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What is the safest way to cope?

For those who no longer turn to SH or other forms of coping that aren’t neccessarily healthy, what are some safe ways you have found to cope that might give the same relief?
For a triggering example: my family and their surrounding community have always turned to physical reprimands for things they have done wrong and their children have done wrong.
I still feel the thoughts that if I make a mistake then I need to be punished, but I also have this side that wants to break from that and not pass it on to others in my life. In a way I feel like I deserve punishment, but want to do it in a more healthy way, or is that completely unhealthy all together. If so, then what ways do you combat the negative feelings of doing wrong?
Thank you all for your support and love through this x

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Hi @Bimini :hrtlegolove:

Very unhealthy. No one, including yourself can make you feel bad enough to do good things. Why do you think you need punishment?

I haven’t intentionally shelf harmed since 2007. I went thru a lot of talk therapy and self discovery before I could come to terms with the idea that I didn’t deserve to hurt myself and that it wasn’t making me feel better, it was actually making things worse. Feelings of shame and judgement etc. It’s an addiction, so you just get stuck.

Now I use mindfulness skills. Distraction and being in the moment… I’ll go outside and sit in the sun and just breathe and focus on the sounds around me. I have found that if you can wait for 20 mins after you get that strong urge to harm yourself and do something to distract yourself, that urge will pass. You’ll be able to cope better then.

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From: eloquentpetrichor (Discord)

Hello, Bimini! I’m glad you are here sharing with us. I want you to know that I don’t believe we need to be physically punished when we do things we see as bad. Oftentimes they are not really bad things. Have you asked yourself why you think you need to be punished? paragraph break I don’t want to give you advice on ways to punish yourself. I would rather you find forgiveness for yourself. Do you know Harry Potter? If so think of Dobby. If not maybe look into it. This is from the second book. Dobby kept trying to punish himself for things that he was doing good. Harry kept pulling him away and stopping him. Maybe imagine your own Harry. Someone who pulls you away and stops you because they know you don’t deserve the punishment. I hope you think about that some and find peace within yourself :hrtlegolove: :hrtlegolove:

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From: Lisalovesfeathers (Discord)

Hi Friend, I found your post really interesting as I dont think for a moment that you are ever deserving of any physical reprimand for things you may or may not have done wrong which makes this quite difficult.
i think if you feel you have made a mistake you can apologise and learn from it , that is the healthy way to manage doing things wrong. I do not want you to ever mistreat yourself in any way friend, if that is what has happened in the past then please know that, that is wrong and doesnt need to continue. Much Love Lisa.

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Hey friend.
In that moment you feel undeserving and needing to punish yourself is when you need to do something to look after yourself the most.
Journaling, a hot bubble bath, video game time with friends or whatever your thing is is what you need to do in times you feel you need to punish yourself to get your mind set to change around :heart:

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Thank you all for your replies. I just am going through a little dark place right now that’s all.
I’m trying to keep it concealed and quiet because it’s a lot of pressure for my partner to deal with.

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I’m trying to keep it concealed and quiet because it’s a lot of pressure for my partner to deal with.

I hope you know that it doesn’t have to be concealed and quiet here at least. You can write and share as much as you want and as much as you need. On the contrary, in-depth conversations generally helps everyone to both express things that sometimes can’t be said “in real life”, and for people who want to help to understand more the situation.

All in all, know that none of this will ever be too much for this community to deal with. You are loved as you are, and we are willing to navigate these hardships with you.

I still feel the thoughts that if I make a mistake then I need to be punished, but I also have this side that wants to break from that and not pass it on to others in my life. In a way I feel like I deserve punishment, but want to do it in a more healthy way, or is that completely unhealthy all together. If so, then what ways do you combat the negative feelings of doing wrong?

There is a lot of strength in this inner dialogue that you have. This is growth happening. You are aware of what was wrong, you are aware of how you were somehow conditioned to think and feel in some situations, and about yourself. You are not imprisoned by it anymore - you are fully aware of it from the outside. Still it is about years of “conditioning”, which can’t be unlearned suddenly. It takes time. And for now, you still have a foot on each side - one that is made of old patterns, and another one seeking for something different, motivated by the realization of an injustice happening.

