Making Comparisons

I self harm but not deep at all, mainly only surface level but it does help me.

The partner im with has self harmed in the past and when I do it, he’s extremely caring and loving but keeps comparing it to his self harming.

He makes me feel like the way I do it isn’t a issue because it’s only surface level and not that deep and I’m realising now that when I do it, I’ve been going deeper.

I feel like because mine arnt as bad as his, it makes it less important or less of a issue. I shouldn’t compare but it makes me feel horrible and I’m not too sure why.

How would I bring this up to him? is this normal or am I being horrible for comparing and why do I feel the need to go deeper?


Hi @Hermitcrab

I’m sorry that you’re having issues like this. I want to ask you a question. You said that self harming “does” help you. Can you explain how it helps you?

I self harmed for a long time and I can’t think of one way it helped me.

You stopped self harming for 3 months awhile back, why did you stop? What helped you to not self harm during that time?

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Hey @Hermitcrab,

It is sometimes really challenging to define self-harming - or our struggles in general - without feeling like we might be just “emotional” or simply dismiss the reality of how we feel. Comparing doesn’t make you a horrible person, and from what I hear it is your partner who actually compares and has made you start entering in this cycle of comparision. The fact that it makes you feel horrible is absolutely understandable, because somehow the message it conveys is to dismiss how you feel and the reality of your pain.

Oftentimes a reason why we compare our struggles is because it’s just hard to admit it for what it is, and even more to make room for how we feel. We can be tempted to say “others have it way worse than me”, “I shouldn’t complain”, “I’m not that unlucky or struggling”. It’s kind of a way to gaslight ourselves, which can become, in your situation for example, a justification to do more and dive even deeper into our struggles, until it feels “real” enough.

Truth is: struggles can never be compared, because it always take place in a unique context, for a unique individual. There is no scale of suffering. A person who self-harms can do it only on a surface level, or not often, but still feeling the urge to cope that way when they feel distressed. Someone who is struggling with anorexia for example doesn’t have to be extremely underweight to be in a critical condition mentally. A person addicted to a substance won’t necessarily show the physical signs we expect them to display most of the time. It’s all different for each person, and through it all, the pain that stems from these habits is valid for each person. It’s completely subjective and can’t ever be compared.

I would recommend you to have a look at one of HS resources, which is the workbook Rewrite - a workbook about self-harm addressed both to people struggling with it and their loved ones. I have read it in the past, and I personally think that it could actually be a very good resource to open a healthier communication between you and your boyfriend regarding this specific topic.

On a different note, if there is trust and a healthy communication between you, then simply explaining how it makes you feel when he compares you to him, as honestly and lovingly as possible, is really the simplest thing to do. If he gets upset, then it would display some issues he would need to work on, with himself. Actually when he compares your self-harm to yours, he is doing it for himself and for some reason that is about his insecurities. It’s not about you. You, on your end, have the right to express when something makes you uncomfortable or brings you onto a path you don’t want. Your struggles are valid. It is not reflected by how many marks you’d have on your body or how deep it would be.

The question behind your situation is: when would be your pain valid enough to be seen as such? I can promise you, it is already, and it doesn’t need more harm than it is. Your partner may have his own definition and perception of self-harm, but that doesn’t invalidate yours either. The next steps will be for you to learn what’s behind this habit, and finding new ways to cope with emotions that might overwhelm you sometimes.

Hold Fast. :hrtlegolove:


From: Lisalovesfeathers

Hi Friend, thank you for your post, Can I ask in what way he compares, is it literal? or is it just a feeling you are getting because no that is not at all normal and if it is making you want to go deeper then you should bring it up as boldly as you can as quickly as you can in my opinion. When it comes to cutting up your own body there is no waiting to be careful and gentle unless its with yourself and what you are doing with whatever object you are doing it with. Tell him that what ever is happening between you in having a negative imapct and it has to stop. Im sorry for being so blunt but I think you pysically hurting yourself more each time is far worse than bringing up a conversation. I do not want you to be hurt thats all. Much Love Lisa. xx


From: Micro

Hey there friend. Just willing to check in with you today. How are you doing since you’ve posted this? Both regarding your self-harm and your relationship. I’d love to hear some updates from you if you’re okay with it - whether it is positive or not, it’s all good. No judgment.

You are loved and cared for very much. Here if you need as well. hrtLegoLove

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From: SuchBlue

Hi Hermitcrab,
I don’t think you’re at fault for ‘comparing’, if I were in the same situation I would probably do the same thing since our brain kinda forces us to do that. You shouldn’t hesitate for bringing it up to him, it’s so that you become a better person and there’s nothing wrong with that :slightly_smiling_face:

We try to find an excuse for something we’re addicted to doing, so we temporarily don’t make ourselves feel guilty for doing it (which also leads us to doing it more and in your case, go deeper). When you’re in that situation it’s completely normal to do that and that doesn’t make you a bad person. With all this said, I hope you stop self-harming and a better future life :hrtlegolove:


I just want to stop by and tell you that comparing things like self harm or any other form of addiction or mental health is not beneficial for anyone. Everyone copes differently, everyone struggles differently. You are unique and you don’t have to feel guilty about your struggles.
It’s something we all have to learn. It doesn’t matter if someone else is “worse off”, your struggles are valid.

Micro said it beautifully!

Let us know how you’re going

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