It goes without saying that seeing someone with self-harm scars can be shocking. Especially if it is someone who you know reasonably well but perhaps did not realize that they had once self-harmed. The thing to remember about someone who has self-harm scars is that whilst they may finally feel comfortable allowing other people to see their scars, this doesn’t mean that they feel comfortable talking about it to other people.
They are already living with their scars – both physical and emotional – don’t make it even harder for them by being too inquisitive, confrontational, or even making jokes about it.
So, what does this mean if you encounter someone who has visible scars? To help you figure out the right way to approach things, we have put together what you shouldn’t say when you see someone’s self-harm scars.
Never ask why they did it
Of course, one of the main things you will have in mind when you see self-harm scars is how they end up being in the position and place to want to harm themselves.
You may want to know more about what happened and where they are now at with their recovery. Probably you want to know this because you care about them and not because you are nosey.
Refrain from asking why the person ended up self-harming. Not only is this likely to bring up memories that they don’t want to revisit, but it could even put a brake on their entire recovery road. Also, you don’t need to know every detail about someone’s past in order to be a good friend.
Don’t ask if it hurt
Many people wonder how someone can self-harm, particularly when it hurts. However, you should never ask someone if their self-harming actions hurt. After all, you know what the answer to that is going to be. Of course, it hurt; you don’t have to ask them to know that.
Remember, you don’t always have to say anything
Unless you know the person well, then one of the best approaches for you to take is not to say anything at all. Let them broach the subject with you at a time that is right for them. They know that you can see the scars; however, it should always be on their terms as to whether or not they discuss what happened.
They might not want to talk about it further, or they may want to sit down and try and make sense of their feelings with you. Something that they may not have been able to do until now.
If you know someone who has self-harmed and they allow you to see their scars the best thing to do is be there for them. You need to be ready and waiting to listen to them when and if they are ready to talk. They will appreciate having a safe space to talk about the things that they have been through. And also it is a great opportunity to get some of the feelings that they may have kept inside, out of their head.
Be supportive and don’t assume things. Life has its ups and downs and everyone has their own unique path they walk on. You don’t know their story and most importantly – they might never want to share it.
The story of my scars
I decided to share the story of my scars on this website, hoping it would help others.
My scars cover a large area of my body and for a very long time, I didn’t want to deal with them. I pushed it away and out of sight. But after some time I realized that my scars are hindering my life – my scars are keeping me from living the best life.
I know a lot of this has to do with your mindset. In an ideal life, someone’s outer appearance should not play a big role in how they feel about themselves and their life. It might be preventing them from going after the things they want. But in reality, the physical appearance of scars can cause stigma and unsolicited questions and advice from random strangers. And last but not least, seeing your own scars can trigger painful memories of traumatic events.
So I went on a mission to find a scar removal procedure that would work for the type of my scars and make a difference in their appearance. After some searching, I found a scar surgery that ticked all the boxes. Success!
What was really important for me was that I was provided with photographs showing past surgeries of real people, and this helped me make the decision. It’s been years since my surgery and I have no regrets – it has been the best decision for me.
If you would like to read more about how it feels living with scars and the step-by-step process of how I went through this breakthrough surgery, you can purchase my ebook here.
It’s so important to be able to move on.
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