When I have visible marks from dermatillomania, this is how I feel when others see me:
I feel ashamed
I feel not normal
I feel embarrassed
I feel exposed
I feel disappointed
I feel angry
I feel frustrated
I feel self-pity
I feel scared
I feel vulnerable
I feel like running away/hiding.
When no one sees the marks I feel:
I feel Fine
I feel that I like myself
I feel I want to help myself heal
I feel like it doesn’t matter
Why is it that I experience myself differently when I am alone and when I am with people? I think the common misconception is that it is the people that are causing me to feel these negative emotions. But the truth is that if it exists inside of me, no one put it there but myself. So, in essence, when I am alone, I am better able to hide from those negative experiences that are brought up when I am with other people. When I am with other people I feel like they are judging me for what I have done to myself. However, what I can see is that it has nothing to do with people outside of myself, I can’t know what is going on in their minds. But I do know very well what is going on in my own mind.
So basically, when I am placed in a situation where I am with others, I am being shown how I am in fact judging myself, and what it is that I accept and allow to feel, think or believe about myself already.
The interesting thing here that can be used as self-support is the fact that, when I am with other people, I am more strict with myself. I am more ‘motivated’ to stop and really apply myself due to not wanting to experience these negative things. I can see more clearly what it is that skin-picking is doing to me, my life, and my self-relationship.
So I see that I can make a re-alignment here wherein I stop making it about ‘other people’ and how ‘they’ are making me feel, and instead make it about ME, and how I feel about myself, and how I create a heaviness, burden, tension and stress.
I have walked this point in this blog specifically, and touched upon it in many others, where I see that I have used makeup/concealer/cover up to present a ‘normal’ picture presentation of myself and function in the world normally. This can be like hiding from facing myself, but I see that as long as I am using and applying it IN AWARENESS of what I am covering up and why, I can still bring my reactions back to myself and take responsibility for them. I still know what I do and how I live, and I will not hide that from myself.
What I have seen in terms of these reactions still coming up to this day however, is because deep down, on a much deeper level, I can SEE and I KNOW that I am not applying myself as much as I could be to stop this disorder. I know that I accept and allow it in moments where I am alone and don’t have to face it by reflecting it off of others. I see that I do not push discipline and self-movement when I don’t really have to do it for anyone else.
So here I ask myself, why do I value doing it for others above and beyond doing it for me? Shouldn’t I be the most important reason? Shouldn’t I be even more motivated and disciplined to do it for myself, and then as an outflow of this, be able to be cool and satisfied with myself around others as well? I see that the message I am giving to myself when I do it in reverse, where I do it for others first to avoid feeling bad, instead of doing it for myself first to be able to know that I am stable and doing everything possible to support myself, I am sending the message that I am not as important, not good enough, not worth it. I am saying that I only value myself through others, through their validation of me.
The point and realization here is that I need to start doing this for myself first, not just in my mind as a realization, but in my living actions. Even if it doesn’t feel like it right away, I see that when I push myself for ME, such as in moments where I am alone and I know I can ‘get away’ with it, but I instead decide to stand and take supportive actions and move myself, that those are the most empowering moments on so many levels. Things such as stopping, even after some damage is done, AND being GRATEFUL to myself for stopping, and not just looking at my fall for having succumbed for a moment. Things such as making a commitment and sticking to it, even if I fall or miss a day, to forgive myself and stand back up, showing appreciation and gentleness, cause I am learning. Things like making myself look and feel nice for me, even if I am just alone with myself at the time.
If I don’t do these types of things for myself, I can already see that I will waste so much of my life hiding, isolating myself and diminishing myself in my life and living. This is not the life I would choose for myself, or anyone for that matter. I choose to stand, and I choose to live out the actions that tell me directly that I see and realize that I am in fact worth it, and that only I can bring out that worth that is already inherently there.
This can only be shown and proven to self in living actions, because that is the evidence that what I am saying is for real. I can and have spent many moments up in my mind about how I want to change, value myself and show me that I am worth it, and I can get quite emotional about it. But unless I actually SHOW myself by ACTING on it, creating visible evidence and proof for myself in my life, it will only ever remain in my mind, acting instead as a form of dis-empowerment, because I have realized it, but not taken the initiative to do anything about it. This is where I create shame, embarrassment, hiding, disappointment, sadness, anger, frustration and self-pity, all of the things I feel when I am seen by others. It is not them; it is all me and who and how I decide to be every day.