Steps to Assist in Proceeding Toward Healthy Relationships After Experiencing Abusive Relationships

When people are subject to abuse and trauma in a relationship, they tend to build walls around themselves to prevent further hurt in similar future situations.  We as humans survive due to the effectiveness of our defense mechanisms.  We have learned to be cautious of certain behaviors and activities because we have been hurt in the past.  That’s a natural and normal reaction to being abused.  

Sometimes, however, those walls become so high that the walls themselves prohibit our growth and healing.  Instead of seeing the walls as appropriate cautionary reminders, we see them as inflexible guidelines by which to live the rest of our lives.  No matter the circumstances, we can fall into the trap of repeating old patterns and behaviors, even if they no longer serve us because at one time they did serve us very well.

So how do we begin to trust again and truly heal from old patterns of abuse and trauma once we find a person who is worthy of a healthy relationship?  These tips are in no particular order and I feel that we as survivors revisit each of these aspects over and over again as we heal and grow in our newfound positive relationships.

Time.  

We need to do is to be worthy of a healthy relationship ourselves.  Now, let me explain.  We’re ALL deserving of healthy and stable relationships but until we’re able to begin to participate in a healthy relationship with another person, we should refrain from embarking upon them.  We need to take the time to deal with our own emotional trauma, to be able to examine our own baggage of guilt and shame and to begin to forgive ourselves for our mistakes so we can start to value ourselves once again.  

Change the tape in your head.  

Sometimes we need to learn how to respond to people without letting our past cloud our view.  It can be difficult to evaluate each relationship for what it is instead of what we fear them to be.  Fear can be healthy…but it can also become crippling if we allow it to be.  Think of all the good things in life you would have missed out on if you had been too afraid to try.

Readjust your radar.  

We need to realize that the fear that once served us is no longer applicable in every situation.  If we’re honestly trying to change our behaviors, we need to realize that other areas of our lives will be influenced by the changes we’re making.  Benefitting from those changes include understanding that the signals we give off to others are changing and as a result, the caliper of people that are attracted to our lives will begin to change as well.

Stop taking everything so personally.  

When we experience hurt, the trauma carries over into every other aspect of our lives.  Our perceptions are clouded by our experiences.  In order to truly begin to heal, we need to realize that just as our reality is tainted by our experiences, so the reality of others is tainted by their experiences as well.  Not everything someone else does or says is always about us…and truthfully, even when it is about us, it’s not our issue to overcome.

Take responsibility for yourself and your actions.  

We are only responsible for what we say and how we say it.  We aren’t responsible for what another person hears or how they relate to the information we pass along to them.  In turn, we are responsible for accepting the truth in our relationships and that includes hearing unpleasant aspects of ourselves and adapting our behavior to more appropriate behavior if those aspects are actually rooted in truth.

Give yourself a break.  

In the quest to become the best person we can be after surviving trauma and abuse, we are going to make mistakes.  Probably several mistakes.  Own up to your mistakes when you make them.  Apologize for them.  Try your damnedest not to repeat them.  That’s literally all we can do.

Realize that change, and the happiness that will follow, is possible. 

The only sure thing about human nature is that we are capable of change if we want it bad enough.  We are all deserving of safety, peace and happiness.  Attaining this state takes hard work.  It means analyzing past behavior and making adjustments when necessary.  It means doing the self examination to work through difficult, unpleasant and sometimes even painful emotions.  It means knowing that their IS light at the end of the tunnel and knowing that you’re worthy of happiness.

These are just my personal thoughts and feelings about how to proceed in healthy relationships after experiencing abusive relationships.  These words are what I’ve found to be true along my own personal journey.  

What tips on beginning healthy relationships after traumatic experiences would you add to this list and why would you add them?  I’d REALLY like input from both Dominants and submissives on this post because as much as we discuss all the ways that Dominants help their submissives heal, we’d be remiss to assume that submissives don’t help their Dominants heal as well.  If this topic applies to you…and i think it applies to most…i’d love to hear your opinions and personal experiences on the subject, even if you rarely ever comment.  There’s no right or wrong in healing, after all…

~Beautifully Broken~

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~Beautifully Broken~
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No Safe Word To Save Me

Daddy and I have been kinda tense lately.  We’ve been navigating unchartered waters since He started staying Home with the boys full time after finishing His liver therapy and I finished school and started working again.  It seems that our roles of daily life are in complete opposition to our D/s dynamic roles and sometimes we clash when one of us can’t slip back into those D/s roles so easily.

After a long discussion today and a few tears, I saw Him for who He is again with new eyes.  The Man who loves me, who would kill or die for both me and our boys,  my Daddy, my Sir, my Fiance.  I know He saw me as He did in the past as well because once we were okay again, He bent me over the desk and spanked the fuck outta me before the kids arrived Home from school.

