Explaining Self-Harm Scars to Other People

October 26, 2020 Martyna Halas

Explaining your self-harm scars to others can be uncomfortable. Having your self-harm scars discovered is a bit like being outed against your will. Still, the person who confronts you about your self-injury marks will likely want to know what they are. While you don’t owe anyone an explanation, sometimes it’s hard to avoid this conversation. Here are some of the approaches you can take to explain your self-harm scars to others.

3 Ways to Explain Your Self-Harm Scars

Depending on who is asking about your self-harm scars, you might not always want to give the same explanation. Here are the three ways in which I usually deal with this situation:

  1. Answer truthfully: I believe it’s best to be open and honest about our scars. Avoiding the truth only feeds into the narrative that self-harm is a shameful act. If the person is genuinely concerned or willing to learn, consider telling that person about self-harm.
  2. Find believable excuses: Sometimes, you might not feel like telling the truth. That’s okay; not everyone is confident about their scars, and you should only speak out when you’re ready. In that case, find excuses that look believable, such as a home renovation accident.
  3. Refuse to answer: Finally, if the person asking is rude or disrespectful, don’t feel obliged to tell the truth. You may politely say it’s none of that person's business or even make a humorous remark that deflates the situation.

In this video, I’ll give you examples of the most common answers I typically give to people in different situations. How do you explain your self-harm scars to others? Let me know in the comments.

APA Reference
Halas, M. (2020, October 26). Explaining Self-Harm Scars to Other People, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 17 from

Author: Martyna Halas

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