24
Nov
08

Cutting, Self Mutilation And Why It is NOT Glamorous!

 

 

Self-mutilation is the practice of deliberately harming oneself (e.g., cutting, burning, scratching, pulling out hair).

I self mutilate, and I am here to say it is NOT cool. I am so sick of seeing teens blogging and saying “Like OMG I cut myself, watch me bleed!!”. It is not something to brag about, it is not a cool new “fashion statement”. Most people that self mutilate do not brag about it. We do our best to hide what we have done. For me, I cut to relieve the awful tension and pain I am feeling at that certain moment, I feel a release, then I feel horrible guilt. It is definitely not something I want to get online and brag about the next morning.

There are three categories of self mutilation:

  1. Moderate- Moderate consists of cutting, burning, carving and/or stabbing with sharp objects.
  2. Stereotypic- Consists of head-banging, arm biting, etc.
  3. Major self mutilation- This is serious and doesn’t happen often, it involves limb amputation, castration, and other things catastrophic.

My self mutilation unfortunately started when I was a young child. I remember the first time I banged my head, I was probably about 4 years old. I used a knife to cut into myself for the first time when I was the tender age of 8 years old. My self mutilation stems from the horrific sexual/mental/physical abuse at the hands of my “father”. The guilt and anger that comes with it. I was “trained” at a very young age, “Don’t scream, don’t tell”, it was my mantra. It was what I would repeat in my head as I was beaten and raped. *sighs heavily* I would go deep inside myself, the anger boiling, wanting to lash out, but knowing if I did I would be in SO much trouble. The only way I could release the seething anger inside was to cut, to hit my head, to bite myself, stab myself. I had to feel something to know I was still alive. I was thinking of suicide at the age of 6 years old! How pathetic is that? NO 6 year old should be contemplating how to end their life. I attempted suicide for the first time at 8 years old, by stupidly swallowing a huge bottle of aspirin. The only thing I got for my attempt was puking and horrible ringing in my ears for days. That is when I knew I had to do something to release the anger, the pain. So I started to cut, to stab myself with pencils, anything sharp.  I started pulling out wads of my hair, hitting my head on the walls, the floor…anything to feel, to breathe, to be alive. Later I chose the xacto knife as my “weapon” of choice. I have carved words into myself such as: bad, slut, hurt *sigh* I also carved angel wings into myself in my groin area to symbolize that ONE day I would be free of this abuse. I had a “symbol” burned into my arm, one I did NOT want to live with, so I took a zippo lighter, took a deep breath and held it to my arm, watching the skin on my arm bubble and burn. I burned it deeply enough to rid myself of the “symbol”.

I have many scars on my body, not only self inflicted, but inflicted by the sickness that is my “father”. I was ashamed of my body for years, not allowing anyone to see me nude, for fear of them being sickened by me and my scars. I would walk through the hallways at school, wondering if people knew, if they could smell my father on me. GOD it was awful. I got picked on a lot at school as well, I was autistic, shy, abused, quiet and never talked to anyone. So I was labeled the school freak, beat up, pushed around. That also pushed me to cut more, to hurt myself more. I figured somewhere deep inside I deserved the abuse by my father, by the other people. My mind was warped at such a young age. I was brainwashed. I was born into abuse.

I finally sought out therapy in my early 20’s, that is when I was diagnosed with a host of mental problems. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Major Depression, Suicidal Tendencies, Panic Attacks. I have horrible night terrors and flashbacks of my abuse. They say I will continue to have them until I die. I am on medications that do help the panic attacks somewhat, the depression.