This wasn’t the ‘sexy’ spanking to which I have become accustomed.  It wasn’t play and it wasn’t punishment.  Actually, for the very first time in our relationship, it wasn’t for me at all.  This session was all His.  It was a release of rage and anxiety.  It was a reclaiming of what is His, even if only in His own heart and mind.  It was a test of my endurance and obedience to His will above my own.  He knows me better than I know myself and He can read me like a book.  The way I go on my tip toes when the pain makes me anxious.  The way I whimper when I am close to breaking.  The way I just sob when I feel helpless.  He saw it all…and I know it turned Him on as He smacked my ass over and over until I wanted to scream with no breaks in between to caress my stinging flesh.  I wanted to pull away.  I wanted to put my hands out to shield my skin.  I wanted to stop Him…but i didn’t…because this wasn’t about me.  

Instead, I just allowed the pain to swallow me.  I forced myself to feel the pain in my muscles as hard as I had been ignoring the pain in my heart.  I just let myself feel, I let myself cry.  I actually told myself that I would not die from this and that it would eventually end.  I needed to show Him that I could and would take whatever He needed to give, the same way He takes everything the boys and I have ever needed to give.  It was the most subservient I have felt in months, despite everything else I have gladly done for Him, this was the most important.  No decisions to make, no safe words with which to escape, no place to hide from the pain.  All I could do was be present and submit.  My rewards were the tears that flowed free and hot on my face…and feeling Him excited against me as He licked them from my cheeks.  Such a small act with such profound meaning.

~Beautifully Broken~

A Cut Above The Rest

Trigger Warning…  Self Harm & Cutting

​I got a new punishment yesterday.  It was the first time Daddy spanked me as a punishment.  I’m a masochist and usually don’t receive punishments having to do with physical pain.  It certainly didn’t feel good but it was a great release of tension and emotional pain.  I think that was His point.  He said if I committed the offense again the number of spankings would be doubled.  I couldn’t handle much more than 5 of His hardest spankings…

I usually enjoy them, His spankings, that is…but this was…different.  I didn’t hate it but I’m not going to go looking for it.  And He was much more tender than He usually is during punishment.  Idk, it was weird.  Still processing, I suppose…
Here’s a little back story…

I cut two nights ago.  I got thrown several big & unexpected curveballs about this car I’m trying to buy and a job opportunity that’s dependant upon said car.  He knew I was upset but I guess I didn’t adequately explain my level of…despair, I guess.  He sent me to bed early and when I woke at midnight, He was asleep.  I got really panicky and tried to wake Him.  I suppose I could’ve tried harder… 

When He wouldn’t wake up, I started hyperventilating…and I cut.  I haven’t cut (to self harm) in almost a year.  After I could breath again, I put on some music and sat outside for a few hours.  I finally went back to bed at 3.  I told Him about the night yesterday morning & He said I should’ve tried harder to wake Him but He understands why I didn’t.  He also apologized for not seeing how bad off I was.  That last time I cut, a year or so ago, He said if I did it again, I’d receive one hard and unpleasant spanking per cut, in rapid succession.  I got 5 in the kitchen while the boys were outside.  He had to…but He feels bad.  I could guarantee He’d discuss this further that evening…and He did.

After the boys fell asleep on the couch last night, Daddy led me into our bedroom.  He got out our scalpel and calmly reminded me that this is HIS body and if any cuttings are to be made, they are HIS to make.  He looked me in the eyes as He wiped the lower half of my body down with antiseptic.  I began to tremble.  He asked if I would remember that.  I said yes.  He said, “Yes, you sure will” & proceeded to cut and carve all over my hips and ass.  

No safe words were going to save me from this lesson so I didn’t even bother.  I’m so fucking sore today I can barely move without pain.  When He was done, He said “No more of this or next time will be so much worse.  Please try me if you don’t believe me”.  It was like making your child smoke a whole pack of cigarettes at once when you catch them smoking.  I will not forget this lesson.
The only thing that made it not awful was His decision to feed after the punishment and lesson parts were over.  There’s nothing in the world as bonding as allowing your Mate to feed from your blood.  He made love to me afterwards.  Clawing and grabbing at your fresh wounds, making them bleed all over again, He silently reassuring me that everything was fine again…and how deeply I am loved & adored.

When it was all over, He finally allowed me to get off the bed.  I slowly got to my feet and Daddy pulled me close to Him for a hug.  I rested my head on His chest and just let it all go.  All the pain, fear, worry and despair that I had kept from Him, they all came right to the surface but didn’t spill over…until He pulled away just a bit so He could hold out His Pinky to me.  I remember wondering why He was shaking.  

He wasn’t.  

I was.

In our home, the Pinky Swear is the highest code of honor.  A promise made with a Pinky cannot be broken without losing a great deal of trust afterwards.  He looked at me and said, “No more of this, baby.  Please”.  I started crying and shaking like I haven’t in years.  I slowly reached out my Pinky towards His and tentatively wrapped my tiny finger around His larger one.  

