The Flood Gates

I feel as though I've opened the flood gates. There's no stopping it now. You can't push it all back in.


Last night my session with A focused strictly on my SI behaviors. Although it was easier to discuss today, I was still shaking the whole time. I read her what I wrote about my cutting and was really worried about what she was going to say because I know how she feels about it. She doesn't approve. Nor do I expect her to on a professional level. But just thinking about her disapproval makes it all the more hard to talk about. It's part of the reason why I've never allowed deep discussion about it.

I have always had SI behaviors as part of my coping mechanisms, even before my parents divorce and the abuse. Around the age of 6, I started showing signs of trichotillamania and by age 7 I was completely devoid of all eyelashes and eyebrows. Couldn't tell you why I did it. I just remember thinking "Hmmm, I think I'll rip out all my hair tonight!" That became my way to cope with stress. It got really bad during my pre-teen/teenage years and was basically the only way I dealt with anything. That pain/sensation was my release. I still do it now, at times unconsciously. Sitting watching TV or on the phone. I don't even realize it. It's more of a bad habit now than a coping mechanism.

I mentioned this to A, one because I wasn't sure that I ever had, and two because I thought it pertained to me trying to explain to her my experience with SI. It's not a bad thing to me. It's something to help me feel better.

"I never had people telling me as a kid, "You better stop pulling out your hair. It is an unhealthy coping mechanism!" I don't know why this is any different. It's not jeopardizing my well-being."

At some point I got really frustrated and upset with the course of our conversations that I stopped talking. A looked at me and asked:

"What are you afraid of?" (as fear is what stops me from talking)

I had to stop and think... I wasn't really sure. It took me a while to figure out exactly what it was.

"I'm afraid of being pressured into giving this up when I'm not ready. I'm afraid that you are disappointed in me."

I don't think she was expecting that. The look on her face changed. Her response is not what I was expecting either.

"I am NOT disappointed in you. I don't think I could ever be disappointed in you. We are having this discussion because I'm concerned for you. That is what you deserve. That is something you didn't ever get, even when you broadcast your SI as a small child. I am doing this out of love and concern, not anger and disappointment."

And I believe her. I just would have never thought that was why she would not let the topic go.

We are both at somewhat of an impasse in getting past this. I am not ready to change this aspect of my life. She is not ever going to approve and say it is OK for me to continue cutting when she can offer so many other options that do not have the risk (however extreme and improbable) of accidental death. I have a lot of respect for her in standing her ground even though it is not what I want to hear. It presents an interesting dynamic in our relationship as I have never blatantly disregarded what she has said and offered to me for healing. Again, I feel as if I am letting her down. It's my fault I haven't learned enough from her to be able to get past this. It's my fault that I won't let this go. I'm an awful person for not doing what she says I should do, etc, etc.

I wish I could go back in time and not allow discussion of this topic. I wish I could close those flood gates.


Harriet said...
February 17, 2010 at 8:50 PM

I'm sorry that your t expresses such strong disapproval of your SI. I don't think I would be able to even talk about my SI behavior with my T if he felt that way about it. It must be very difficult for you and I admire your ability to move past that discomfort and confront it with her.

Anonymous said...
February 17, 2010 at 9:23 PM

I am not familiar with all of your terminology on this matter, but I used to pull out my hair too. I liked to punch myself really hard in the head too. I also cut all of my eyelashes off when I was six. I never met anyone else that did it. Thanks for talking about it here. Sometimes I wonder why I never cut myself, or maybe I did and I just don't remember. I have a hard time believing that your counselor is disappointed in you, honey. Our perception as survivors of abuse can be distorted at times. We carry around so much shame and guilt we always think everyone is judging us. I will say a prayer for tonight, it gets better, it really does. I have walked through the fire like you are now, and I have come through the other side. It is possible. God Bless.

Grace said...
February 17, 2010 at 10:36 PM

Lily, I am not in a position to even know what to say to help you right now...but I do want you to know that I'm here, reading - and I hear you - and I understand your pain.
And thank you so much for your comments. Your words of support mean so much to me.
(safe hugs) ~ Grace

Bernie said...
February 18, 2010 at 12:05 AM

i didn't get the impression that your t is disappointed in you, I think you are very sensitive to her feelings. You sound like a very kind and caring young lady and I am wishing you much health and happiness. This journey you are on is a difficult one but in order to be healthy it must be done.....I will keep you in my prayers......:-) Hugs

Anonymous said...
February 18, 2010 at 1:53 AM

I thought SI was normal for me until I started therapy and found out otherwise. Maybe because like you I started at a early age.

I am also reluctant to discuss this at therapy and will usually change the subject.

I don't think it is your fault and I don't think you are awful for not being ready. I think that it's great that your T let you know of her concern.

Anonymous said...
February 18, 2010 at 5:11 AM

It sounds to me that you feel so much shame about the SI.....but aren't ready to stop. I get that. You will stop when you are ready. I understand your T's concern, but I also know that you can't give it up yet. Just want you to know I accept you even with that behavior. You are not a bad person and I am not dissapointed in you. You will give it up when you are ready, sweetie.

Thank you so much for your enoouraging comments on my blog. I look forward to reading them.

P.S. Just want to tell you I think you are very insightful and are growing from what I read. It took alot of courage to tell your t the truth. You are finding your voice and that is great.

BLessings and Hugs,

Just Be Real said...
February 18, 2010 at 7:50 AM

Dear one all I can say is that you cannot rush the process. Gosh, no I could never be disappointed in you. We have so much relateable things in our lives, I do understand. All in time. As you continue to heal God will show you new things and help you along. You take your time. Do not feel pressure. SI is still an avenue

sarah said...
February 18, 2010 at 11:31 AM

Hey Lily, disappointment by anyone never worked for me...nor did pressure or behaviour mod. The only thing that worked was total acceptance of who I was and feeling safe...feeling safe allowed me to slowly let go of the si. You will too in time. It's a coping strategy...something I know that kept me alive.
Like Tammy...I totally accept you behaviour and all...and nothing you can do will ever make you unworthy, unacceptable....You are the best... know're a gift. One won't hurt yourself anymore. For now...if you need to, that's just where you're at. Always in your corner...always believing in you. Stay strong and safe. Sarah

Marj aka Thriver said...
February 18, 2010 at 5:03 PM

Nice to hear that you had a much-needed and deserved four-day weekend. The whole SI subject is such a tough one, isn't it? I'm so glad that your T is not disapproving or disappointed in you. Instead,you have her genuine concern. It makes me so angry that your parents didn't see your distress and get you help for it when you were a kid. Grrrrr!

I wish I had some answers. (((((((Lily))))))) safe hugs, dear.

Colleen said...
February 18, 2010 at 8:20 PM

It is not your fault. You are not an awful person. Your t cares about you. Listen to what she said, keep those words to read over and over again. She said she could never be disappointed in you. Someday you will trust in that. Hugs.

Just Be Real said...
February 21, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Lily, dropping by to send you some ((((Lily))))).

Catherine said...
February 22, 2010 at 12:04 PM


I have had issues with cutting as well. I just want to let you know that you are loved, that you are important, that you are not bad, or in trouble. We love you and are here for you.

I hope you are doing ok.

Love, Catherine