*Trigger warning: This post involves self-mutiliation, the discussion of blood, and the mental effects associated.
What is your opinion about the relationship between self-injury & masochism?
There are very few people in my life that know about my history with self-mutilation and how it led me to masochism. I have written previously about masochism and how it is incorporated into my life in my post Hurt me like you mean it.
At 19 yrs. old I made a self-discovery that would continue to feed into my life in ways I would never imagine. I was shaving in the shower like many women do. I cut my leg right above the ankle bone, you always know when you do as the pain is sharp and immediate. The cut then proceeds to bleed like a stuck pig, running down the tub to the drain to be washed away forever. This one particular memory will never fade for me.
I had just broken up with my first boyfriend and despite how I wanted to feel, I was still heartbroken. I wanted the pain that I had caused him to wash down the drain just as the blood had. Even when you are the person crushing someone else’s heart it still hurts. I didn’t want to feel anything just as I didn’t want him to feel anything.
The immediate physical pain I felt after that nick was a relief in a way. The physical pain took away the mental anguish, the guilt. I stood there in the hot shower and just watched it trail to the drain. I was desperate for all of my emotions and feelings to go the same way as the blood.
Curiosity got a hold of me at this point. Wrapped in a towel I put a band-aid on my ankle so i didn’t leave marks on the linoleum. I went into the bedroom and pulled out my box cutter from work. I always had a new back up razor blade just in case the one I had in went dull. I pulled out the new blade and discarded the cardboard sheath it was encased in. I went back into the bathroom and sat on the counter by the sink. I doused the blade in rubbing alcohol and let it dry. If I was going to experiment I didn’t want to give myself any secondary infections. Once dry I put a little pressure on the blade as it neatly sliced my skin on the inside of my forearm. It stung but quickly faded as I watched the little beads of blood surface. I was mesmerized. I made another small cut and it had the same effect.
Once I made the two cuts I stopped. I washed the blade in soap and hot water and dried it off. I laid it on the counter behind the sink basin in case I became ‘curious’ again. I covered the small cuts and waited for them to heal. It was only a matter of days when I tried this again. This time it was the opposite arm. I’m naturally right handed so cutting with my left hand was a bit more challenging. The cuts were not as precise and the pressure was a bit different. I still felt the relief though. Each time I performed this ritual I added a cut in order to achieve the release I craved.
I began wearing longer sleeves to work even in the heat of summer. I used the excuse that my arms were constantly burning in the sun so covering them was better than sunblock. I wasn’t dating anyone at this point so it was easy to brush off any comments.
This continued for about 6 months until I got “caught”. My coworker/friend discovered my secret. We had hung out after work many times and I was pretty enthralled with him. We were leaving work and I had gotten upset over something involving a customer. I rushed out of the door to my car; I needed to get home so I could get rid of the emotions. He called after me but I ignored him. I knew it wasn’t healthy but by this point I couldn’t stop. I had to make more and more cuts to make myself numb. I would tell myself over and over this is the last time, but it never was, I was addicted.
My cell phone rang several times. I knew it was him but I ignored the phone and just kept making more little cuts. I was careful to never cut too deep and never near my wrists. I didn’t want to die, I just wanted to stop feeling the guilt. I wasn’t enough for anyone. I couldn’t be loved. Someone who does this to themselves shouldn’t be loved. People who hurt others shouldn’t be trusted with their hearts. I heard these voices like a chant until enough cuts made them stop.
The pounding on my apartment door yanked me out of my trance. I waited until the pounding stopped. I got off the counter, washed my blade and put in back in it’s place behind the sink basin. The pounding started again, this time he called out for me to open the door. I got angry, my face flushed and I started shaking. I threw on my long sleeve shirt and yanked open the door. He rushed in and hugged me. I tried to pull away and as I pulled he grabbed my forearms. My wince was pretty evident as these cuts were only minutes old. He pushed up my sleeves as I screamed at him to stop.
The look on his face is something else I won’t ever forget. It wasn’t judgmental, it was the look of “why?”. Like he could feel every ounce of pain that poured out of these little cuts. He stood there, holding me, and asking why I needed to do this to myself. I didn’t answer, my mind went blank. I started shaking again so he grabbed my blanket off the couch, wrapped me up and walked me to his car. I don’t remember the ride, I had no idea where we were going.
When the car stopped it was in front of his house. I was ushered inside and down to the basement. His roommate was a nurse at one of the local hospitals. I heard them talking but I couldn’t make out what was being said. The shaking got worse and my teeth started to chatter. There it was, the only word I could hear them say, “Shock. She is in shock.” I remember him standing in front of me, asking if I understood him. I nodded but I had no idea what he actually said. He took my blanket and slowly undressed me down to my underwear, wrapped me back up in my blanket and laid me down. Pillows went under my feet and another blanket over me. They took one arm out of the blanket and started cleaning all my little cuts. One arm cleaned then wrapped and put back inside the blanket, then they moved to the other arm and gave it the same treatment. I stopped shaking. He slowly sat me up and sat down behind me, pulled me against his chest and held me.
This was the last time I cut myself. Honestly and truly the last time. I spoke to him about it and he never judged me. He did help me get into therapy too. He understood that this behavior wasn’t for attention, this was my coping mechanism for the guilt, sadness, anger, and every other emotion I just couldn’t process.
I went to therapy even though I questioned if it was going to help me. I’m not proud to say that after the first month or so I still felt unfulfilled so I began to engage in other activities. I never got into drugs or excessive drinking, I got into sex and a lot of it. I tried to replace the cutting with rough sex. I still dated my coworker but neither of us were ready for anything monogamous. He continued to help me in every way he could, including my introduction to BDSM. He began with spanking as it was his favorite. He knew how emotionally fragile I was so we started off extremely slow.
The first time he gave me a real spanking, not just a spanking during sex, I was bent over the side of the bed. He told me how many swats on each cheek he was going to give and if at any point I wanted him to stop to say ‘banana’. I laughed and he swatted my backside. It startled me and I stopped laughing. He paused and asked if I wanted him to continue. I nodded and he swatted the other side. Again, he asked if I was okay. After I said yes he continued with the spanking. When he finished my ass was burning hot, he rubbed some type of cream on it massaging it in. I heard his pants unzip and he spread my legs farther out and he plunged into me. I had no idea how turned on I was until he entered me. I could feel how sensitive my bum was every time it hit his thighs. I reveled in it. I found something that made me feel so good and help me let go of the emotional turmoil of the day.
Some may tell you that I didn’t handle my self-injury phase as I should have. I should have stuck with therapy and tried to find more “positive behaviors” to help me process my emotions. To those people, I give a huge dose of mind your own business. Therapy did teach me how to process my emotions without breaking down, but it couldn’t give me the physical pain I needed that would release the pent up frustration. He understood this about me. He wasn’t upset or angry when I stopped going to therapy. He knew that people deal with emotions in many different ways. BDSM became my therapy. Masochism is a small part of this lifestyle, but it holds the most important part for me.
Hi, My name is….., and I am a masochist.