Friday, January 7, 2011

Hiding Scars - Criteria 5 / Self Mutilation

 I detest that look of pity in your eyes. I do not want your attention. I do not want your sympathy. No one hates whiny emo brats cutting for attention more than people that truly know the meaning of self harm.

"…Self injury may be used to garner attention, but this is not the focus of chronic, repetitive self injury. The fact is that people who self injure make a great effort to hide their bruises and scars, and are loath to discuss their inner or outer pain. Self injurers rarely seek medical attention for their wounds, and are wary of seeking support from the mental health services. Self injury is private and personal, it is hidden from family and friends…"

I’m curious about this statement in regards to myself. When cutting/burning, I often hide the healing wound, but once it’s healed I make no attempt to hide my scars. Pushing too hard, going to deep. I often end up having heavy scars that raise up and never fade. My scars are permanent. I find them beautiful and not in any way a sense of shame. They’re more a badge of courage showing myself I had the will to brave the pain and fight. With the exception of professional situations, I also don’t divert attention from them, this doesn’t mean I deliberately try to attract attention, nor do I deny their origins, I simply wear my scars as they are another part of me.

Why don’t I hide this? What is different about me that I don’t do this?

I am also at conflict with discussing inner and outer pain. There was a time that I would flat our refuse to discuss my feelings or emotions. Only over emotional whiny girls complained about their feelings. I was tougher, stronger, didn't show my pain. Buried it deep beneath my surface. Eventually, I would turn them off and completely disassociate from them until it was no longer possible to feel them. I would not seek anyone to talk to. I dealt with it in my own manner.

I don’t mind talking about my feelings now, however listening to myself speak it sounds ‘matter of fact’. I can discuss things, I can try to pin point the origins and causes of my feelings, hash them out with others, but it’s rare that I hear or feel any of that emotion when I discuss it. It seems a clinical analysis like a doctor discussing a patient when trying to convey what should be something very personal. I may feel something, but in discussing it, I detach, and more often then not, those feelings go away. It’s like I’m discussing how someone else feels, so logically I can't convey emotion that someone else would feel because I wouldn't be feeling somone else's emotions. More than logic, I actually feel nothing. I image that from an outside perspective it makes me difficult to relate to; to talk about deep or distressing emotions but display a passively neutral, almost cold reserve. How can someone feel this way, and have no outward display or affectation? I wonder if people even believe me.

From another aspect, I may have no trouble talking about it because I’ve already had just about everything possible used against me to humiliate me, abandon me, or injure me mentally and emotionally. Fear of humiliation, rejection, etc. are primarily the reasons I imagine someone would withhold how they are feeling. Having become accustomed to this, there is little point in withholding. Especially as in a twist of defense mechanism I decided to simply take everything about me and put it out in the open myself, instead of fearing that someone else would do it.

Open, but detached.

Sometimes I wonder if I talk about how I feel for the benefit of others. People feel helpful, closer, when you let them into your inner thoughts. Trusted, relied on. There are very few people that I seek out to discuss such things. These people are those that I would trust and keep close. With others it’s easy to recognize that people like to listen and feel satisfaction when they are able to provide advice, or guidance, or their own words of wisdom. It’s amusing to see the self-satisfaction in others. These are the times I feel less than nothing about the things I talk about. I tend to become agitated or annoyed with the simplistic, simplified, prosaic, platitudes that people spit out. Maybe I’m hoping that someone will tell me something I didn’t already know; but I am generally disappointed. I become annoyed at the suggestion that I was not intelligent enough to have come up with such an obvious conclusion. Odds are, I have; many, many times for many different instances, and am too polite to tell you that your suggestions have nothing to do with my world. I also know these suggestions are not actually meant to insult my intelligence, but that little voice in the back of my head says they should know I’m smart enough to have thought of that myself.

My openness may also be a way to push people away. Not let them get close in the first place. If they see my scars maybe they’ll judge me and keep themselves at arms length relieving myself of the responsibility of maintaing the distance. Ultimately it makes it easier for me to protect my core.

Potentially protecting myself from future external emotional harm


  1. but that little voice in the back of my head says they should know I’m smart enough to have thought of that myself.

    I know that voice all too well.

    Sometimes I do think of such actions, and simply need someone to tell me to reinforce it though. I can be awfully lazy and procrastinate in areas where I should be applying myself, and then Captain Obvious comes out of nowhere and starts pointing his finger. Ok Captain, I'll get out of my comfy chair...

  2. ::laughs:: nice. I'm the exact opposite of lazy. I'm also smarter than most people I know. I try to keep an open mind to others' suggestions but at the same time I know that often they don't know me well enough to give anything but a blanket 'diagnosis'.

