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Abuse, ptsd and hair cut

Rachel541

New Here
Hi,

My long hair was used as part of the abuse. I don't want to go into the details as it's difficult. I am now part way through therapy I want to cut my hair short. Has anyone else had this experience before or have any advice? I don't like looking at my hair.
 
I've had a similar experience, in that I'm a trans man who was forced to look feminine by my family for years. I had this long, beautiful hair that my family begged me not to cut no matter what, and strangers would also come up to me in public and say the same thing, so I felt a lot of guilt for wanting it cut.

Getting it cut was nerve wracking, but I just had someone (my close friend) do it and then he held it in front of me. Surreal moment. It felt like he was showing me my own severed hand, honestly, but right after that it was incredibly freeing.

I think if I had no friend, I would have eventually just shaved it off.

I picked a common hair style that's been particularly popular this decade, rather than trying to worry about the perfect haircut. I got something that I think is called an under cut?

I hope this is helpful even somewhat, good luck 🍀
 
I've had a similar experience, in that I'm a trans man who was forced to look feminine by my family for years. I had this long, beautiful hair that my family begged me not to cut no matter what, and strangers would also come up to me in public and say the same thing, so I felt a lot of guilt for wanting it cut.

Getting it cut was nerve wracking, but I just had someone (my close friend) do it and then he held it in front of me. Surreal moment. It felt like he was showing me my own severed hand, honestly, but right after that it was incredibly freeing.

I think if I had no friend, I would have eventually just shaved it off.

I picked a common hair style that's been particularly popular this decade, rather than trying to worry about the perfect haircut. I got something that I think is called an under cut?

I hope this is helpful even somewhat, good luck 🍀
Yeah it is. Thanks so much for opening up about your own hair. I don't feel so crazy now and that it can be a freeing experience. Gives me confidence that I'm not alone.
 
ah. . . girl hair. . . methinks the entire world is insane for a woman's hair. if ya wanna bring a man down in a single blow, you hit him with a girl joke. if you want to bring a woman down, you give her a bad haircut. proof available.

i've been shaving my head whenever the whimsy hits since 1995. the public reactions i get are quite amusing but tediously consistent. no, dear, my tits didn't fall off when i shaved my head. in my recovery from child sex trafficking, i have found tremendous healing relief in letting go of all that hype and experiencing a well-published secret for myself. did you know that even lady hair grows? we aren't barbie dolls whose hair remains unchanged for their entire life span.

the new mulan with actors in place of the cartoons was a great movie. the main actor has hair long and lustrous enough to make her the envy of any beauty parlor. it never even gets in the way of her masterful kung fu moves.
 
My hair and my clothing style eventually became mine. The further you go in therapy the more you realize what was taken from you or tainted is now yours to take back, where possible. Control of presentation of oneself was huge as a part of my abuse. I’m good with my hair now. Clothing causes me a great deal of stress in some settings. Oddly a new thing is developing and that is the ability to be curious of others choices as opposed to feeling like I need to conform to them. I’m in a very nonjudgmental church right now. They dress to the nines. I have been developing my own nine. It is pretty far off from what I view as their nine. But that is the key point. Since I’m in a nonjudgmental setting privately assessing my ability to fit in, I’m realizing that I now own my own assessment of myself and my nine. In the same way I have learned to listen to my body I have also learned to listen to my heart. Some days I nail it and I’m super pumped about my presentation. As i write this I’m also having a moment of,hmmm, where is the word presentation coming from? Almost therapeutic to answer your question as I’m seeing that I have some insights I haven’t thought of until you asked. thanks, hope it helps. Be you. As you do you will figure out the you, that is the you , that you want. How is that for a mouthful?
 