I hate self mutilating and have tried to stop so many times. So many times I have sworn I would never do it again, but I get really upset and emotional about something, and bam there I am again, with my blade in hand cutting. I have tried to train myself that if I HAVE to cut, to only do it just enough to release, then STOP. I used to cut myself to shreds and watch myself bleed, feeling totally numb, then the guilt would set in and I would cry until I just couldn’t cry anymore. I cut when I get to the point of madness, when I feel like if I don’t have some sort of release, that I will implode, lose my mind. I will sometimes slam my head or fist into the wall as well, or tug at my hair, pulling some of it out. *sigh*

People who REALLY cut don’t brag about it, we try to hide it the best we can, by wearing long sleeves, never wearing shorts that might show our upper thighs (a typical place to cut). We don’t take pictures of it and post it on the internet. We don’t send out IM’s to our friends telling them all we are cutting. That is someone just wanting attention. It is NOT funny, it is NOT cool, it is NOT the new fad, it is NOT something to tell ALL your friends about.

If you are a REAL cutter, please, talk to someone, get help. Parents, please watch for the signs of self mutilation:

  1. Self isolation
  2. Unwilling to talk about their feelings
  3. Impulsive behaviors
  4. Low energy
  5. Lack of self esteem
  6. Over or under eating
  7. Feelings of hopelessness
  8. Loss of empowerment
  9. No coping skills
  10. Feelings of rejection/not fitting in

If you feel someone you know is cutting, please get them help. If you are someone who cuts, talk to someone, there are people out there who want to help you. Speak to a teacher, a friend, one of your parents. Don’t just keep quiet, don’t do what I did. Don’t keep your feelings and pain inside, don’t scar your body beyond repair. THERE is hope, there is treatment to help you. Don’t be like me.

I have really put myself out here, I feel raw and vulnerable. If you comment on this, remember that please. This WAS NOT easy for me to write, it was not easy to expose myself, but if I can help someone out there, it is worth the pain and anxiety I am feeling, the tears that sting my eyes as I write this. So please, if you comment, be understanding or don’t comment at all.

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7 Responses to “Cutting, Self Mutilation And Why It is NOT Glamorous!”


  1. 1 D
    November 24, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Wow, this took a lot to write this. And it must be inconceivable to most that you are someone who’s lived this to the ultimate. From the years that I’ve known you, I’ve seen everything you speak about and you have never been too far from the third stage: major self-mutilation. I suppose the only thing that’s kept you from doing something terribly catastrophic might be that tiny bit of self-love that you hang to. That, and perhaps a rebellious streak in you that spoke up from your deep despair saying: ‘No ‘dad’, I will not do this..I’ve given you everything else, I will not completely ruin myself because of YOU.’

    I’ve also thought the the cutting was your way of saying, ‘I am in control of who defiles me.’ Sad, but true. Your only way of claiming yourself. After a lifetime of being controlled and abused, something in you could only claim control by showing yourself that in some way, you were responsible for your own pain, and that no matter what anyone did TO you, they couldn’t do it ALL to you, that you could also ‘take the blade in hand’ and control it. Which is why you are also a ‘master’ of pain, and I mean that in the yogic tradition. Yogis and monks have been known to take on intense austerities which require intense amounts of pain, simply so that they can train their minds to rise above the pain. They train their minds to be at peace within chaos, and in this way, they set themselves free. I think you’ve always tried to do this as well. To find peace within the chaos. To find one thing you can call your own, even it means that one thing is self inflicted pain. At least it’s not a pain someone else gave you, victimized you with… it was your own, your choice, your control. Your body.

    What people really do need to know is that this type of behavior is reactionary. We are not born to self-destruct in this manner. Real cutting has to come from real abuse. People don’t cut because they get a bad grade in school, they cut because somewhere along the lines their bodies were no longer theirs, having lost their freedom to some sort of victimization.

    I remember that movie, ‘Secretary’. I remember his take on her cutting. He said something like: “you cut to release the pain inside and then after you bleed out, you watch the scab form.. and that itself gives you a sense of healing.” So, the healing of the cut has redeeming qualities for the cutter. They get to emotionally absorb the idea that they too, like the cut, can be healed.

