"Why don't you just stop self injuring?"

Sues

Confident
That is a horrible thing for anyone to say and very irresponsible for a therapist to say. I have struggled with self harm for a while now, and I can tell you that therapy absolutely helps. You need to find another therapist. This one is scary. We can't "just stop" doing it. It's a coping mechanism (an unhealthy one) that we use to self sooth and deal with overwhelming and triggering situations. Please look around for another therapist. There are good ones out there.
 

Sideways

Sponsor
The question may simply mean exactly what it says: why don't you just stop? Maybe because you're getting something out of it, or you've got some core belief driving it and you believe you have to, or, or, or...

I think if the question is coming from a therapist, rather than someone who doesn't know jack about SH, then it's potentially a genuine question. People SH for different reason. They have trouble stopping for different reasons. Not everyone wants to stop. Etc.

There's no one way to help a person stop SHing. If you've told your T that you're SHing and want to stop, there isn't universal solution they can give you. So, they kinda have to ask, yeah?
 

Missycat

MyPTSD Pro
Im astounded and angry that your therapist said that ... needs to re do basic training . dont be put off by him . I have worked with 2 therapists who were understanding and supportive of helping me find a way to choose other options rather than harm. There was never any frustration on their part when i messed up. The help i have had and still have in therapy absolutely makes a difference.
 

Friday

Moderator
Take it as a straight question? Or even expand on it?

- Why not stop self injuring?
- Why continue self injuring?

There are undoubtedly reasons in both columns. Some the same, some quite different.

And possibly a 3rd/4th Q...
- Why not talk about those reasons?
- Why not talk about those reasons with THIS person? (If it’s specific to them, rather than personal to you, or general avoidance).

Sure, sure, there are the general reasons why many/most people self harm, or use drugs, or sleep around, or thrill seek, or whatever. But whilst those general one size fits most reasons may even make up something like 99% of why YOU do/don’t? Or even as little has 1% of why you do/don’t? There’s still going to be some kind of cocktail of reasons in different proportions, that make up why you yourself do/don’t, that present the challenges you’re facing.

So it’s a valid line of enquiry, rather than just plonking you as McClient, with McAdvice... actually exploring and examining the reasons YOU do/don’t. Both the ones that are unique to you, and the ones you share with the teeming masses; as well as how those things influence each other, and are affected by various things in your life. Bespoke service / Individualized therapy.

Asking, rather than just assuming.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
I get the question....and maybe it's the answer that is bothering you more than the question. I see it as a question to make you think about an unpleasant topic. We do most all behaviors for a reason....we may get something out of doing it in the moment, to make something stop (control), for emotional reasons, attention, etc. What motivates you to continue doing it? How much do you really want to stop (as shame or desire to stop hasn't been enough to have stopped you now, right?) What alternatives are you willing to try? What kind of commitment have you made to yourself to stop? Maybe it is possible your irritation is with yourself- and not your T asking the question?
 

Sues

Confident
Maybe I was misunderstanding the original post, but what I got from it was that the question was asked by the therapist and when they said they thought therapy would help, the therapist told them to use other options. It just sounded like the therapist was blowing them off and telling them they should be able to just get over it. That is shocking and I hope I'm misunderstanding. Can you clarify Dead Link Removed?
 

Justmehere

Moderator
The problem is that I was triggered by a topic and asked to change topics. I point blank said I can’t stay calm and talk about his. He asked me to focus on my body. I told him no, I didn’t think I could do that without self injuring.

“Why don’t you just stop self injuring?” just hit me funny.

As we spoke further about it, it didn’t come across as a let’s explore the reasons you self injure but rather a just don’t do that. I told him it if I could find another way to stop other than changing the subject, I would have. He was fine with changing the subject.

I did tell him it would make the anger stop. Except it didn’t. I ended up angry, walking out of the telehealth session, and self injuring.

I don’t think I’m ready to do this.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
@Justmehere Sounds like a normal question to me from a T to someone who wants to quit self-harming. Also sounds like he lets you have control over the conversation and backs off at your cue, and you avoid the topic and threaten that the punishment for continuing to discuss self-harm is harming yourself. That's really controlling, and that puts T in a pickle if you can't discuss self harm or you'll do self harm. What else is he left to say?
 

Justmehere

Moderator
I am in a very very ugly place right now and generally feel like I’m trying to hold on to sanity... to anything I write should be taken very lightly.

i indicated I am feeling unable to discuss a specific subject without self injury right now... as a reason to change the subject out of fear I’d be more out of control. Said this while dissociating and otherwise super dysregulated. It wasn’t the moment to keep pushing into a trigger related to my job today. Even if it was, no thanks. Not interested.

I spent 20 minutes with him upon his request discussing why I don’t stop self injuring. There are only so. many. ways. to say because it makes the anger stop and nothing else is working right now and I rather stop talking about the subject and calm down (which he supported) than continuing down into uncontrolled self injury. We had been working on anger and talking about a subject that sparked anger already. F

I asked about a sane response because it got to a point I was really beside myself.

I didn’t know what else to say. At a loss.
He did say I should use other coping skills. Yeah. I get that. I know. He kept pushing why don’t I just stop. Because I’m a stupid whore? An idiot. I told him such. I was generally losing my mind. What else to say? I don’t know. Is there something else to say?

