I am in counseling again (after some major life challenges forced me to readdress some issues), which has been very beneficial this go-around. I have a new therapist who is great and I feel that I can be honest in exploring how I feel. Lately I have the urge to SI, but I couldn’t really figure out the real reason why. Although I have been depressed and feeling emotions surrounding that including loneliness and isolation, it hasn’t been too incredibly intense to the point where I usually experience self-harm urges.
But after 15 plus years of SI I am starting to understand and explore the origin of the urges a bit more. In that exploration I am realizing how much I crave touch. The kind of caring touch a loving mother/caregiver might give. A pat, a loving rub, a hug. Something. After dealing with sexual abuse as a kid, touch was kind of off limits. I didn’t want to be touched, and I did not have any positive caring adults in my life to fill the need for “good touch” even if I wanted it. So its always been a constant need, but one I hardly acknowledged. Now, I realize the urge to SI sometimes comes from that need for touch. Because I don’t get it anywhere else, perhaps I SI to have some sort of touch in a way – maybe it is in the care that comes from taking care of an injury. Recently I was in the hospital (a routine, non mental health related issue) and it felt good in a way to be cared for – to have the nurses touch me, even if only to adjust a blood pressure cuff. I know touch can be gained elsewhere like a massage, but getting a professional massage is hard when I have to explain my body to a stranger. I feel ashamed of my scars.
I sometimes feel very untouchable – especially the mothering kind of touch. My body is covered in very visible scars. I long for someone to just touch my scars and tell me they don’t define me. While I understand therapists have clear roles and boundaries to maintain, I can’t help but want this one person I am talking to, telling my secrets and working through some tough subjects, to take on a little of that mothering role. While I am sure this issue is not uncommon in counseling, I realize, again, that boundaries are needed. But sometimes when the one person I am trusting to listen to my darkest thoughts can’t touch me, it makes me feel even that much more untouchable.
I guess I am struggling with this feeling, especially now that I am beginning to realize why this urge to SI pops up sometimes. I wish I had a caring mother figure in my life to hug me and see my scars, and let me know that I am worthy of caring touch despite what I have done and what has been done to me. I don’t know how else to get this need met right now and it is upsetting. I am working really hard to understand and truly stop SI, but this is one thing/area in the healing process that has caught me off guard recently. And I am not sure if I should bring it up in counseling as I only have 2 sessions left. I don’t know where to go from here with this issue.