Sunday, July 25, 2004

WHY is it bad?????

WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY  WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY

"Cutting is bad"   "Don't cut yourself!" 

EXPLAIN!
WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY

You tell me it's bad.  You say it's unhealthy.  That's the closest to an expliantion I've ever gotten.  Not good enough.  WHY is it bad?  I just don't understand. 
Maybe if I really understood why it's so "Bad" it'd be easier not to do it.  IT HELPS!  WHY DOESN'T ANYONE UNDERSTAND THAT?!  It relieves the pressure that builds up inside.  It makes it easier to be in control.  It slows us down when nothing else does.  It makes us alive when we're just barely existing so WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY is it BAD?! 

PLEASE MAKE ME UNDERSTAND!

2 comments:

oakling said...

oh oh! i can answer this!
whether or not i'm answering it "right" is another question.
but i can offer some ideas....

My first thought is that cutting is "bad" because it's self-abuse. I know that's sort of a tautology. (look! I pipelinked!)

But here's the thing. When we abuse ourselves, we're basically making SURE that we will keep on being abused. Even if right at that moment nobody's yelling at us, beating us, raping us, or whatever. We're filling in for them by hurting ourselves.

And we're keeping ourselves from healing and from joy by continuing the abuse.

And we're reinforcing every bad thing that they ever taught us about ourselves by continuing the abuse. Because when we're abused, one of the things we learn is that we're bad and we deserve to be hurt. Even if we know intellectually that that's REALLY not true, it's really, really, really hard to get rid of it on a gut level. Hurting ourselves is a way of telling ourselves that they're right about us.

And we're choosing the abuse. Those moments when we're alone, when there's no one there who's actively abusing us, are really crucial. As an adult, you finally have a choice about whether to be abused or not, but it's really hard to make that choice when it involves money and school and living and healthcare and changing everything in your life with, often, no outside help and people being really abusive to you about it. But those moments when you're alone are a tiny version of that. They're where freedom starts. When you choose to use that time to do something really nurturing or loving or nice for yourself, you're opening the door to a lot more nurturing nice loving things in your life. You're letting yourself see what else there is in the universe for you. And when you use that time to cut, you're telling yourself that this is what else there is for you. And you're letting yourself know that even if you got away from your abusive family, you would still have an abuser in your life: yourself.

Oh I have another one - as someone who is multiple, I also have had to learn that self-abusing is a really bad idea because it doesn't just affect me. It terrifies and traps other people in here who don't want to cut or to come out in a body that's being hurt in some way. It's not really fair to them, and it *really* doesn't lead to any kind of harmony and working together in the system. Because people just go "why should I do things they way you want? You're scary and you hurt me!" It depends on the dynamics inside, of course.

But it's not enough to talk about why you "shouldn't" do it - because there are still all the reasons that you DO do it. And those are really important too.

My experience with hurting myself - by cutting, by hitting myself, by not eating when I'm hungry, by never cleaning anything and living in a scary mess, et cetera, et cetera - and from talking to other people who self-abuse, and reading things they write - is that it does do everything you say. It relieves the pressure inside, because you're trapped in a house full of abusive people, or because you've internalized everything they say about you, or because - most of all - you have tons of scary feelings that it's never been safe to experience and tons of scary experiences that you haven't been able to deal with all compressed inside of you like a powderkeg and you have to express all that pain SOMEHOW.

And that makes it easier to be in control, because... if I can be the one who hurts myself, who decides when and how I get hurt, then I'm in control, right? I can be in control of anything that way! And if people in here are getting all chaotic and trying to get their own needs met or freaking out or something, then self-injuring shows them that this isn't a safe place for them to do that, or makes things so much like any other kind of abuse that everyone just goes away. It triggers the dissociation which is our survival tool.

And from the looks of things, you're not living in a place where it's safe to be LIVING - you can only (if you're lucky) be SURVIVING.

I know the feeling of needing to be slowed down, and nothing helping. For me, it comes from all those repressed jammed-up scary feelings, from being triggered somehow and having all these things come out, and not having any way of dealing with it or feeling it safely.

Cutting isn't safe, because it can lead to infections, it can get you 5150'ed, someone can freak out and cut too deeply or go for an artery... I've had to take people to the hospital (not inside people, outside ones who aren't me :) *many* times because someone cut so many times or so badly or "slipped"... and that's no good. Especially when you get checked in somewhere where they can't help you or are fucked up to you.

I mean, it's also not a safe way to deal with emotions, because it just jams them back down again so that this *will* keep happening.

