Self-injury, maybe triggering

rileyk86

Registrant
Has anyone ever hurt themselves on purpose since after your sexual abuse? It's a common problem with women who were sexually abused but I don't hear much about it from men. I don't hurt myself anymore. But I did from ages 9 to 20.
 
I started doing it when childhood memories of the abuse began to surface. It was hard to stop, but after maybe 10 years of self-harm, I haven't done it for maybe 5 years. I still get the urge sometimes, and what keeps me from giving in is the fear that if I do it even just once, I'll fall back to where I was before, when it was habitual and I did it every day.
 
It's common. You don't hear about it from men because men don't talk about it, since men aren't supposed to be able to be abused at all (which, of course, is bullshit, but that's the message society gives us).

We probably use substance abuse as our most common form of self-injury. But no doubt there are plenty of men who hurt themselves and keep it a secret, not least because it's a form of self-injury that everyone associates with women.
 

rileyk86

Registrant
Yeah I hear, ya. Men aren't supposed to be able to be abused. Neither are boys I guess. Sigh.. thanks for the response guys. As for subtance abuse, I'm an alcoholic, so there's that. But I haven't drank in 8 years. I still get the urge to cut myself but I haven't in 13 years. I've known a lot of girls who self harm but never and guys
 
Copying part of something I wrote in the Male Survivors forum...

...when I recognized my memories of abuse, 19 years after it happened, I started hurting myself in my genitals. The reasons are complicated. There is some self punishment there, sometimes. What therapy helped me see, though, was that it was also just an unhealthy coping method for intense negative feelings. If I was angry, anxious or even sad, self-harm was a way to replace the painful emotions with the more manageable physical pain.

For that to work, though, I had to make sure the physical piston was intense. And even then, it still faded and the emotional pain was still there. So I'd try again. I didn't understand this was the cycle, I was just doing something very painful that made no sense.

It's terrible, and yet for years I couldn't stop. Sometimes I've almost passed out.

I'm better now. Therapists helped. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helped a great deal, giving me practice in better ways of dealing with painful emotions and helping me learn self care.

I haven't hurt myself for years, but my thoughts still scare me sometimes. The urge still comes back, but I fear if I let myself do it just once, I will fall back to the dark, painful addictive patterns of before.

I used to think if I recovered from CSA, the urge to self-harm would go away., but recovery happened the other way around. Only when I stopped hurting myself could I start to heal from my memories.

I've often wondered if I was the only person and wished I could find others to share with in this way, but not until your thread did I see others here, so thanks for that. Having said that, many of the general self-harm resources online can be helpful; they often written to help people regardless of the many ways people self harm.
 

Alostman

Registrant
It's common. You don't hear about it from men because men don't talk about it, since men aren't supposed to be able to be abused at all (which, of course, is bullshit, but that's the message society gives us).

We probably use substance abuse as our most common form of self-injury. But no doubt there are plenty of men who hurt themselves and keep it a secret, not least because it's a form of self-injury that everyone associates with women.
Totally agree. Men rarely talk about the things they do, even when men need help they don't act like it. The suicide studies show this clearly, women threaten suicide, while men just commit suicide and nobody knew they were depressed.

The pedophile that abused me, one of his victims did what men do. He self medicated by using drugs and died of an overdose, he never told anyone about the abuse like me, and it ate him up, yet society tells women that they are victims.

Yes I have issues with women, it may have something to do with the fact that every TV show talks about how much they are victims, when it is a complete lie. Growing up, TV made men out to be weak and stupid while simultaneously saying that men are evil, which is it? Are we weak and stupid or are we evil?

Sorry about this long ramble Strangeways post made me think of all this.
 
Thanks Chad for the link to those podcasts. I'd not been aware of them and will definitely check them out.
 
a lot of my "self discovery" stage in college and later, as I have mentioned elsewhere, involved acting out bdsm scenarios with myself, including inflicting self-pain (I will spare you the details, but it was nothing permanent). I realize now that, for me, it was reenactment of the CSA that I had blocked out (some I didn't remember until May 2019).
 