I guess I’m finished with cutting as a form of self harm for good…I hope.

~Beautifully Broken~

Worst.  Week.  Ever!

I had a fucking terrible week.  

The job search has entered the interview phase and I’m so exhausted.  I just want a full time job with benefits or enough part time work to be able to pay for healthcare benefits myself.  I’ve been waiting all week on something really big to go thru and now it has been delayed.  The other big thing may already be out of my grasp.  

I have to get back to the job search on Monday but for tonight, I’m just done.  I am so fucking done.  I got a letter from my job informing me that as soon as I am making more money, I will have my wages garnished because of non-payment of a bill that was in my name that my ex said he paid 6 years ago.  He never paid it.  Like I have an extra $750.00 just laying around.  Sure.

The cubs are with my ex and Daddy and I are alone (mostly) all weekend.  All I HAVE to do this weekend is bake a mountain of cupcakes for my youngest’s 7th birthday, which just happens to fall on Mother’s Day this year.  Daddy will take care of the breakfasts, lunches, snacks and orgasms all weekend.  I can nap whenever I want.  All I have to do is get out of my funk and enjoy our weekend together without backsliding into any bad old habits.  I will always be an addict and when I don’t use, I want to shop.  So, recognizing that behavior, I am not shopping.  I’ll just pray that other people are shopping and dump their paychecks at my store lol.

Knowing I have a wonderful Dom who would move mountains for me if I just asked Him to…I still cannot let go of this mood.  Oh well.  I will keep trying.

Hey, nobody’s perfect.

Have a great weekend, everyone…  xo

​5 Oral Sex Tips to Enhance Your Intimacy

No matter your power exchange dynamic or your sexual preferences, both giving and receiving oral sex is a great way to create both a deeper sense of intimacy and a more pleasurable sexual experience within your relationship.  Some people feel that when it comes to BDSM, the dominant in a relationship dynamic, no matter the gender, should not perform oral sex, but rather only receive it, because to perform it would be acting against their dominant nature and create a show of ‘weakness’ to their submissive partner.  

Whatever two or more people agree upon within their power exchange or BDSM-related scenes is totally up to them, however to just totally dismiss any action or sensation simply because of a prejudice or discrimination is really selling yourself and your intimate experiences short.  Sometimes all you need is a little practice and an open mind to find a new joy in an experience that you were ready to write off.  These 5 simple tips can help you give & receive incredible oral sex!

1.  Take Your Time

Like anything else, becoming skilled at oral pleasure takes time.  Rushing to the finale (the big O) is perfectly fine some of the time.  However constantly skipping the foreplay means missing out on the wide range of emotions and sensations that accompany the process of oral sex.  Take your time, go slowly…even drag out the experience for a while, I promise you the end result will be so much better for it.

2.  Ask Questions & Listen to the Answers

I don’t think I know anyone who was spectacular at giving (or even receiving) oral sex the first time out of the gate.  That’s why taking your time as described in Tip #1 is so important.  Get to know your partner’s likes and dislikes through their vocalizations and body language.  Pay attention and you’ll learn a lot.  However, you’ll learn even more by simply asking what your partner likes and dislikes.  Don’t be afraid to discuss what turns you both off and what turns you both off.  Open and honest communication is key in so many areas of your relationship. 

3.  Maintain Eye Contact 

Most men are visual creatures while most females are emotional creatures.  Maintaining eye contact during oral sex, whether giving or receiving, is essential to creating intimacy because it involves both visual and emotional feedback between partners.  Looking into your partner’s eyes can help build trust, passion and foster a greater desire of more intimacy.  It’s a wonderful cycle in which to get caught up!

4.  Use Your Hands 

We all know that the use of lips and tongues are very important aspects of oral sex but don’t forget about hands.  Letting your hands explore in addition to using your lips and tongue will certainly boost the intimacy!

5.  Don’t Forget All The Erogenous Zones

Just as hands are as important as lips and tongues when performing oral sex, don’t forget to include all the other areas of the body that give and receive pleasure when engaging in oral sex.  Oral sex is so much more than just clits & dicks.  Have fun exploring…and licking and sucking…and all that other good stuff! 

~Beautifully Broken~

Incognito BDSM 

When we think ‘BDSM’ so many people, kinky and ‘nilla wafer’ alike, conjure up this ultra sexual imagery, consisting of a dungeon full of whips, chains and a gorgeous female submissive being roughly used by a smoking hot male Dominant.   Sure, that scenario is valid enough but it certainly isn’t the end all, be all of BDSM.

As you probably already know, the acronym BDSM stands for “Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission, Sadism and Masochism”.   There is no outward mention of sex because BDSM doesnt have to include any type of sex at all.  That’s strictly up to the consenting parties.  Also, being sexual and having sex are two completely different things…both great…but still very different.