And it does make people feel alive instead of barely existing. I used to self-injure a lot more than I do, but I wasn't a big cutter; the one time that I cut that I can remember, it was because I had triggered myself so badly that I couldn't feel anything or move. And finally I thought of cutting, both to make myself be able to feel things again and also because I had said something that really upset my roommate and that's what had triggered me (since growing up, I was used to pretty extreme punishment for upsetting people) and I thought, somehow, that if I showed him that I knew how bad I had been then he wouldn't punish me. And I know that he, too, used to cut because he couldn't feel anything. A lot of people do that, cut to make themselves feel alive. But do you really want to live in such a way that feeling alive and feeling pain are the same thing?

Okay, that's all my reasons. It perpetuates the outside abuse even when our abusers aren't there, keeps us from safety and healing and joy, tells us that our abusers are right and that we're bad which is not true, makes sure the abuse will continue by turning us into our own abusers, keeps us in survival mode, fucks up the whole system (turning us into abusers again, but this time of other people), triggers our dissociation, keeps us in survival mode, can lead to infections or 5150s, ensures future self-injury because the feelings that cause it are still being jammed up inside, and makes it seem like life has to equal pain.

That was a lot more reasons than I thought I had come up with.

Okay, here's the other thing. YOU are NOT BAD FOR CUTTING.

I think it would be really easy to read all of the stuff I just wrote and feel worse about yourself for cutting. Which is probably just going to make you want to cut!

I want you to know that even though I can rattle off eleven reasons not to cut, I don't think that you're bad for cutting. I think that cutting is a TOTALLY REASONABLE reaction to abuse. *Especially* since you're *still in an abusive situation.*

It is bound to be very, very difficult for you to stop self-abusing as long as you're in this situation. That doesn't mean you can't try to stop, if you want to. And it does seem like you want to - it seems like it's just very painful and hard for you to stop or to understand why.

(i want to point out, by the way, that I didn't say "you should stop because it hurts your friends to see you hurt yourself." yeah yeah yeah. i'm sure it does, but you have good friends here who support you and who are more than capable of dealing with it in whatever way they think is best. and more importantly, stopping has to be something you do for yourself. it doesn't work very well, in my experience, to do things or stop doing things for other people. and it doesn't feel as good as living your own life for yourself!)

Anyway... The thing that's really helped me deal with the ways in which I self-abuse has been 12-step groups like Survivors of Incest Anonymous and Debtors Anonymous. I'm in others too, but those two are really good for these issues. SIA has helped me get a lot of clarity about what abuse I've been through and what effect it's had on my life, and to be able to choose not to be abused anymore. And, much more importantly, to figure OUT how to stop being abused... like, how to deal with quitting an emotionally abusive job that I had, or how to figure out how much time I can spend with my family, or how to tell my dad that I can't spend time with him anymore. And to accept and love myself, which is really important. And on and on. Debtors Anonymous isn't just for people in debt - it's just generally for anyone who has problems with time and money. Both of them have a really big emphasis on self-care; people around here actually say that sobriety in SIA is self-care. (Like how sobriety in AA would be "not drinking.") DA has helped me understand where my money goes (since normally, I just spend whatever I have till it's gone, or get overdrawn because I don't know how much is where) and, especially, they both helped me get the self-esteem and trust and safety and everything that I needed to be able to look for work and get a job. (okay, I don't have a full-time job yet - I just have people who really want to hire me and are taking a very long time in sorting out everything they need to do that! But that's huge, after three years of unemployment and short temp jobs and abusive part-time jobs....)

I can't say that I don't self-abuse anymore, but I can say that I'm down to the really hard-to-get stuff like eating when I'm hungry and eating enough, and living in clutter... those are my two big ones now. I'm even working on not thinking bad things about myself or yelling at myself in my head anymore, which is huge. I get to live in reality, finally, instead of some kind of fucked-up house-of-mirrors thing where my abusers created their own reality and used it to hurt me for years. I can actually see what's going on around me and trust my own perceptions, too, which is really amazing. A lot of the time, anyway! ;-)

so I hope this INCREDIBLY LONG COMMENT helped and that something in here made sense. if you have questions or anything, tell me! i can talk about this stuff for hours ;-)

you know me on e2... i'm also fabglitter on aim if you ever want to talk.

Skybluefusion said...

WOW. I've never had anyone truly explain SI to me. Thank you. You really made me think. This has helped a lot. I look forward to talking to you more. :)

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