As for your question, I would encourage you to journal this inner dialogue that you have, and explore it as much as possible. It may seem pointless at first, but the more you acknowledge these changes hapenning inside of your mind and heart, the more you will strengthen this voice that knows what is fair or not in these situations.

The issue is the feeling of deserving punishment. You might need to challenge that feeling when it arises, rather than trying to respond to it but differently. When you feel that way, try to ask yourself what caused it. Ask yourself what you actually need at the moment - which is not punishment, but more likely understanding, learning, and love if it’s about a mistake you’ve made.

Feeling like you are not allowed to make mistakes also stems from an ideal of having to be perfect in any circumstance. Learning to give yourself grace and credit for your efforts, for your actual growth, is also part of defeating this thought that you would deserve punishment. You’re a human being. You’re allowed to make mistakes and fail. We learn from failure. We grow thanks to it. Learning how and when it is appropriate to create some positive reinforcement - rather than blame and shame -, is probably also part of what would be needed for you to overcome these thoughts patterns. Take the time on a regular basis to acknowledge your progress, no matter what it is. Take the time to see the steps you take, and reward yourself for them - do something you like, or eat something you like, whatever, but try to do it intentionally. The more you cultivate these actions that are meant to reinforce your worth, the more you will walk away from this need to punish yourself. It is possible to learn to both acknowledge and accept our imperfection without punishing yourself because of it.

As for another idea, I would encourage you to create a folder (or a box) with reminders of all the love that people have for you, and things that remind you what you are proud of. What are the accomplishments in your life that are meaningful to you and that you might shy away from? What are the things you could celebrate about yourself? Having physical reminders of it can be something to use when you feel the need to hurt yourself. It’s okay to have a folder on your desktop that you’d name “you’re doing a great job”, filled with words of people you love and/or things you’ve done, things that remind you how worthy you are, and that you never cease to learn and progress in your life.

Finally, I would encourage you to have a look at the workbook Rewrite provided by HeartSupport. The root causes behind a personal need to self-harm are to be explored in this book, with practical steps to take in order to get out of not just the habit itself, but also the thought patterns behind it. If you’re interested by it, you can have a look at the #ReWrite category of the forum, that would already give you an idea of the content through the chapters questions. We are more than willing to support you through this journey if you are willing to use that tool in the future. There is also a part dedicated to loved ones to guide them regarding how to help and to take care of themselves too. Maybe it could be a great tool for your boyfriend as well? Just to help improving your dialogue together when it’s about this, and setting a common ground made of love, patience and grace.

No pressure/no obligation. Really just indicating that this tool exists too.

https://forum.heartsupport.com/tags/c/growth/61/rewrite

I believe in you. :hrtlegolove:

PS - Sorry for this messy/scattered reply. Having a hard time to collect my thoughts. Hope it makes sense though.

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Yes and I should know that, but my mind goes to freak out mode and tells me to get a grip and take control

Yes to this very much so. It’s a bit of a battle internally and I struggle to find the balance and to know if other people would see my failing as a big deal or not. For a long time everything was the same level of fail/bad ect. So it got dealt with the same way.

I do like your idea of saving all the comments. Sometimes it’s easy to brush off things my partner says because it’s like “you have to be nice to me” haha, but at the same time I find myself questioning why he is.

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Hey there @Bimini,

Just a late response, but I wanted to thank you for your own reply. I really appreciated you sharing those thoughts. It means a lot. <3

Yes and I should know that, but my mind goes to freak out mode and tells me to get a grip and take control

And that is okay. Regarding HS specifically, I’ve been around for now three years, but I’ve spent an entire year lurking on the Twitch streams. I was afraid of speaking and being visible. I also couldn’t believe that this place was real. Like: how can strangers say “I love you” to each other and meaning it. I thought that it had to be a sect of some kind. I just found that very suspicious. But… that’s also how it is when we haven’t been used to show our vulnerable sides - and to see the ones of others. It’s weird… it’s uncomfortable, even almost embarrassing. Just a big no, no, no.

Rest assured that this place won’t change in terms of values, safety, care and respect. You grow at your own pace too. You take the steps you want, whenever you can. It’s already admirable and inspiring that you’ve managed to overcome these fears here with this thread. Thank you for allowing yourself to be vulnerable and honest here. I understand how precious that is, and wanted to acknowledge that again today.

You are loved.

I hope you’re taking good care of yourself too. :heart:

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