Ferguson

Registrant
Yes - self harmed for years without anyone knowing. None of the damage would have been visible if all I had on was shorts. It got really bad before it got better. Generally stopped now but there are a few moments when I want to.

Pleased it stopped for you at 20 RileyK86
 
There is some self punishment there, sometimes. What therapy helped me see, though, was that it was also just an unhealthy coping method for intense negative feelings. If I was angry, anxious or even sad, self-harm was a way to replace the painful emotions with the more manageable physical pain.

For that to work, though, I had to make sure the physical piston was intense. And even then, it still faded and the emotional pain was still there. So I'd try again. I didn't understand this was the cycle, I was just doing something very painful that made no sense.
That’s exactly how I would’ve put it as well. I’ve struggled with cutting for years, ever since the first memories came back. Reasons have varied, from choosing intense physical pain over emotional, at least for a short time, to just feeling like I needed to destroy part of me because I deserved it. Recently, it was the only mechanism that could snap me out of emotional flashbacks.

It’s a hard thing to talk about for me because most people’s reactions have been overreacting. I don’t blame them - it can be really startling and scary for them, mainly BECAUSE it isn’t as commonly discussed as it should be. (And most people think it is a warning sign of suicide, which for many who self-harm, is not the intent.) I’ve cut in both visible and covered up areas, and now I’m used to people seeing the older scars. It’s been a few months though since I’ve done it, hugely because I started realizing that it was becoming a less effective coping behavior for me.

I’m glad some of y’all here have been able to be free from it in the past few years. I hope that continues as we all find healthier and more sustainable ways to heal.
 
So sorry folks have needed to hurt themselves and grateful you're able to talk about it here. We heal only when we tell our truth... no more hiding, no more facing the pain alone. Conversations like this are at once deeply sad and wonderfully liberating. Let's do this work and claim our lives, the lives in which we don't need to harm ourselves any longer. I believe we can do that.
 

TJ jeff

Moderator
I first read this thread a few weeks ago and meant to add a "me too" but somehow didn't - I wish it had ended for me - and yet it hasn't - though I don't do hurtful things near as much as I used to years ago - so I guess that is progress - and yet this thread has shown me that there is indeed still work to be done

I know that for me it is a centered anger at my own genitals - instilled in me by the actions of my uncle (and sadly has been brought back to the surface as of lately by the actions of my wife) - nothing I've ever done could be seen outside of my underwear - even the wife doesn't have a clue - and sadly she is not someone that I can talk about it with (she tries to be supportive of my past - and yet in some ways she has made some problems worse because there is some things she doesn't understand and doesn't want to understand...
 
There are a lot of things going on in my mind about this, and one quote I understand in my way.

@TJ jeff "she has made some problems worse because there is some things she doesn't understand and doesn't want to understand... "

What you wrote, and some of what you inferred in your opening sentence hit pretty hard toward the same words that have had decades of residence in my mind.

When my mind is on topics like this, the word soup is stirring, and writing seems like watching cement dry. Maybe quick drying?

There has been a part of me, and it's hard to see clearly that it's me; it wants to push anger up and I want to push it down.

There's embarrassment when I sense anger in me, like I don't deserve my anger, or maybe that if I let it out, I'll be worse off? Like guilt, and regret that it would be overblown on my part? Though, perceived threats in my past could surge a primal anger in me. I have no skills, and my anger is futile, and that's embarrassing too. I think my self harm has been mental and emotional, or when I did, I might drink a bit too much and suffer for it.

When I was 15, I did some things that I can still see in my flesh. I wanted to have someone notice the depth of my pain, to just say anything that showed an interest in me without manipulation, sex, or bullying behind it. I couldn't give into sex, it was impossible for me to do, impossible. There was the one time I had no choice.

Well, I'm going nowhere fast.
 
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