40 yrs old – why I still self harm (triggering)

This will probably be triggering so if you don’t think you can read it I suggest you pass.

I grew up in a house with two alcoholic parents. They divorced when I was 9 and they were both miserable, unhappy people. Their way of coping with their unwanted emotions was to drink. They used my brother and I as pawns in their divorce games. My father totalled 4 cars in 5 years. He would show up to pick us up for our visit with his face all bruised and cut up. He always had some excuse but he’d show up with another junk car and we’d know. My mother loved it, it gave her another jab against my father and yet she still would put us in the car with him.

One time my father was driving me home. I was alone in the car with him and sitting in the front seat. He started passing out behind the wheel and swearving into oncoming traffic. I would hollar and hit his leg. He would swearve back intomour lane and yell at me that there was nothing wrong
It was only about a 30 minute drive but it felt like hours and I honestly thought I was going to die that day. Back then no one wore seat belts, that was the first time I ever wore one.

My mother didn’t start really drinking hard until I was about 13. She used to drink coffee in the morning but around this time her morninc coffee would turn into a screwdriver. A very strong screwdriver that was so much alcohol that it looked like orange tinted water.

You can imagine that my parents were never there for me. They escaped their pain and emotions with alcohol. How was I supposed to learn healthy coping skills.

I started cutting when I was 13. That was the same age that my pedophile-stepfather moved in. He worked on grooming me for years, “The boys will think you are fat, but I really like you.” I hated him. When I was 12, before they were married, I was in bed and heard noises from the living room. I thought my mom was hurt so I walked into the room calling her name. My stepfather was on top of her having sex with her on the freaking living room couch – with two kids in the house. The worst part, even though he knew I was there, he didn’t stop. Finding out later that he’d had sex with a teen-aged foster daughter made me realize that he probably got off on knowing I was there. I still harbor resentment against my mother for not warning me that I was living with a threat.

My father was a doctor, he lost his medical license because he was drinking on the job.

I had no rules growing up; no curfew, never called to tell anyone where I was. I used to brag about it but it really made me feel like I didn’t matter.

I started cutting, but I didn’t know why or what it was. It wasn’t talked about back then. I also slammed my fists into brick or cement walls. My knuckles were always bruised but no one ever asked. My arms and hands were always cut up and no one still ever asked why. Pain started fullfilling something I was missing.

If I was in emotional pain I could hurt myself to make the physical pain outweigh the emotional.
If I wasn’t feeling disconnected, now I would call it disociating, I hurt myself to bring myself back.
If I was numb I hurt myself to feel something, anything.

After you spend years using those methods to cope with life it’s very hard to stop.

I’m in therapy and trying to work on it but a lot of the emotional crap that comes out in therapy causes me to revert to old habits. I tell my therapist and we’ve discussed other methods of coping. I don’t self-harm as much I did but it still ocassionally rears it’s ugly head.

I cut on my thigh above my knee. I’ve cut there so often that it’s all scars and scar tissue. I cut a few weeks ago, a deep cut that even showed the yellow fat cells beneath the skin. It was over 1/4 inch deep. It only bled for about 30 seconds then I just sat there and looked into the large gash I had created in my leg. It’s amazing that I never get infections. I don’t clean the cuts, I just slap a large band-aid on it. A couple times I’ve had to superglue a cut shut to avoid getting stitches. I was always worried that if I went into the ER they would put a psych hold on me.

I have a picture of that last cut, it looks horrible. I thought about posting it but I’m afraid that would be even more triggering for others. I don’t want anyone thinking that it looks cool or to start harming because they think it will help them. I’m always afraid that someone will find out my dirty little secret. All of my cuts are in an area that I can cover with a large 4″x5″ band-aid. None of my friends know and I don’t want them to know. Right now only my therapist and my psychiatrist know and only my therapist has ever seen what it looks like. I’m ashamed of it and embarassed by it. Whenever I think someone might see my leg I wear a band-aid. It’s amazing how few people ask why you would need a large band-aid on your thigh.

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2 thoughts on “40 yrs old – why I still self harm (triggering)

  1. AspieSide says:

    My son used to do self harming. I don’t want to describe what due to triggering but we did finally get him to stop. He also did it because couldn’t cope with the emotional pain. We got him to do a less harmful thing by explaining how he could really hurt himself. The less harmful thing was easier to wean him off of and he stopped with the we worked through the worst of the emotional pain. I hope you can eventually stop too.

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