Therapy seems like a place where I’m always giving the wrong answers. Somehow never enough. He wants to talk. I don’t. I don’t want to talk and I don’t want to return. I think I’ve lost the ability to connect with a therapist. It’s just another person telling me I’m doing life wrong. I already know. I don’t have any ability to connect with empathy, support, etc, etc. Straight up I think that ability in me is massively broken.

*That might be a problem*

He keeps texting asking to talk to confirm I’m safe. I texted back I am safe today as I am every other day in 2020. I’m safe enough. No plans to harm self or others. I don’t want to meet or talk. No. He is pushing to talk. Now it’s just another place where no is being pushed. I get he has to do his therapist part...

I want to be drunk. I want this pain to stop. I want to drown. If cutting off my arm would make it all stop, I’d do that.

That’s what it is for me right now. Any way to be in control of myself and make the internal pain slightly less.

Yes, it’s ironic because it’s a very out of control thing to do. Knowing this doesn’t seem to make any difference. Also. I don’t think that part of me that can connect to other humans is alive. It’s very hard to explain. Then the most empathic approach ok this would probably feel like shit. My trauma bent is to run. Fight to run. Do it all myself. Fierce independence. Avoidant attachment. I don’t need anyone so f*ck this. All of that is in full gear right now.

If I step back, the voice of a small army of people in my life asking me to not run echoes in my brain. I feel like there is a more sane response than I’m having...
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
I am in a very very ugly place right now and generally feel like I’m trying to hold on to sanity... to anything I write should be taken very lightly.

i indicated I am feeling unable to discuss a specific subject without self injury right now... as a reason to change the subject out of fear I’d be more out of control. Said this while dissociating and otherwise super dysregulated. It wasn’t the moment to keep pushing into a trigger related to my job today. Even if it was, no thanks. Not interested.

I spent 20 minutes with him upon his request discussing why I don’t stop self injuring. There are only so. many. ways. to say because it makes the anger stop and nothing else is working right now and I rather stop talking about the subject and calm down (which he supported) than continuing down into uncontrolled self injury. We had been working on anger and talking about a subject that sparked anger already. F

I asked about a sane response because it got to a point I was really beside myself.

I didn’t know what else to say. At a loss.
He did say I should use other coping skills. Yeah. I get that. I know. He kept pushing why don’t I just stop. Because I’m a stupid whore? An idiot. I told him such. I was generally losing my mind. What else to say? I don’t know. Is there something else to say?

Therapy seems like a place where I’m always giving the wrong answers. Somehow never enough. He wants to talk. I don’t. I don’t want to talk and I don’t want to return. I think I’ve lost the ability to connect with a therapist. It’s just another person telling me I’m doing life wrong. I already know. I don’t have any ability to connect with empathy, support, etc, etc. Straight up I think that ability in me is massively broken.

*That might be a problem*

He keeps texting asking to talk to confirm I’m safe. I texted back I am safe today as I am every other day in 2020. I’m safe enough. No plans to harm self or others. I don’t want to meet or talk. No. He is pushing to talk. Now it’s just another place where no is being pushed. I get he has to do his therapist part...

I want to be drunk. I want this pain to stop. I want to drown. If cutting off my arm would make it all stop, I’d do that.

That’s what it is for me right now. Any way to be in control of myself and make the internal pain slightly less.

Yes, it’s ironic because it’s a very out of control thing to do. Knowing this doesn’t seem to make any difference. Also. I don’t think that part of me that can connect to other humans is alive. It’s very hard to explain. Then the most empathic approach ok this would probably feel like shit. My trauma bent is to run. Fight to run. Do it all myself. Fierce independence. Avoidant attachment. I don’t need anyone so f*ck this. All of that is in full gear right now.

If I step back, the voice of a small army of people in my life asking me to not run echoes in my brain. I feel like there is a more sane response than I’m having...

I really can relate to the need to hang onto sanity feeling, the run away need, and the need for independence-the safest way to live....trust/count on no one but me. Avoiding attachment....I'm always on guard...don't get too close...be careful not to be too nice, keep some serious boundaries.

Other than SH, what can you do to reduce your stress, feel in control, feel some success or general okayness with your life just for today and tomorrow?

Can you break down the things that will reduce your stress where you need to remove something or someone, devise a plan to change something or even change a boundary, or fix a part of your issue to keep stress more manageable and the desire for SH reduced? When I get this stressed out.....I write down the immediate things I can do to reduce my stress.....and also look at immediate things I can remove from the immediate issue to reduce stress. I then make a list of diversions.....that I willingly and actively follow through on to get the focus off the SH and onto a constructive approach to either solving a problem, changing the way I'm thinking, or changing brain chemistry (exercise)-kayaking works for me....but there are many options for exercise.

About those "wrong answers in therapy," if you like your T "except when he's concerned and doing his job" I'd consider sticking with him to help you stay safe. Maybe you can reduce a bit of stress by being the one to contact him and let him know you are safe, and will contact him at x time.....so he doesn't worry. Then you don't get texts when he's concerned.
 
Top