In today’s world, we have so many responsibilities and obligations that demand our time.  Jobs, careers, school, children, families, aging parents, partners, volunteer work, household chores, the ever elusive “me time”…they all demand to be satisfied or our lives just don’t function as they should.  So how do we fit BDSM-related topics and activities into our day…especially when our days are so full and being watched like hawks by all our non-approving vanilla social counterparts?

Making time for BDSM isn’t always easy but I promise you it is do-able!!  All you need is a little creativity and flexibility!!

1  Schedule Scenes and Sex

Ok, admittedly, scheduled scenes and sex don’t win you any spontaneity points in your relationships dynamic but hey, sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do.  If you’re thinking scheduled scenes and sex aren’t very exciting, think of it this way.  You know what’s really not exciting?  Having no scenes or sex!!  If you have to wake up early to have a quickie in the shower before the rest of your clan wakes for the day, do it!  If you have to arrange childcare weeks in advance so you and your partner can scene in a motel room over the weekend, do it!!  Whatever you have to do to make that all prized alone time, DO IT!!!  Trust me, it’s worth it. 

2.  Force Yourselves to Stick to Your Schedules

Ok, so you go to the trouble of arranging a weekend getaway with your partner, finding a sitter, taking care of every little detail so your absence won’t be too dramatic for everyone to bear and when the night finally comes, one or both of you really aren’t in the mood.  I will tell you right now…PUSH PAST THAT SHIT AND TAKE YOUR EVENING AWAY TOGETHER!!  Even if you had the worse day at work in history, leave it at the office.  Even if your mate has at terrible headache, pack the whole bottle of ibuprofen and head out the door.  Even if you don’t end up scening or having sex, just being alone together is enough.  Who knows where the evening might lead once you’ve both started to unwind a little bit!

3.  Keep Your Options Open

One of the fastest ways to set yourself up for disappointment is to cling too tightly to a rigid plan.  By remaining flexible, you’re better able to roll with the punches and navigate all the little obstacles life is always throwing at us.  As a Dominant,  you should have a plan for your scenes but don’t forget to allow for script changes and rewrites.  There’s that chance to be spontaneous we were talking about earlier!  Take charge and dominate!!  As a submissive, you shouldn’t be worried about a plan anyway…your Dominant has you covered…so just relax and submit.

4.  Maintain Your Mindset

Ok, so you say you’re having a difficult time just relaxing and submitting or taking charge and dominating, huh?  It happens, especially if you’re out of practice or if you  only think of D/s or M/s in terms of scenes and/or sex.  Well, they are so much more!!  The scenes and sex aren’t really just the icing on the cake.  Make the effort to get into and maintain your shared power exchange mindset every day, not just when you’re about to play.

5.  Reinforce Your Power Exchange Daily

There are so many little ways to keep your power exchange in the forefront of your mind, even with children, families and the rest of society watching all the time.  One of the biggest lessons my Daddy Dom was able to impart to me during our 2.5 years in a long distance relationship  (LDR) was that everything I did, no matter how small or or how grand, was in fact, done in service to Him.  Mind you, we were 3,000 miles away from one another ant this time, with 2 or 3 week visits only taking place every 3 – 5 months.  He was excellent at showing me a new way to look at our dynamic so I could see all the ways in which I was of service when I was feeling like a rather displaced and completely obsolete submissive.  Setting little tasks for your partner to complete is essential in maintaining your shared mindset…just as completing those tasks will reinforce your power exchange.  Ordering the use of an anal plug has certainly assisted many high powered submissives with remembering to whom they belong.  Sometimes we all need a reminder as life is trying to get in the way.  Once you’re at the point where just a single look from your D-type can make your melt (or make you freeze, depending upon the reason for the look), you two are definitely in synch…and THAT is always a precursor to a VERY good time!!

I would like to conclude this article on Incognito BDSM by asking you all to comment below some tips or tricks you have incorporated into your dynamic or would like to incorporate into your dynamic to help you and your partner practice BDSM in front of the whole big nilla wafer world without any of them being any the wiser.  What works for you may also help someoneelse who is struggling to maintain their dynamic so please don’t hesitate to comment and keep the discussion going…

~Beautifully Broken~

Being “Little” in Relation to BDSM

A member of another group asked what being a ‘little’ was all about as this person was wondering if it was for them.  This was the best answer I could give.  What do you think about my answer?  Does it ring true for you or am I way off the mark?

On Being “Little”, in Relation to BDSM…

Ok, this is the way I see it…  We ALL have some version of a ‘little’ in us.  It’s what’s called our ‘inner child’.  Some people spend their adult lives either ignoring, being ashamed of or trying to silence him/her, but I think that is incredibly unhealthy.  I’m not saying everyone needs to indulge their inner child to the extent that some littles do but I think ignoring or trying to silence them is just as bad as over indulgence.

