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Hurting myself

(22 Posts)
Muscadet Tue 03-May-05 14:38:44

Hi! I'm a new step mum and am finding everything really hard. I posted on the step mum's section and everyone's been really great and made me feel quite "normal". Something I didn't tell them was that I hurt myself sometimes - I didn't think that was the right forum, so I thought I'd post on here, to see if anyone else had similar feelings. When I get really wound up, anxious, angry, upset etc... I thump my head, or hit it against something. This weekend was particularly hard for me and resulted in me scratching myself until I bled. When I do things like this the pain of the situation I'm worrying about seems less important. I want to stop it before it gets to this stage. I'm quite an insecure person and I worry about everything, but I really want to stop the worrying, or at least be able to control my feelings, instead of just thinking that I can't cope, but I really have no idea on how to do this - can anyone help?

FLUM Tue 03-May-05 14:40:30

mmmm, not had any experience of that so can't really help. sounds like a compulsion to me. does it make you feel better or worse?

starlover Tue 03-May-05 14:42:15

Hi muscadet,
I know exactly how you feel as I have self-harmed for around 10 years now.
I think that you are heading in the right direction though, self-harm is so destructive and it just gets worse and worse. But looking for help, and realising that hurting yourself isn't the answer is really your first step in the right direction.
Self-harm is mroe common than you might think. Have you considered going to your GP? They would be able to refer you to a counsellor who you would be able to talk to about how you feel, and hopefully resolve some of the issues that lead you to want to hurt yourself.
Do feel free to contact me if you want someone to talk to about it
you can e-mail me, or use MSN if you have that?

almostanangel Tue 03-May-05 14:45:34

oh hun{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}} your not on your own ,,i do the scratching thing ,,actually this is the first year that i havent wrecked my face!! but it is scard,,not sure if you can see it in my profile picture ,,,it is so i have been told a control thing,,,you feel out of control with other or all asspects of your life so neeed to control something ,,ie no one can stop you scatching yourself,,,,,i have found that you can switch the control to not doing it ie i will not scratch myself im in control of this,,do you understand?? i really do feel for you..

squirrel3 Tue 03-May-05 14:47:45

Muscadet, Why didn't you tell us? Please go to see your GP, you need some counselling. Don't be embarassed I'm sure there are many, many people who have this problem and I'm sure that you can be helped.

As you know, all of the 'other' feelings that you have been having are normal its just that you have found a different way of coping with them, please, please phone your Dr today and find a way to stop this cycle. {hug}

You sound like such a lovely person, don't let this rule your life.

Muscadet Wed 04-May-05 09:43:33

The hurting me thing does make me feel better at first, it seems to numb all of those awful, sick feelings I have inside. Afterwards I look at the bump on my head or the bleeding on my arm and I feel so ashamed. But, the time comes again when I just feel I don't know what to do and I do the same thing again - I just feel that I need to hurt me, in some way.

I didn't feel that I should mention this bit of my jigsaw in my mail on the step mum page, as being new, everyone would just think I was silly doing this, just for not being about to cope with the whole step parent thing - something that lots of people do and cope with.

I just can't tell you how much of a wonderful release it is to talk to someone - I keep saying it on my other mail, but I really can't explain it - thank you so much!! I'm actually starting to think that I'm not crazy - that's a first!

almostanangel Wed 04-May-05 09:57:55

your not crazy!! if you are then your in good company!!
do you think you could try what i said ,,the take control..when you feel like hurting yourself ,,say to yourself..i am in control and im not going to do this..

Muscadet Wed 04-May-05 10:24:39

I understood what you said about controlling not hurting myself and have been thinking about it, but TBH it's a little scary - where will all the feelings go, the feelings that fade when I hurt myself? I've been in a situation before when I've felt like hurting myself, but were unable to do so because I was surrounded by people - I was shaking all over, I felt like my legs were going to give way and I just burst in to tears and felt like I was bursting. I know that I don't want to do it anymore, but I don't want to feel those feelings either- I'm so confused.

starlover Wed 04-May-05 10:28:57

Muscadet, there are ways of overcoming self-harm.
Some people swear by things such as:

keep an elastic band round your wrist and ping it against your skin
Use ice to "cut" with (the cold hurts but does no harm)
use a red marker pen

These however are really only stop-gaps. You need to sort out the underlying issues to you harming yourself before it will stop.

Please do feel free to contact me on the address I left below, there is so much more I can tell you but can't get it all out on here!

Muscadet Wed 04-May-05 10:53:23

Thank you Starlover I will e-mail you. Are you dealing with things ok now?

starlover Wed 04-May-05 11:12:14

getting better, but still have my moments!

FLUM Wed 04-May-05 11:39:30

Muscadet, so glad you've found some people that can relate to you. fraid I was a bit out of my depth there. I can appreciate that it is a cry for help. I hope you are feeling a bit better.

squirrel3 Wed 04-May-05 13:01:29

Muscadet, I'm glad that Starlover is helping you, I hope that the support that you get here and the support that you are getting from our stepmums thread helps you to realise that your not alone. {hugs}

Muscadet Wed 04-May-05 13:47:28

I wish I could contribute in helping people like you. You really are such wonderful caring people. xx

squirrel3 Wed 04-May-05 14:15:32

Muscadet, you will, when you are feeling better you will come out of this a stronger, happier you and you will have the experience to give invaluable advice to other people who are suffering similar problems.

