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Old 20-07-2022, 06:59 PM   #1
tigerstar96
 
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A vent , maybe? About scars. self esteem

Well. To preface.. I've had issues with self harming from as far back as I was 9 years old.

I think sometimes that's why it got so bad sometimes. I was bullied a lot at school by the majority of the other kids. I liked "emo" stuff because it was really trendy back then.. and I guess since I was being abused really bad at home with verbal narcissistic abuse / sexual abhse.. that stuff just appealed to me I guess. Idk.



Anyway.



I've done SH on and off now for the better part of 17 years. I don't know if I'll ever be able to stop. I have some really bad scars and I use many methods to do so. And if I don't have tools I end up hurting myself with my own hands and nothing more.



I feel so humiliated afterwards. Always. I can't really wear shorts very much without constantly trying to cover these stupid scars that won't ever go away. I can't wear tanktops anymore because of those stupid scars. They really make me feel guilty and ashamed of everything even more. It's like a vicious cycle.



I don't know what to do with the scars. Some places they've got so bad you can't really even see or identify any in particular. It's just a off thick mess of skin. It looks like a bruise but it's not. I've had It for years.


It's creeping to my arms and visible places now. My impulse to hide it is getting worse off so now there's gross scars on my arms that I can only cover with a bandaid. But covering it with bandaids makes me look strange and like maybe I got mauled by a cat..


How do you deal with scars that give you such shame? All I do is cover them up but it constantly feel like I'm holding a dark secret from everyone else..which I guess I am. It's just not a good feeling to carry all the time..

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Old 21-07-2022, 06:28 PM   #2
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How do you deal with scars that give you such shame? All I do is cover them up but it constantly feel like I'm holding a dark secret from everyone else..which I guess I am. It's just not a good feeling to carry all the time..
I know exactly how you feel. I feel the shame you feel too. It's something that sticks with me and the 'dark secrets' that I hide aren't supposed to be seen by others. I try not to self harm because of the shame I'd feel.

How I've dealt with the scars is by generally wearing long sleeve tops for years when I had scars and fresh wounds. How I've dealt with the other scars I have is understanding why I did those things and put them in context of 'what was going on for me at the time.' At that time I was vulnerable and had no outlet but to hurt myself.

Try and be gentle with yourself.
You're ill which is why you self harm. Some things aren't in your total control.

When it comes to the shame, humiliation and baggage you carry with the self harm, I feel it's much more than self harm that can make you feel that way. You've been abused and those feelings can be linked to that. It isn't your fault that you self harm. It's a coping mechanism for the abuse you endured.

I hope that helped a little.

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Old 21-07-2022, 08:59 PM   #3
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Hey. I understand the shame and the dark secret too. I spend my entire summer being completely self conscious and making sure my tshirt sleeve doesn't ride up too far or pulling my shorts down closer to my knees. I can't wear tank tops or short shorts either.

I'm sorry I have no words of wisdom right now but wanted to say I understand. You're absolutely right that it is not a good or easy feeling to deal with.

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Old 26-07-2022, 05:38 PM   #4
Pi.R^2
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In some ways it's maybe rude for me to waltz in here and say that I don't hugely relate to the shame of scars but maybe my experience will have something of use too??

I don't make a huge effort to cover my scars. It's not ideal that they're there and it's not ideal that they happened in the first place but I'm not ashamed that I did what I needed to do to survive. Inconveniently I don't know where this self-acceptance came from or how to develop it but it definitely can exist and maybe it's worth having a ponder about where your shame is coming from. Is it to do with others' potential or past reactions? If so, does someone who would judge you for something that is literally a sign of pain (both physical and mental) deserve for their opinion to enter your world?

I do understand shame more generally and it's so suffocating which is why I'm (sometimes rather forcefully!) passionate about body positivity. whether that relates to scars or more generally to do with size or other self-image hang-ups. If you did want to start trying to challenge a bit of that shame, maybe you could set yourself little tasks to gently start to be slightly less covered-up. e.g. rolling one sleeve up in a small group setting that feels particularly safe or when people are least likely to be looking. Only if you want to of course, I don't run anyone's life and I know some people have valid reasons for never wanting to aim to show scars, but shame is a reason that I don't think should have to be a reason, if that makes sense.

[/ramble]



We may not see eye to eye, but we can respect each other's opinions and find the truth in them.
Perhaps in those honest conversations, instead of demonising each other,
we might see each other as imperfect humans, doing our best. ~ Jodi Picoult


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Old 26-07-2022, 07:10 PM   #5
Auror.
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Originally Posted by Pi.R^2 View Post
I don't make a huge effort to cover my scars. It's not ideal that they're there and it's not ideal that they happened in the first place but I'm not ashamed that I did what I needed to do to survive. Inconveniently I don't know where this self-acceptance came from or how to develop it but it definitely can exist and maybe it's worth having a ponder about where your shame is coming from. Is it to do with others' potential or past reactions? If so, does someone who would judge you for something that is literally a sign of pain (both physical and mental) deserve for their opinion to enter your world?
I can relate to what Jenna said and what to share a bit related to that. I hope that's okay and not upsetting to you, OP.

At one point I felt more embarrassed and worried about being judged for my scars. This was when I was a teenager and young adult. And what I found was the more I didn't bother to cover them up, the more comfortable I became with showing them and the more people that knew me just accepted and got used to it. I very occasionally get stares or reactions from strangers these days, but most of the time it's a non issue.

I think what did it for me was not wanting to be uncomfortable, especially during the summer. I didn't want to have to cover up and be miserable and sweaty. I decided that my own comfort was more important than potentially making others uncomfortable or judging me.

I get that it's not that simple for everyone, but I too find that I don't have the huge experience of shame, though I once did.

I will still cover up in certain circumstances - like if I am going to a job interview or if I have fresh cuts and around family or getting dirty. But the majority of the time I don't bother. I think there is a way through/past it, but it might take time and support to figure out.

But like Jenna said, once I accepted that the act of self harming itself was a tool that I used for coping, and not in itself anything bad or shameful, that also helped me be more comfortable with my scars and with others seeing them. I also found therapists and providers to work with who see self harm the same way and practice things like harm management and reduction instead of just viewing self harm as this taboo not allowed thing.

To be clear I'm not saying you need to walk up to everyone you meet and announce that you self harm. Just that there's ways to address it if it does come up and be open about it or even tell people that it's none of their business if you don't want to answer questions.

Also a ramble, but I really feel for you and hope that maybe you too can get to a point where you don't feel such shame or feel the need to hide and be so secretive about it.



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