As adults, most of us cannot be little all the time, nor would we enjoy it.  The people who are Adult Babies every day of their lives are missing the wonderful things about being whatever adult age they are, imo.  

Being a little doesn’t have to only be about regression…it can also be about nurturing the inner child that was hurt, abused or misunderstood in some way.  The extent to which we let our little “out” depends on personal preference and on our partner’s comfortability with the issue.  My Dom…my Daddy Dom, actually…enjoys when I can relax enough and find time enough to indulge my little but I don’t think He would ever want to see me as the ‘third child’ in our family.  He loves, appreciates and needs my adult self to be the driving force in our dynamic.  And that’s ok because it works for both of us.

Some littles like babydoll nighties & frilly dresses, all white and pink…some of us, instead, like the Lolita fashion of corsets and garters.  It’s all up to the person, with the consideration of their partner, if they so choose it to be.  

YOU ARE COMPLETELY NORMAL!!  You aren’t crazy or bad or childish for wanting to explore this side of you.  You don’t have to have tea parties with stuffies or suck a pacifier to be little.  I don’t.  It’s all about what actions and behaviors nurture YOUR inner child in a healthy and consensual manner.

~Beautifully Broken~

​Cutting and Self-Harm:  How to Feel Better without Hurting Yourself

*I rarely publish anything on here that isn’t an original piece of writing, but i think this article is an excellent exception… BB
Self-harm can be a way of coping with problems. It may help you express feelings you can’t put into words, distract you from your life, or release emotional pain. Afterwards, you probably feel better—at least for a little while. But then the painful feelings return, and you feel the urge to hurt yourself again. If you want to stop cutting or self-harming but don’t know how, remember this: you deserve to feel better, and you can get there without hurting yourself.

What do you need to know about cutting and self-harm?

Self-harm is a way of expressing and dealing with deep distress and emotional pain. As counterintuitive as it may sound to those on the outside, hurting yourself can make you feel better. In fact, you may feel like you have no choice. Injuring yourself is the only way you know how to cope with feelings like sadness, self-loathing, emptiness, guilt, and rage.

The problem is that the relief that comes from self-harming doesn’t last very long. It’s like slapping on a Band-Aid when what you really need are stitches. It may temporarily stop the bleeding, but it doesn’t fix the underlying injury. It also creates its own problems.

If you’re like most people who self-injure, you probably try to keep what you’re doing secret. Maybe you feel ashamed or maybe you just think that no one would understand. But hiding who you are and what you feel is a heavy burden. Ultimately, the secrecy and guilt affects your relationships with your friends and family members and the way you feel about yourself. It can make you feel even more lonely, worthless, and trapped.

Myths and facts about cutting and self-harm

Because cutting and other means of self-harm tend to be taboo subjects, the people around you—and possibly even you—may harbor serious misunderstandings about your motivations and state of mind. Don’t let these myths get in the way of getting help or helping someone you care about.

Myth: People who cut and self-injure are trying to get attention. 

Fact: The painful truth is that people who self-harm generally harm themselves in secret. They aren’t trying to manipulate others or draw attention to themselves. In fact, shame and fear can make it very difficult to come forward and ask for help.

Myth: People who self-injure are crazy and/or dangerous. 

Fact: It is true that many people who self-harm suffer from anxiety, depression, or a previous trauma—just like millions of others in the general population, but that doesn’t make them crazy or dangerous. Self-injury is how they cope. Sticking a label like “crazy” or “dangerous” on a person isn’t accurate or helpful.

Myth: People who self-injure want to die. 

Fact: People who self-injure usually do not want to die. When they self-harm, they are not trying to kill themselves—they are trying to cope with their problems and pain. In fact, self-injury may be a way of helping themselves go on living. However, in the long-term, people who self-injure have a much higher risk of suicide, which is why it’s so important to seek help.

Myth: If the wounds aren’t bad, it’s not that serious. 

Fact: The severity of a person’s wounds has very little to do with how much he or she may be suffering. Don’t assume that because the wounds or injuries are minor, there’s nothing to worry about.

Recognize the symptoms and warning signs

Self-harm includes anything you do to intentionally injure yourself. 

Some of the more common ways include:

cutting or severely scratching your skin

burning or scalding yourself

hitting yourself or banging your head

punching things or throwing your body against walls and hard objects

sticking objects into your skin

intentionally preventing wounds from healing

swallowing poisonous substances or inappropriate objects

Self-harm can also include less obvious ways of hurting yourself or putting yourself in danger, such as driving recklessly, binge drinking, taking too many drugs, and having unsafe sex.

Warning signs that a family member or friend is cutting or self-harming

Because clothing can hide physical injuries, and inner turmoil can be covered up by a seemingly calm disposition, self-injury can be hard to detect. However, there are red flags you can look for (but remember—you don’t have to be sure that you know what’s going on in order to reach out to someone you’re worried about):

Unexplained wounds or scars from cuts, bruises, or burns, usually on the wrists, arms, thighs, or chest.

