Opening Up to Loved Ones About Self-Harm: Facing Those Fears
Monday, February 24 2014 Jennifer Aline Graham
It has always been difficult to face my fears and discuss my self-harm with loved ones. Even after five years without an intentional mark, I still fear opening up to family members and friends about it. When speaking to health classes, I find it much easier to bring forward my experiences with self-harm and suicide. However, when it comes to one-on-one conversations, I tend to freeze.
How come it is so difficult to talk to loved ones about our experiences with self-harm?
Disappointment and Misunderstanding
One of the main reasons I find it difficult to talk about my past with those closest to me is that I fear my actions have disappointed them. I think a lot of those struggling to overcome self-harm feel the same way. Why people self-injure is a topic that so many people have a hard time comprehending and even those who care the most may not understand, even if they say they do.
Some of the fear comes with the scars. Once those close to you notice them, they may wonder if marks were made because of something they did or something they said. Even though I only have a few visible marks that have lasted over the years, I hate the idea of people staring and looking for them. I wear bracelets mainly because it has become my safety blanket and if people start to stare with the intention of finding scars, my anxiety grows.
I think these are typical fears that self-harmers have when it comes to disclosing their struggles to others. The question remains: how can we move past these fears to a comfortable place?
Baby Steps Towards Opening Up to Others about Self-Harm
By writing this blog and talking to classes about self-harm, I have become a little bit braver when opening up about my past. However, I still have yet to find comfort when speaking to family members and loved ones about the topic. Even though I have a great, supportive circle of friends and family, these fears still linger.
It takes time to find that place of comfort where you can openly speak about your past. You need to look into a more positive place and focus on how far you have come and where you are now. If you’re still overcoming self-harm, realize you are on a road to recovery and if you have loved ones who really care, they will support that journey.
Opening up is hard, but we all have the strength inside of us to share our scary experiences with the ones we love. It takes believing in ourselves and baby steps to discover the success we know we can reach.