  3. I think my favorite suggestion from someone was, "You should join the Masons."

    1. I'll always remember the, "it'll get harder before it gets easier". (What is that?)

      But my favorite piece of advice comes from Anjelica Huston in the movie Ever After: "We must never feel sorry for ourselves, must we? Because no matter how bad things get, they can ALWAYS get worse." (lol I use that a lot)

  4. Wow if i didn't know any better i would think id wrote this. I remember at the time when i was self harming i didnt tell anyone anything and was embarassed by my scars. After a while though i no longer hid them and when asked why i did it id tell them very matter of factly like it wasnt even me i was talking about, i may aswell have been discussing the weather and it used to make me wonder if people acctually believed what i was saying at all because i was so emotionally detatched

  5. Yeah I never bother to lie about it. Depending on the person depends on my tone and inflection though. Most people I'm exactly like you in I just state it outright like it's nothing new (because it isn't).

    1. I also have that mentality about it like: "My scars seem to bother YOU more than they bother ME. Get over yourself. Step off the high horse. You wouldn't last a minute in my shoes!" ;)

    2. I've never actually met someone that told me outright that my scars bother them. Most people simply ignore them or pretend they don't exist.

  6. I wish I could detach myself from my emotions. It seems easier to deal.
    But, I don't know about allowing my scars to be public. When I hurt myself, I hide it. I wear long sleeves, or find ways to make it look less obvious. Mostly, because I don't like the stares, or my mom's complaining.

    1. Well, hopefully for you it won't go on long enough for you to reach your limit. Your threshold of shame. If, unfortunately, you're unable to stop'll eventually get to this point where you are sick and tired of the stares and your mom's complaining. Eventually, it will all build up to a point that you stand your ground and stop hiding from them. Because believe it or not right now, THEY are no better than YOU. Everyone has their vices and that's just a lesson that takes time and pain to learn. (I hope you don't have to suffer enough to reach this point, but on the bright's self-empowering.)

  7. I will occasionally hide healing wounds. Those tend to draw attention and I do not want to draw attention in a way that I can't brush off. But once they're healed they're no big deal.

    Detaching from emotions is just as unhealthy really. You're not dealing at all, in fact.

  8. "My scars are permanent. I find them beautiful and not in any way a sense of shame. They’re more a badge of courage showing myself I had the will to brave the pain and fight."
    --This is like poetry and I've used the term "badge of courage" myself. It's like a war medal, isn't it? People are awarded medals who've been wounded in battle...well, you've also been wounded (physically, sure - but more importantly, emotionally). And the life of a Borderline is an incessant battle.

    "too polite to tell you that your suggestions have nothing to do with my world."
    --This made me laugh because I sure know the feeling! Unless a person goes through this "world" themself...they really have no idea what it's like and how terrible it can be. It's not just made up of neurotransmitters, brain structures, limbic systems, etc. It's not just made up of feelings that are labeled with useless terms such as "sad, depressed, angry, empty, etc." It evelopes you, traps you to the point of suffocation, anchors you and you cannot be free, affects every part of you and of your life, and it doesn't just happen in your brain, or show on your body, it reaches the depths of your soul in places where the faintest glow of the sun could never reach far enough to glimmer...and even THOSE words cannot fully describe it.

    "I become annoyed at the suggestion that I was not intelligent enough to have come up with such an obvious conclusion."
    --(you probably already knew this, lol, but) I see this as (and I do the same thing) You've already gathered the strength to cope with your pain by self harm, and you've overcome the adversity associated with such a taboo act. Those are 2 very big accomplishments which make you proud. And so, yet again, you prove your strength by talking about it, suppressing your emotions by detaching from them, which requires even more strength. By now you are a pretty strong person. (And it's true). So, maybe you are insulted by these lame retorts that people make because they do not SEE all of the STRENGTH you've musteres and obstacles you've overcome to get to the point of showing your scars and talking about them. They don't APPRECIATE your depth/courage.
    And maybe for them to suggest something you already knew, it makes you feel like they are trying to make YOU look stupid? (which further hurts your sense of self and potentiates the cycle all over again).

    Well, I bought Maderma to try to make my scars less visible, but I was sad at the thought of losing them, so how screwed up am "I"? lol, I threw the Mederma out. My last cut required 17 stitches and I had to lie to the doctor about my injury so they wouldn't lock my up. But hey, this scar is here to stay and just looking at it kinda makes me feel comfortable. I don't know why.

    Love your blog. Again, from Amber. Take Care

    1. Thank you for such thoughtful replies Amber! I've bought Maderma before, but only for wounds that I didn't inflict haha. I don't know what that says about me. The thought of covering up or hiding my scars just doesn't even occur to me. My past is a part of who I am and I'm not ashamed of it, even though I may want something different for myself going into the future.

      I think you have some very valid points on why people's suggestions make me so irritated. It's hard to reach the point where I have often reached and come through it in the ways that I have, stronger. People don't understand the things I do so they don't understand that it's not detrimental in the way they believe. Eh, what can you do.


Leave me a comment! It makes me feel good and less paranoid about talking to myself =)

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