Blood stains on clothing, towels, or bedding; blood-soaked tissues.

Sharp objects or cutting instruments, such as razors, knives, needles, glass shards, or bottle caps, in the person’s belongings.

Frequent “accidents.” Someone who self-harms may claim to be clumsy or have many mishaps, in order to explain away injuries.

Covering up. A person who self-injures may insist on wearing long sleeves or long pants, even in hot weather.

Needing to be alone for long periods of time, especially in the bedroom or bathroom.

Isolation and irritability.  

How does cutting and self-harm help?

In your own words

“It expresses emotional pain or feelings that I’m unable to put into words. It puts a punctuation mark on what I’m feeling on the inside!”

“It’s a way to have control over my body because I can’t control anything else in my life.”

“I usually feel like I have a black hole in the pit of my stomach, at least if I feel pain it’s better than feeling nothing. ”

“I feel relieved and less anxious after I cut. The emotional pain slowly slips away into the physical pain.”

It’s important to acknowledge that self-harm helps you—otherwise you wouldn’t do it. Some of the ways cutting and self-harming can help include:

Expressing feelings you can’t put into words or releasing the pain and tension you feel inside

Helping you feel in control, relieving guilt, or punishing yourself

Distracting you from overwhelming emotions or difficult life circumstances

Making you feel alive, or simply feel something, instead of feeling numb

Once you better understand why you self-harm, you can learn ways to stop self-harming, and find resources that can support you through this struggle.

If self-harm helps, why stop?

Although self-harm and cutting can give you temporary relief, it comes at a cost. In the long term, it causes far more problems than it solves.

The relief is short lived, and is quickly followed by other feelings like shame and guilt. Meanwhile, it keeps you from learning more effective strategies for feeling better.

Keeping the secret of self-harm is difficult and lonely. And it can have a detrimental effect on your relationships with friends and family members.

You can hurt yourself badly, even if you don’t mean to. It’s easy to misjudge the depth of a cut or end up with an infected wound.

You’re at risk for bigger problems down the line. If you don’t learn other ways to deal with emotional pain, you increase your risk of  major depression, drug and alcohol addiction, and suicide.

Self-harm can become addictive. It may start off as an impulse or something you do to feel more in control, but soon it feels like the cutting or self-harming is controlling you. It often turns into a compulsive behavior that seems impossible to stop.

The bottom line: self-harm and cutting don’t help you with the issues that made you want to hurt yourself in the first place. There are many other ways that the underlying issues that drive your self-harm can be managed or overcome.

Confide in someone

If you’re ready to get help for cutting or self-harm, the first step is to confide in another person. It can be scary to talk about the very thing you have worked so hard to hide, but it can also be a huge relief to finally let go of your secret and share what you’re going through.

Deciding whom you can trust with such personal information can be difficult. Choose someone who isn’t going to gossip or try to take control of your recovery. Ask yourself who in your life makes you feel accepted and supported. It could be a friend, teacher, religious leader, counselor, or relative. But you don’t necessarily have to choose someone you are close to.

Eventually, you’ll want to open up to your inner circle of friends and family members, but sometimes it’s easier to start by talking to an adult who you respect—such as a teacher, religious leader, or counselor—who has a little more distance from the situation and won’t find it as difficult to be objective.

Tips for talking about self-harm

Focus on your feelings. Instead of sharing detailed accounts of your self-harm behavior focus on the feelings or situations that lead to it. This can help the person you’re confiding in better understand where you’re coming from. It also helps to let the person know why you’re telling them. Do you want help or advice from them? Do you simply want another person to know so you can let go of the secret?

Communicate in whatever way you feel most comfortable. If you’re too nervous to talk in person, consider starting off the conversation with an email or letter (although it’s important to eventually follow-up with a face-to-face conversation). Don’t feel pressured into sharing things you’re not ready to talk about. You don’t have to show the person your injuries or answer any questions you don’t feel comfortable answering.  

Give the person time to process what you tell them. As difficult as it is for you to open up, it may also be difficult for the person you tell—especially if it’s a close friend or family member. Sometimes, you may not like the way the person reacts. Try to remember that reactions such as shock, anger, and fear come out of concern for you. It may help to print out this article for the people you choose to tell. The better they understand self-harm, the better able they’ll be to support you.

Talking about self-harm can be very stressful and bring up a lot of emotions. Don’t be discouraged if the situation feels worse for a short time right after sharing your secret. It’s uncomfortable to confront and change long-standing habits. But once you get past these initial challenges, you’ll start to feel better.

Need help for self-harm?

If you’re not sure where to turn, call the S.A.F.E. Alternatives information line in the U.S. at (800) 366-8288 for referrals and support for cutting and self-harm. For helplines in other countries, see Resources and References below.

In the middle of a crisis?

