Your opinion sought – children seeing scars

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.

Ginny xxx

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13 thoughts on “Your opinion sought – children seeing scars

  1. ❤ I think in this scenario, it is good to get feedback from the mother, as that may influence your decision greatly.

    I think for children that young though, bigger concepts might be better left unsaid. What are the simplest truths? It is a scar from something that happened "x" time ago. Acknowledge the kids, if they notice something, but perhaps move on to other things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I think I am also feeling something along those lines is appropriate and that’s a good way of saying it which doesn’t actually require lying. Thank you. And it should be easy to move on from.
      Perhaps they won’t even notice. Just can’t tell. Children notice very different things from what we adults do.
      Xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hello! It went well, thank you. I posted below to update but perhaps you did not get a notification on it because I wasn’t replying directly to your first comment – sorry. Here is a copy of my update:

      I thought I’d just post to update y’all and say thank you again for your advice and support.
      As you all suggested I asked the mum about it and, on her asking, showed her the scars I was worried the children might see. She said that the children might notice and if they did ask anything just say it is from a scratch. They would understand that they scratch themselves when they fall or when they are playing in the garden and they would not register my “scratches” as anything different. As it happened, the girls did not ask anything! (What they noticed was my walking stick because the last time they saw me I had not been needing to use it!) So as it happened all went well. It definitely helped that the mum is such a good friend of mine that I felt I could ask her about it openly. She is not judgemental and her acceptance of me and my mental health means a huge amount to me.
      xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I’m very much encouraged that you both think that will be okay.
      It does help that the mum is a very dear friend of mine and I’ll be able to ask her about it. She is about the only person (along with another member of her family) who I’d dare to / feel I could stay with at the moment. She and her husband understand that I am not fine all the time, they’ve stuck by me when I’ve been really ill and still accept and care for me and allow me to be part of their and their children’s lives. I am so so thankful for that xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m very blessed to have friends who accept me and continue to want to spend time with me even when I’m really low and can’t do so much I may feel I should. The support of this blogging community means so much to me too. All really helps and I thank God for them daily xx

      Like

  2. My dear daughter noticed my scars at a very early age (2 approximately) & I did fib & told her they are ‘badies’ from an accident.She no longer mentions them. For a long time I couldn’t work up the courage to take her swimming (I do now,I wear leggings on top of my costume) I also got prescribed make up for covering scars ,but it’s so time consuming & when I went to see the make up practitioner, her advice was ” just tell people you were hit by shrapnel in an explosion !!!!!!- Cheers then !
    I think for me it really iis about what other people are thinking,if it wasn’t for that then I don’t think showing my scars would bother me as much.
    I heard a funny saying about scars ” life is shit & it sometimes leaves skidmarks ”
    Enjoy your time away xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hee hee hee I like that saying!
      I can see why you explained it like that to your daughter. It’s giving her an explanation and amount of information she can cope with at that time.
      I’m sorry the makeup practitioner made that comment. That’s bad . I wonder what kind of training they get about self-harm and mental health.
      Like you I also don’t always want to use makeup. The time, the cost, the fact that sometimes I don’t feel the need to cover them, not wanting to do it when it’s really hot, all play a part at different times.
      Well done on taking your daughter swimming. It must have taken courage. Leggings are a good idea.
      Xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I thought I’d just post to update y’all and say thank you again for your advice and support.
    As you all suggested I asked the mum about it and, on her asking, showed her the scars I was worried the children might see. She said that the children might notice and if they did ask anything just say it is from a scratch. They would understand that they scratch themselves when they fall or when they are playing in the garden and they would not register my “scratches” as anything different. As it happened, the girls did not ask anything! (What they noticed was my walking stick because the last time they saw me I had not been needing to use it!) So as it happened all went well. It definitely helped that the mum is such a good friend of mine that I felt I could ask her about it openly. She is not judgemental and her acceptance of me and my mental health means a huge amount to me.
    xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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