the almost uninhabitable Chihuahuan desert and Sierra Madre mountains.. I used to sit on a rock beside the fence where we kept our goats and other animals. There, the tiny, bluish purple dung beetles used to roll up small dung balls out of horse or cow dung. The beetles would push the balls around by going reverse as their hind feet rolled up the tiny balls until they grew larger and larger, eventually being large enough to house the beetle itself (small marble size). Once the dung ball had grown to the perfect size, and they all seemed to instinctively know what perfect size was, the beetle would dig a very microscopic hole in the dung ball, go inside and then seal up the entrance with moistened dung from the inside. There they would live for a few days, and then the mother beetle would dig a hole out of the tiny ball and a number of baby beetles would emerge,…little baby dung beetles created, born in a tiny rolled up ball of animal waste! What a powerful lesson in life-- a point well made by Irmajean.

Lie_Low, protect your wounds, all of them no matter where they are: safeguard your life experiences, for they are the very life blood and essence of a soul in the process of refinement--- and let no one (as Malign states), even your inner voices, diminish you b/c of them.

David

Edited by David O
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Thanks everyone for your support. I had a talk with my therapist about all this. All of the scars and shame, the implications for my future and the regret that comes with knowing that I did it to myself. He suggested that the more comfortable I am with my scars, the more other people will be comfortable with them too. The thing is that they are on the more severe side and I have trouble believing that seeing them would not cause some people to be uncomfortable or judge me for it. It would be nice to be able to wear short sleeves and not care what other people think. I’m just not sure if that is possible. I would say that’s still weighing heavily on my mind at this point.

Damn. Self-injury is such a waste.

I have scarred up a perfectly fine body. It’s hard to have such visible reminders of my past. It feels like I carry my shame with me wherever I go. And you all are right. I hope that I can learn to be more kind to myself. After all, self-hatred and disgust are what drove me to hurt myself in the first place. I was in a lot of pain and I coped with it the only way I knew how. I really have trouble not being mad at myself for that. But it’s time to move on, isn’t it? I don’t need self-injury anymore. I don’t need to hurt myself to feel better.

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Whenever I find myself worrying too much about what other people think,

all I have to do is remind myself that, in fact, most other people are idiots. :-)

Certainly those who would judge you for stuff like this.

You will carry your shame with you wherever you go.

Until you choose to let it off at the corner, and then you can go on without it. :-)

You don't have to carry it one more step, you know. Bag it and leave it on the kerb.

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Good morning Lie-Low,

For years and years I carried the most visible scar of a 2nd class citizen. I felt like I had the mark of Cain for all to see and comment on. We were beaten, chased down in pick-ups by our neighbors, the white kids and adults, to be hurt with sticks, chains, fists, and whatever they could find. This went on for years. In my own country, the Federales were even more cruel, for even there we carried this mark--- very dark, black skin, migrant workers, nomads in a sense, chasing crops.

For nearly 25 years I struggled with my 2nd or even 3rd class citizenship, I struggled with what it meant to be defined as less than others- my neighbor's dogs and cats got more affection and protection than we did.

I soon began to mature and outgrew much of the inner tapes that ruminated over my life experience-- but I did this thru very direct challenging of those tapes and the creation of a new set of them, ones with different words and beliefs and values (therapy and reading on my own saved my life). I soon had the courage, somehow, from somewhere, I found it (although I believe it was intense anger, open hostility and a petrified hatred) to go to school, graduate, go to college and graduate and go on even further than I had ever hoped.

Your therapist is right, it will be your comfort level and acceptance that determines how your scars affect you, and once you've accepted your marks of a life lived in the shadows, others will also. And as for those who can't get past them, they may not be the ones you want to be around in the first place. Finally, with respect to your shame, you have 3 choices-- let it rent free space in your head and do the Devil's work, drop it Malign wisely suggests, or incorporate it into your very essence and use it as part of your own growth and refinement as a human.

I will never say I'm successful b/c once you've been hungry, you're never ever full; but, I can safely say that it's been decades since I felt rejection, and much of it is b/c I no longer reject myself before others will reject me.

With great compassion and understanding,

David

Edited by David O
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Thanks everyone for your support. I had a talk with my therapist about all this. All of the scars and shame, the implications for my future and the regret that comes with knowing that I did it to myself. He suggested that the more comfortable I am with my scars, the more other people will be comfortable with them too. The thing is that they are on the more severe side and I have trouble believing that seeing them would not cause some people to be uncomfortable or judge me for it. It would be nice to be able to wear short sleeves and not care what other people think. I’m just not sure if that is possible. I would say that’s still weighing heavily on my mind at this point.

Damn. Self-injury is such a waste.

I have scarred up a perfectly fine body. It’s hard to have such visible reminders of my past. It feels like I carry my shame with me wherever I go. And you all are right. I hope that I can learn to be more kind to myself. After all, self-hatred and disgust are what drove me to hurt myself in the first place. I was in a lot of pain and I coped with it the only way I knew how. I really have trouble not being mad at myself for that. But it’s time to move on, isn’t it? I don’t need self-injury anymore. I don’t need to hurt myself to feel better.

your right Lie Low. You do not need to SI to feel better ! COngradulations for coming so far with yourself.

My scars are extremely severe as well . SOmetimes , people ask , But I just say I was in an accident , most people think that is what happened , and ask about the "accident" .

SI is a waste , I agree. However , I am not as far as you dealing with my own personal self harm. I can still think of 1000 reasons why . Perhaps I'll be as strong as you someday and overcome Self harm for good.

It really is nobody buisness about the scars . I believe slience is golden on other people's part.

MAlign is correct , many people just wear their scars on the inside more then on the outside .

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