Client Journal: Cutting

Client: The first time I cut myself I was 14. I was feeling sad, lonely and angry. My mom and dad had a nasty fight the night before and I was feeling hurt by it and sorry for myself. The thoughts “no one understands me” and “no one likes me” were running through my head. I was upset. I kept telling myself that I was weirdo. I was scared to tell any of my friends about what was going on. I thought they wouldn’t understand, that they would only hurt me like my mom said they would. The overall feeling I remember was pain and the desire to just make it stop. I found a razorblade and cut the side of my hand. I guess I wanted to distract myself from feeling the emotional pain by feeling physical pain. It hurt when I cut myself, but it was soothing, in a way.

What I really needed was to feel safe enough to trust someone to confide in. I wanted my parents to notice that something was wrong with me so that they would ask me if I was ok. I wanted to say, “No! I’m not ok! All the fighting you do hurts me and scares me and makes me feel nervous all the time!” I was too scared to say that on my own. I wanted my parents to pay attention to me, instead of how much they hated each other.

Marta: This is very brave to admit. Now that you expressed it, how does your little girl feel? Do you have compassion on a deeper level for the depth of her need to be seen and heard, and her pain?

Client: I have a lot of empathy and warmth towards her. I am starting to feel compassion for her, because she just didn’t feel safe or valued enough to be to express her pain to anyone; that is sad and painful. I imagine her climbing into my arms and hugging her. I judged her a lot about this and I felt ashamed about it for a while. I didn’t want to look at this part of myself. Now that I am starting to express it, she feels validated, safer and happy. She feels sad too because there is a lot of pain there. That is a huge need for her, and for me. To been seen, heard, loved and accepted.

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