“Just scratches. Not that bad.”

My husband hadn’t seen my self-harm marks/scars until last night. He had seen them years ago, when I was cutting back then. He hasn’t seen them since I started back up a few months ago. A little while after he had seen them, he told me that they weren’t nearly as bad as he expected. That they were just scratches.

Damn. That comment really made me want to show him the scars on my shoulder, and explain how they weren’t scratches. Go into detail about the depth and the bleeding. Same thing for the ones on my hip. Yeah, he saw scratches. I’ve toned things down. I have changed the tool I use. I can use more force and not have to worry about going too deep. Not to mention it hurts like FUCK. Exactly what I’m looking for.

I know that he was trying to be positive and supportive when he made that comment about them “not being that bad”, but it really made me feel like he was telling me the PAIN I’ve been experiencing really isn’t “that bad”. That if the pain I’ve felt was really intense, my cuts/marks/scratches would show it. It made me want to go into the bathroom, slice open my forearm, and then ask him if it was “that bad”.

I’ve never cut deep enough for stitches. I’ve never had a problem stopping the bleeding after a while, though it’s always been more than just a trickle. Every time I read or hear about someone needing medical attention for their self inflicted injuries, it’s made me feel like I only hurt myself in a half-assed way. I guess I have been believing that if my pain was really bad, I would cut myself really badly. I know that’s fucked up. It’s still how I feel. And the comment my husband made totally made me feel invalidated. It made me think that maybe I’m really not feeling so bad. Maybe I just want to wallow. Maybe nothing’s really wrong. Maybe I’m just toying with a few negative emotions. Maybe it’s all an act.

I know it’s not an act. I know what I’m feeling is real. I know a lot of people feel the depths of what I do and don’t hurt themselves. It doesn’t make THEIR pain inferior to others’. Maybe I’ll feel better with a few more “scratches”.

I feel like I even fail at hurting myself.

Categories: Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, Cutting, Mental Illness, Self Harm, Self-Injury | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on ““Just scratches. Not that bad.”

  1. I can totally understand this situation. It always made me kind of angry when someone told me that an injurie wasn’t that bad. It felt like he challenged me to do better (or worse in that case). I thought I was even unabled to be broken enough or something. I’m happy that at the moment this isn’t part of my life. Wish you all the best. Greets Julie.

  2. Living with BPD

    I know how his comment must have hurt. It must have made you feel like hurting yourself wasn’t really that bad. He should have known not be invalidate you in that way. A comment like that would make me go and cut myself even worse, as if to show him ‘look, it’s bad now!’. Hugs x

  3. Mandi

    I so get this and in an fucked up way it makes me feel more “normal”. Every time someone says “its not that bad” I want to make it MUCH worse so that they’ll see it IS bad. In my mind I always just berated myself for looking for attention but not WANTING it like that. It’s just been one confused bundle in my mind. But you’re right. Saying that “it’s not that bad” means to me “your pain isn’t that bad”. When I see others scars or cuts and see that they’re MUCH worse than mine, I always feel like I must be a complete wus. And I knew that was messed up and didn’t know why I felt that way. I think it’s because I felt like I didn’t have the courage to express how I felt as well as they did. Like a HUGE failure at even THAT.

    (If Lexi reads this, I get it now Lexi! And I’ll probably comment on your page later just in case you don’t!)

    I’m sorry that you felt/feel that way. And everything that I just said was true and I really appreciate you writing about your thoughts because it helped me understand mine. BUT… for me cutting worse didn’t give me what I was looking for. I cut way way worse than I ever had about a month ago. At the time I was just hurting really bad, it was just an impulsive move instead of thought out like some of the other times. I did need stitches and now when I think about it I get sick. I faint when I get my fing blood drawn! I have these scars on my arm that I think will fade more but as of now… aren’t good. I thought I would feel so much better if the scars were worse. But I don’t!

    Anyhow, I know it doesn’t make a difference but I know, and most of the people on here know, that every cut and every scar you have isn’t a scratch it’s pain. A lot of pain. You don’t have to prove it to us. Please be careful!


  4. OMG i totally get what you are saying. When i’ve been to the Dr’s or something and i’m asked to show my self harm, they tell me it’s only a few superficial scratches and it really upsets me. To me it’s not scratches. The half inch wide scar on my leg that you can feel through my jeans wasn’t a scratch! GAH! it’s like their reaction is totally dismissive of your pain. And, when i hear about people needing medical attention for their self harm, i think exactly the same thing as you. It just makes us want to find a way to prove to them that our cuts are more than just scratches. It’s horrible being like this 😦 xx

  5. Satis

    I wrote words so like these, so long ago. There was always someone out there hurting themselves more than me. My own scars (which will never fade, and are impossible to mistake), never felt like they were bad enough.

    It’s such a difficult position to be in; it’s hard for people to understand that they are fueling to very invalidation that can bring us to cut in the first place. It sounds selfish and over-dramatic, but you almost want people to see you and be shocked; to be in awe of your ability to destroy yourself.

    Not to say, “Meh. Could be worse.”

    It doesn’t mean he necessarily doesn’t value you; he perhaps just doesn’t understand.

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