If you’re feeling suicidal and need help right now, read Suicide Help or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the U.S. at (800) 273-8255. For a suicide helpline outside the U.S., visit Befrienders Worldwide.

Figure out why you cut or self-harm

Understanding why you cut or self-harm is a vital first step toward your recovery. If you can figure out what function your self-injury serves, you can learn other ways to get those needs met—which in turn can reduce your desire to hurt yourself.

Identify your self-harm triggers

Remember, self-harm is most often a way of dealing with emotional pain. What feelings make you want to cut or hurt yourself? Sadness? Anger? Shame? Loneliness? Guilt? Emptiness?

Once you learn to recognize the feelings that trigger your need to self-injure, you can start developing healthier alternatives.

Get in touch with your feelings

If you’re having a hard time pinpointing the feelings that trigger your urge to cut, you may need to work on your emotional awareness. Emotional awareness means knowing what you are feeling and why. It’s the ability to identify and express what you are feeling from moment to moment and to understand the connection between your feelings and your actions. Feelings are important pieces of information that our bodies give to us, but they do not have to result in actions like cutting or other self-harming.

The idea of paying attention to your feelings—rather than numbing them or releasing them through self-harm—may sound frightening to you. You may be afraid that you’ll get overwhelmed or be stuck with the pain. But the truth is that emotions quickly come and go if you let them. If you don’t try to fight, judge, or beat yourself up over the feeling, you’ll find that it soon fades, replaced by another emotion. It’s only when you obsess over the feeling that it persists.

Find new coping techniques

Self-harm is your way of dealing with feelings and difficult situations. So if you’re going to stop, you need to have alternative ways of coping in place so you can respond differently when you start to feel like cutting or hurting yourself.

If you self-harm to express pain and intense emotions

Paint, draw, or scribble on a big piece of paper with red ink or paint

Start a journal in which to express your feelings

Compose a poem or song to say what you feel

Write down any negative feelings and then rip the paper up

Listen to music that expresses what you’re feeling

To calm and soothe yourself

Take a bath or hot shower

Pet or cuddle with a dog or cat

Wrap yourself in a warm blanket

Massage your neck, hands, and feet

Listen to calming music

Because you feel disconnected and numb

Call a friend (you don’t have to talk about self-harm)

Take a cold shower

Hold an ice cube in the crook of your arm or leg

Chew something with a very strong taste, like chili peppers, peppermint, or a grapefruit peel

Go online to a self-help website, chat room, or message board

To release tension or vent anger

Exercise vigorously—run, dance, jump rope, or hit a punching bag

Punch a cushion or mattress or scream into your pillow

Squeeze a stress ball or squish Play-Doh or clay

Rip something up (sheets of paper, a magazine)

Make some noise (play an instrument, bang on pots and pans)

Substitutes for the cutting sensation

Use a red felt tip pen to mark where you might usually cut

Rub ice across your skin where you might usually cut

Put rubber bands on wrists, arms, or legs, and snap them instead of cutting or hitting

Source: The Mental Health Foundation, UK

Professional treatment for cutting and self-harm

You may also need the help and support of a trained professional as you work to overcome the self-harm habit, so consider talking to a therapist. A therapist can help you develop new coping techniques and strategies to stop self-harming, while also helping you get to the root of why you cut or hurt yourself.

Remember, self-harm doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It exists in real life. It’s an outward expression of inner pain—pain that often has its roots in early life. There is often a connection between self-harm and childhood trauma.

Self-harm may be your way of coping with feelings related to past abuse, flashbacks, negative feelings about your body, or other traumatic memories. This may be the case even if you’re not consciously aware of the connection.

Finding the right therapist

Finding the right therapist may take some time. It’s very important that the therapist you choose has experience treating both trauma and self-injury. But the quality of the relationship with your therapist is equally important. Trust your instincts. If you don’t feel safe, respected, or understood, find another therapist.

There should be a sense of trust and warmth between you and your therapist. This therapist should be someone who accepts self-harm without condoning it, and who is willing to help you work toward stopping it at your own pace. You should feel at ease with him or her, even while talking through your most personal issues.

Helping a friend or family member who self-harms

Perhaps you’ve noticed suspicious injuries on someone close to you, or that person has admitted to you that he or she is cutting. Whatever the case may be, you may be feeling unsure of yourself. What should you say? How can you help?

Deal with your own feelings. You may feel shocked, confused, or even disgusted by self-harming behaviors—and guilty about admitting these feelings. Acknowledging your feelings is an important first step toward helping your loved one.

Learn about the problem. The best way to overcome any discomfort or distaste you feel about self-harm is by learning about it. Understanding why your friend or family member is self-injuring can help you see the world from his or her eyes.

Don’t judge. Avoid judgmental comments and criticism—they’ll only make things worse. The first two tips will go a long way in helping you with this. Remember, the self-harming person already feels ashamed and alone.