My hair and my clothing style eventually became mine. The further you go in therapy the more you realize what was taken from you or tainted is now yours to take back, where possible. Control of presentation of oneself was huge as a part of my abuse. I’m good with my hair now. Clothing causes me a great deal of stress in some settings. Oddly a new thing is developing and that is the ability to be curious of others choices as opposed to feeling like I need to conform to them. I’m in a very nonjudgmental church right now. They dress to the nines. I have been developing my own nine. It is pretty far off from what I view as their nine. But that is the key point. Since I’m in a nonjudgmental setting privately assessing my ability to fit in, I’m realizing that I now own my own assessment of myself and my nine. In the same way I have learned to listen to my body I have also learned to listen to my heart. Some days I nail it and I’m super pumped about my presentation. As i write this I’m also having a moment of,hmmm, where is the word presentation coming from? Almost therapeutic to answer your question as I’m seeing that I have some insights I haven’t thought of until you asked. thanks, hope it helps. Be you. As you do you will figure out the you, that is the you , that you want. How is that for a mouthful?
"... The further you go in therapy the more you realize what was taken from you or tainted is now yours to take back, where possible...."

This rang so true to me. Thanks so much. I'd been told how to look for a very long time and then that used against me also.. So understand why you'd dress to the nines in your own way. Glad my question helped you too.
 
My hair enters my trauma history in a different way… so for me it’s not about the length, but about whether or not I’m braiding it in a very specific way.

I’ve learned to take note of if I start unconsciously start braiding it like that, when I get out of the shower, as a sign that my past & present are starting to mix up.
 
I am now part way through therapy I want to cut my hair short
Cutting one’s hair can be a very emotional experience.

Historically? It’s most often done (across many, many, many cultures) in

- grief/mourning/bereavement AND
- identity… clearing? Whether it’s breaking up with a boyfriend/girlfriend and a new haircut is liberating, or whether the military is shaving it off as part of making something new, or whether prisoners are being stripped of their identity to dehumanize them.

Which means (trauma aside) it makes sense, as a human, that part way through therapy it feels right for both a fresh start / new you, that you’re creating… as well as a way to grieve.

Be prepared for BIG emotions to attach. Good, bad, or both. They might not, but it’s very likely.

***

Personally? I don’t have the face or hair type for wicked short hair (shaved, pixie, girly Mohawk, etc.), although I prefer fairly short hair (above my collar). But? I still end up shaving it off, on average, once a decade. I KNOW I’m going to hate it. But I still do it. Because other reasons are more pressing. It’s also fun to start liking it, again, as it grows out.
 
I don’t often bother cutting my hair.

Unless I’ve just had a nasty breakup, or made a big shift in therapy (good or destructive).

For me, it’s symptomatic, rather than therapeutic - it’s something I have a habit of doing in an emotional storm, rather than something that fixes the emotional storm.

I lean into it. It changes what I see when I look in the mirror. A visual demonstration to myself that there are still things within my control. And sometimes, that alone is a huge win.
 
other way round for me.

my mother would always insist my hair was cut short, and I prefer long hair

it's now got to a stage where my hair is quite long (and I don't like it), but too afraid to go get it cut.
 
I created an account to participate in this thread. I found this place by googling "PTSD and hair cuts".

I haven't been able to get a formal hair cut... ever. I am 29 years old and have been EXTREMELY emotional about the idea of cutting my hair off for my entire like. I never considered that this was related to my cPTSD or mental health as much as it was about my extreme beliefs about the beauty industry being toxic and trying to rebel against that.

But it is getting in the way of my life. I have been in a cycle of chopping off feet of my hair every 5 years in the backyard with a hair of scissors and being devastated about it until it is long again.

Six months ago my partner responded to my complaining about the horribly painful knots in my long hair with suggesting a "trim". I was shaking with fear, quickly began screaming "THIS IS MY HAIR" and became very dysregulated.

We haven't talked about it again and I'm dealing with other big stuff in therapy but really want my hair to hurt less and be more manageable. I'm relieved to hear that I am not alone and that this is a reasonable connection to make but feel hopeless.

How do I start this journey?
 
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