Muscadet Wed 04-May-05 14:22:01

Thank you. It's just at the moment, I just can't seem to deal with anything! I'm trying to cope, but I just seem to fail miserably. When I think rationally about stuff I'm ok, but when I don't - OH BOY!!!

starlover Wed 04-May-05 14:53:58

muscadet.. i used to feel the same! It was like I was always taking abd taking, and never giving anything back,
A few people would avoid talking to me, because I was such high maintenence.
But that's how it is, if you're depressed. It's a struggle to see anything beyond how you feel. It makes you quite a selfish person, but it is NOT your fault. It just seems to take you over.
But gradually, as you get through it and begin to see things more clearly, you find that what you have been through has put you in a position to help others. Your experience can help them to get through it as well....
and one day you'll get there! I promise

IdoItToo Wed 04-May-05 15:03:02

I have done this for as long as I can remember. I don't cut myself or make myself bleed but I do thump, punch, pinch, pull hair and bruise myself if I am frustrated/angry/stresses or upset. I've never thought of it as self-harm, if I'm honest I'd associate SH with cutting myself, but I suppose it is a form of self harm.

I don't have any answers and I've changed my name to avoid it being associated with the 'real' MN me. I suppose I never really thought of it as a problem or at least not one serious enough to mention to anyone (afraid of being told I'm being dramatic, perhaps?). Like I said, if I was cutting myself then I think the denial (?) would be less so.

IdoItToo Wed 04-May-05 15:03:55

FWIW, I am not violent with anyone but myself.

Muscadet Wed 04-May-05 16:06:24

Hi Idoittoo - I'm obviously in no position to advise you, but just to tell you that you're not alone. Before writing on here I felt like I was a freak and crazy, but as you'll have read here, there are people that experience similar things too.

It does seem to take me over and there's nothing I can do to stop it! It's like a vicious circle - what starts as a thought, leads to a worry, which leads to me in a mess and then I have to hurt me to cope and because I hurt me I feel angry, frustrated, emotional...... and I can't do anything to stop this circle.

My behaviour is really hurting my relationship with my DP and this makes me worse.

I do understand what you're saying Idoitto - that you didn't really think of it as self-harm. I just think that I'm hurting myself! But the thing is....I'm not just hurting me - I'm also hurting the relationship with my DP, like you say Starlover, you get kind of selfish and I'm not like that really, it's not me, I can see that, but at the same time I can't stop it.

Starlover - your advice of trying to control not hurting myself, I'm going to try, no not try - DO - when I'm next in that situation - maybe you could try that too, Idoitto? I'm not violent to anyone else but myself either. Like you say I need to control the underlying issue, but how I don't know!

starlover Wed 04-May-05 16:15:43

Muscadet... Richey Edwards once described self harm as being like a storm.
When the air gets all muggy and hot, and it's hard to breathe, and then a big storm comes and the rain freshens everything up and makes it all clean again.

"you didn't really think of it as self-harm. I just think that I'm hurting myself"

hurting yourself IS self-harm!

I do think that counselling may help. Not necessarily a psychiatrist or anything, just someone who you can talk to who is unrelated to the situation. It's often easier to talk to a stranger than someone you know.
Your vision is clouded right now, and you need someone to talk to who can point you in the right direction.
It's difficult to sort out any underlying issues if you can't see what they are! Talking to someone else lets them give you their perspective, and think of things that you may not have thought of yourself.

Another good technique is almost like a time-out type thing.
When you feel you need to hurt yourself just stop, and tell yourself that you will wait 5 mins (or less if need be), and then think about it after that. After the time has gone by then allow yourself another 5 minutes.
You may find that after a while the feelings will fade and you will have got through it!

IdoItToo Wed 04-May-05 18:51:32

Thanks muscadet

I know it sounds really, really weird but I never really considered it to be a problem. It doesn't affect my marriage or my relationships with others, as they don't see it. My husband has only seen it happen once and his reaction was 'oh grow up! What the f* was that for ?'. Admittedly not helpful, but he doesn't know it is an ongoing thing for me with a long history.

I wish I could 'come out' with this, as I've been very open and honest about everything on MN (messed up childhood etc), but this seems to be my last taboo. Something I just can't talk about, partly because I feel that

a) it is a private matter which has no impact on anyone but me,
b) It's not really that serious (for me, once/twice a month or something),
c) I will just be told to pull myself together and stop being so childish. I'm acutely aware that it is a very toddler-like thing to do when you are frustrated is to bang your head or whatever, which makes me feel more embarrassed by my behaviour and in turn more angry with myself. Vicious circle.

I can't even pin-point a reason for my behaviour, yes I had a messed up childhood (alcoholic father who physically abused my mother in front of me and sexually abused me from a young age), but it doesn't explain why I do it. I know that the way I grew up isn't my fault and I have no conscious feelings of guilt or the need to punish myself either, I just don't know why I do it. I'm a rational, mature adult who refuses to live in the shadow of an iffy past, so why do I have this urge ?

I'm sorry I've rambled on a bit, I'm seen as a bit of a 'coper' in RL and I know that my coping mechanisms aren't great and that I'd be seen as weak and a fake if people knew the truth. This post is all a bit of a jumble and I don't really know what I'm trying to say, but thanks for reading.

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