Offer support, not ultimatums. It’s only natural to want to help, but threats, punishments, and ultimatums are counterproductive. Express your concern and let the person know that you’re available whenever he or she wants to talk or needs support.

Encourage communication. Encourage your loved one to express whatever he or she is feeling, even if it’s something you might be uncomfortable with. If the person hasn’t told you about the self-harm, bring up the subject in a caring, non-confrontational way: “I’ve noticed injuries on your body, and I want to understand what you’re going through.”

If the self-harmer is a family member, prepare yourself to address difficulties in the family. This is not about blame, but rather about learning ways of dealing with problems and communicating better that can help the whole family.

Related HelpGuide articles

Coping with Emotional and Psychological Trauma: Dealing with Recent or Childhood Trauma So You Can Move On

Finding a Therapist Who Can Help You Heal: Getting the Most out of Therapy and Counseling

Quick Stress Relief: Using Your Senses to Relieve Stress On the Spot

Resources and references

General information about cutting and self-harm

Cutting – Article written for teens explains what cutting is, why people do it, how it starts, and where to go for help. (Nemours Foundation)

About Self-Harm: Why You Self-Harm and How to Seek Help – Get the facts about cutting and self-injury. Learn what purpose it serves and how you can overcome it. (Mind)

Self-Harm – Introduction to self-harm, including what makes people do it, danger signs, treatment, and things you can do to help yourself. (Royal College of Psychiatrists)

Self-help

How Can I Stop Cutting? – Offers strategies for resisting the urge to cut by planning ahead, distracting yourself, and finding other ways to express your feelings. (Nemours Foundation)

Reducing and Stopping Self-Harm – Explore the reasons you want to stop injuring yourself, examine the reasons behind your behavior, and learn how to stop, as well as deal with slip-ups. (Scar Tissue)

Coping Skills – Learn the coping skills that worked for one former self-injurer. Includes coping skills for staying in the present, for general wellness, and for replacing cutting. (Psyke.org)

Helpline and treatment referrals

Mind Infoline – Information on self-harm and a helpline to call in the UK at 0300 123 3393 or text 86463. (Mind)

Kids Help Phone – A helpline for kids and teens in Canada to call for help with any issue, including cutting and self-injury. Call 1-800-668-6868. (Kids Help Phone)

Kids Helpline – A helpline for kids and young adults in Australia to get help with issues including cutting and self-harm. Call 1800 55 1800. (Kids Helpline)

Helping a friend or family member

How Can I Help a Friend Who Cuts? – A guide for teens who are concerned about a friend who they learn is self-harming (Nemours Foundation)

Guidance for others – Series of downloadable factsheets with tips on how friends and family members can help someone who cuts or self-harms. (LifeSigns)

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/cutting-and-self-harm.htm

Where’d My Little Go…?

Submission isn’t supposed to be weak.  We don’t submit because we are frail & have no other choice but to have Another rule our daily life.  In fact, the choice to submit must be our own if it is to be meaningful at all.  Respect cannot be insitsted upon, nor can domination be demanded, neither aggressively nor passively.  Submission must be a choice.

When i was very new to the Lifestyle, 15 or so years ago, i had the dicotomy all wrong.  I bought into the falicy that i was supposed to be this shrinking violet, a fragile waif of a girl who should be thankful that a big, strong, capable man was offering to make all my sexual fantasies come true.  It was laughable…especially since i was then & always have been a very dominating personality in most of my interpersonal relationships.  I am a natural leader, a caregiver and a go-to gal.  I didn’t think that boded well for a submissive so i played those aspects of my personality waaaaay down for many years.

Now, i understand that any D-type with which i would want a deep relationship would not want a little lost girl as His s-type.  Brian has said time & time again that He doesn’t want a Stepford sub, someone incapable of leading herself.  

It is because of my strength that He is honored to dominate me.  He knows how vulnerable i am when i allow myself to be dominated, how much of my will i sacrifice for His on a daily basis & just what it means to me to relinquish that control.  He wouldn’t have anything to control if i had nothing to offer Him.  Other D-types may feel differently, but their feelings are of no consequence to me.

So, establishing that s-types are strong and capable, what happens when we don’t feel so strong…or when we don’t want to be strong??

I have heard s-types who identify as littles say it is abuse when their D-type tells them to be an adult.  I don’t feel that way, but i can understand their reasoning.  It’s very hard to accept being told to silence an aspect of yourself.  It’s even harder to have the topic ignored entirely.  

Sometimes tho, there is no time or place to be little in daily life.  Sometimes our D-types cannot be that safe, warm place in which we can hide or frolic…and that reality is a harsh one.  It can be difficult to let your little back out after so long adulting.  Vulnerability of that magnitude cannot be forced or dialed up on command.

So my question is this…  

What do you do in your dynamic when your Daddy isn’t Daddying and your submissive little is adulting?  How do you find that balance between work (service) & play (being little)?

~Beautifully Broken~