    I have not cut, myself. Nor have I practiced any kind of body hurting, though I know that I overate and binged terribly because my mother was horrendously abusive with words. I was given the mixed message of: you are a genius, prodigy… you are disgusting and insane. Then, you are the most beautiful girl in the world… you are putrid, stupid and fat. Only skinny will do. Skinny, skinny, skinny. That is what my mother used to say to me. I suppose I rebelled against her requirements by eating and eating. As my best friend Gail would say to me: Food never says no. I ate to take back the control of my body. Unfortunately though, it never stopped my mother from saying the cruelest, most heartless and intentionally abusive words any human has said to another to destroy their character and self esteem. The cutting that I eventually learned to do was to cut her out of my life. I guess, in a way, cutting is a deferred method of doing exactly that: cutting something away. Whether it’s your own flesh, done because your lack of control demands an immediate ‘field’… or the cutting away of the one who controls you. I chose the latter…but then again, I was not physically abused. Only mentally and verbally.

    It’s hard to see that people these days really want that kind of attention. To show off such self hatred doesn’t do any good for anyone… the self hating person can only repel others in the long run. These cutter fakers don’t hate themselves, if they did they wouldn’t be so proud of it. Cutting is about self hatred. Self love doesn’t allow that kind of destruction to the body. For those who fake this kind of thing, it’s just the new version of ‘being bad’. Hey, if wearing black clothes still had the same power that it did at one point in time, maybe they’d stick to that for their ‘bad to the bone’ attitude. But now, the world is looking for the more subversive ideas.. and what is taboo will always be number one. And what is taboo, the ultimate taboo is always ‘blood’. Blood is even more taboo than sexual deviance. So… if they want to get attention, why bother talking about what a kinky fuck you are, just go for the blood show, the talking about it should raise enough eyebrows and get these little assholes some attention. And it’s like you say when you refer to that horrible mantra, “Don’t scream, don’t tell” – that’s exactly it…and in this it never deviates: abuse feels shameful. It’s always secretive. It’s always about not telling, keeping it in… and that is how cutting is too… it’s a shame-filled experience. You don’t tell. And the scream IS the cutting. That’s how you scream, because you have to. You have to scream when you are raped and tortured and abused beyond all human capacity… but if you’re taught that if you scream your whole family will be tortured and killed and that your own pain hasn’t even BEGUN yet.. then you shut up and you keep that scream in until you…just…rip… into… whatever… you ….can…
    and that’s what cutting is.

    God Bless you my sweet, sweet husband. You are the strongest and most complicated person I have ever known… yet through it all, you are the pinnacle of kindness, of heartfilled beauty and love. For all those who have truly been abused and tortured by family members or otherwise… you are a savior to all of them because you have found your voice, and you speak.

    I love you, always have and always will. You deserve greatness, happiness, health and most of all… PEACE. I love you forever.

  2. 2 D
    November 24, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    You know, I would imagine that some folks would think I’m some sort of sick enabler. They might think, ‘why doesn’t she stop him? What kind of sick shit is she?’ Well, the truth is that of course I’d love to see you as mentally healthy as possible because I only want your happiness…but I also see the complexity of your abuse and it’s affect on you. It’s just not simple stuff. It took me time to grasp this concept, the idea of your cutting to release and it’s necessity in your life. And I too, tried to extract promises from you that you would never cut again… but this kind of thinking became a learning lesson for me too. And that lesson was that our problems are unique to us. Individually we need to master our own worlds and that ‘advice’, though potentially good is still a consequence of another person’s experience.

    I cannot judge you because I am NOT you. Only you are you. And in loving you, really LOVING YOU as I do, I’ve crossed boundaries of compassion that I myself never even conceived of having. The sadness of your life was so overwhelming to me, yet it brought out the best in me as well, and that ‘best’ contained a compassion that held a place for what you needed to do in order to cope. And that was cutting.

    Expression, whether it is blood or words… is like exhaling. We take in. We need to let out. Blogging is like cutting…the positive difference is in the fact that a blog may reach someone and touch them, possibly even effecting them for change. After all, it was through a blog that I met YOU, I saw what you wrote about having cancer, thought you were amazingly brave for writing about what I myself couldn’t do… and before long, I came to terms with my own cancer and survivorship. You changed my life long ago with your bravery in words, honey. You will change someone else’s life with these.

