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Senior Contributor

unintuitive self harm triggers

After 30 odd years of SH (progressing to really serious life-threatening injuries) that I’ve never been able to explain, I’ve finally realised that my #1 trigger is things going well. I’m surprised because it’s very different to any if the reasons helpful friends, psychologists, others have suggested to me but it 100% fits with all my memories of the circumstances around it. Can anyone relate?


Re: unintuitive self harm triggers

Thanks for sharing this @-Rayne-. I have many questions!


What helped you to come to this realisation and why do you think you would feel compelled to engage in SH at those times?


What purpose does the SH serve for you?


Do you think that realising this will help you to develop alternative strategies to achieve what you need in those moments?

Re: unintuitive self harm triggers

@Chamomile thanks for the reply and questions. I’m not surprised that nobody has put their hand up as relating - it really does sound counterintuitive.


I realised the pattern because I recently started having urges, after a series of long term worries were resolved in positive ways. Within days I was having urges for the first time in about 10 months. That reminded me of something a therapist once said to me and I thought back over the other times when it’s come and gone and it fits, not with the first few years (I started at age 11) but certainly since shortly after that.


The purpose it serves - I’m trans but only recently started transitioning. For all of my life, I hid who I was but also I think I kind of resented having to hide, and mostly resented that nobody saw me. When I was younger and all of this started, I was completely invisible to one of my parents unless I excelled academically- and I did excel - but I wanted her to see me as me and the excelling seemed to make it easier for her to not see me, if that makes sense. My other parent was abisive so not much help. So I think now, when things go well I sort of panic and it feels like I’m goimg to disappear or something... SH is like reasserting my existence.


Not sure how whacky that sounds but it’s where I’m thinking.


How is knowing it going to help? I thinking knowing where the need comes from, I can start to think of other ways to manage it... and even just airing seems to have taken some of its power away, if that makes sense.


peace, Rayne

Re: unintuitive self harm triggers

@-Rayne- I get some of what you are saying, though I do find it very hard to put into words. I struggle with being the invisible person in all my real life relationships I think. I think some of my feelings come from feeling unworthy of anything good happening for me. At time, self sabotage takes over. I'm not always aware as its happening, realisation often comes later. There are so many thoughts running around in my head, but I might not even be on track with yours, so will leave it here. I don't think you are wacky at all, I think you have some clear insight into your own life. Who better than you to get that.

Re: unintuitive self harm triggers

Hi @-Rayne-,

Its been a few weeks since this post. Just checking in... how have things been going, since the epiphany?

Re: unintuitive self harm triggers

@Chamomile I'd forgotten about this. 


I took a job in an overseas location. I can't say where without identifying myself but if you imagine all the worst places in the world, where death and dying are a daily normal thing, that's the kind of place I'm working in. It's FIFO work: 4-5 weeks here, 2 weeks back in Australia. I'm not having an SH urges here, even when I see others doing it in front of me. It is stressful here though - other people find it hard. That's made me wonder whether I'm just very good at existing in unusual situations or if I'm setting myself up for a collapse.... but I had forgotten about this post and my epiphany. Now you've made me think... thank you Smiley Happy


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