Something minor happened today which left me feeling like I wanted to cut myself. The event itself doesn’t feel important now; what I am more interested in is how quickly and automatically I jumped to self harming as a possible solution.
(I feel like I am at a stage where I can manage the low/moderate urges pretty effectively, so it’s not like I wasn’t safe or anything. I was actually pretty effective in how I went about the next few hours, despite wanting to physically attack (either her or myself!) for a while.)
So, I was very mindful of the thoughts and urges I was experiencing, and was even able to start thinking about what was going on for me with curiosity and distance as opposed to impulsivity and willfulness.
My thinking amounted to a realisation I have had before: that if someone hurts me, upsets me, shames me or angers me, I end up wanting to hurt myself in order to punish them for their wrongdoings.
I think that generally I really struggle with anger and it’s much easier for me to turn it in on myself as opposed to onto other people – even the person who has provoked it. So one way of getting back at them is by attacking myself. Make total sense, right? 😉
These instances are absolutely not the number one trigger for me to want to harm myself, but when I do feel this way, it is a clear indirect mode of communication – to both myself and the other person. I think during these times, what I’m really meaning to say is something like this:
“Fuck you for hurting me. How dare you shame/ anger/ upset me. How dare you have that power over my world. If you think you can get to me, look how much worse I can get to myself. I can hurt myself (physically) far worse than you will ever be able to hurt me (emotionally). I will show you how much you hurt me and then you will suffer. Then you will see what you have done and why you should listen to my needs – so that I don’t have to show you so tangibly. I am the one in control here. And now it is your turn to feel the helplessness and powerlessness you inflicted upon me. And I on the other hand will feel liberated.”
Edit: ironically, this applies when the person has absolutely no idea that I have engaged in any behaviour, let alone that I am hurt or struggling because of them. The only people I ever told (and very indirectly at that, or they found out via other more dramatic means) were my therapists/ people on my treatment team. Then it really did apply. I will give an example later.