    Once again.. God Bless You. I love you.

  3. 3 V
    November 24, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Oh thank you baby, I am crying now because of your comment. I know you are one of the FEW that do understand what I am going through, what I have been through my whole life. You don’t condemn me for my self destructive behavior, you try to support me and love me in spite of the things I do. I really don’t know what I would do without you in my life. You are my confidante and you know more about my abuses than anyone. I trust you so much. You are so right about the control, I can control this pain myself, I can rise above it. I can SCREAM silently. I am sure any regular person will never understand, they will never understand why I didn’t TELL, why I let it go on, they will never understand what is like to be born into abuse, to be so warped and brainwashed that “Don’t scream, don’t tell”, is the only thing I know, and yes, being told that if you tell, your mother will be hurt or killed, your baby sisters, your best friends. You believe it. Remember Frisky. *sigh* That taught me to NEVER tell. I never had a voice, only a silent scream, seething rage inside. Now, thanks to this blog, I CAN have a voice, and I plan to use it whether people understand me or not. I love you…thank you for everything you do for me.

  4. 4 thespecialk
    November 24, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    You were right when you warned me this blog would hurt. I am crying. Oh Alex, I am so sorry. All those years we have been friends, I knew it was more than just an occasional *beating* by your dad. We were both in the same boat and too scared to tell each other. My abuse was bad, but I know nothing can compare to what your dad did to you. I remember many times seeing things with you that hurt me so bad, I was young like you and powerless. I wanted to save you, I wanted to save me, but I was never a fighter like you. I am meek, I don’t have the physical strength you have. I don’t even think I have the mental strength you have. You have protected me from so many things, so many people. I owe you so much Alex. That is why I don’t berate you for cutting. Like Dori, I wish you wouldn’t, I wish you could be happy all the time, but the sad fact is you can’t. You are haunted by the abuse, the feeling of not having control. I know how that feels too. I remember when my dad would do things to me, molest me, hit me, I felt like my world was going to just explode. I am lucky I guess that I am not suffering as much as you are. I don’t know why some peoples minds tear apart and some don’t. You know I have occasional nightmares, I cry sometimes over lost childhood years, but I don’t cut, or feel the need to control my surroundings, I don’t feel the anger you do. I don’t have a heart and head full of rage. I can’t say that I know what that feels like. I wish I could take some of your anger. Just so you would feel better. Just remember Alex, you can always tell me everything, I won’t judge you, I never have. I only love you, in spite of anything that you have done or will do. Nothing will ever tear you and I apart. Nothing. Just remember that. Also remember that no matter what your dad did to you, he couldn’t break that beautiful heart of yours. You are one of the kindest people I know, so loving and so beautiful. He will never be able to touch that.

  5. 5 mile191
    November 24, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    v.

    thanks for reading me. i left you a comment on my blog and then i figured out how to create an account here so that i can leave you comments here. i hope you will write more, anything you need to. i am here if you need me. i really appreciate your comments. it is nice to have someone there who knows and relates to how you feel. you write really well. i know you have a talent in writing and in sharing how you feel. it is hard to read, but worthwhile on my journey to heal. i will check on you. thanks, take care.

  6. 6 butterflysblog
    December 23, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Hi V,

    Every day I read some more of your blog, and then I am so fucked up by it, I have to talk it through with my husband. I read your cutting post, and I am saddened by the fuck that is your ‘father’, and again saddened that you are dealing with the pain by inflicting more pain on yourself. As a cutter, I of course understand the phenomenon. But it still saddens me to hear about someone else cutting.

    I was thinking about you though, and I came upon a thought. What is wonderful about you is that you are writing. You are using this blog as a tool for healing, for yourself, and a tool to help others heal. There is no reason, no justice in what has happened to you. Yet you do good with your life, because you are inherently a good person. No one can take that away from you, because your light shines too brightly for this.

    – Butterfly
    http://www.reasonsyoushouldntfuckkids.wordpress.com


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