WARNING: this post is on the topic of self-harm. If this may be distressing please proceed with caution. Thank you.
I’d welcome any opinions or thoughts on this issue:
I have scars from self-harm, past and not so long past. Sometimes I don’t cover them. Usually I do. I do not mind at all people asking although I do not want to share the full reason with everyone. Too much to reveal, for them and for me. Not because of “what would they think?” type concerns but because the reasons I did it are very raw and intimate. A big reason I cover my scars is not wanting to upset people – this goes for people close to me, too, or maybe all the more – and not wanting to draw attention to myself by making people worry.
I cover the scars with clothes or when the weather is too hot or I want to wear something that wouldn’t cover them all, I use makeup (designed to cover scars and not to rub off on clothes as ordinary facial makeup would). It isn’t possible to cover them totally but usually I consider it to be enough.
I am going to stay with my friend in a couple of days and she has two little girls, very young, 5 and almost 3. I’ve stayed with them before but never when it’s this hot. There is also the possibility we are going to take the girls to a kids’ pool and whilst I won’t be swimming it may necessitate wearing less. I’m worried about the girls noticing my scars. I will cover them with makeup but I’m worried that as it doesn’t hide everything, the girls will notice and might ask about it. The younger one probably not but the older one may. It may sound like a silly concern however, they are both very observant and pick up on things I would never think that they would.
I’m wondering, first of all, is it the kind of thing they are likely to ask about? Possibly it’s not something children would notice or they might not even know what scars are (as in making the connection that it means I was cut). I don’t know.
Second, have any of you been in this position? If a child asked you anything, like what are they [ie the scars] or how did it happen, how did you respond?
I’m thinking this is a situation where the girls knowing any of the truth would be unquestionably so damaging to them at this young age that a small lie is the only possible course of action. An adult, if they notice the scars at all, would probably know that it wasn’t done accidentally and not believe my excuse, whilst a child, more likely to ask about the scars in the first place as children aren’t so socially reserved as adults, would probably not realise it wasn’t accidental and would accept the fake explanation I chose. I don’t usually opt for lying but this time it seems to me the only way to avoid causing harm.
Perhaps I should ask the children’s mum (who knows I self-harm) what she thinks or what she would prefer.
Just to be clear, I would never self-harm when with the girls or indeed, when with anyone or where the girls might see me do it – my worry is them seeing the scars I already have from past self-harm.
Any thoughts would be really welcome. Thank you.