“My boyfriend is freaked out that I cut myself”

I’m 18, and my boyfriend is almost 23. We’ve been together over a year, and I have problems with wild emotions and mediocre depression, serious anxiety, and general bad emotional management.

Six months ago, I cut myself. By cut, I mean one small scratch across my wrist that scabbed and scarred — really nothing serious.

However, the principle of self-harm really upset my boyfriend, and he made me promise not to do it again. Of course, I said I wouldn’t, because I really believed I didn’t need to, and it hadn’t made me feel better, so why would I?

But here we are — we had another outrageously painful fight, and I did the same thing again. Except now, I can’t brush it off with “it was a one time thing,” because it clearly wasn’t.

I can’t not tell him, because he will find out. But how do I convince him that this doesn’t mean all the improvements I’ve made in taking control of my crazy emotions were a loss? If I did it twice, I can do it again, but that will obviously put unfair strain on our relationship.

So what do I do? What do I tell him? Do I say I’ll get better? That’s not enough anymore, because that’s what I said last time. Is there some kind self-harm recovery tactic I can “implement” and use to show him I’m taking action? Or is that a waste of my time?

Is the real issue my emotions? How do I show him this doesn’t erase all the progress I’ve made when I very clearly broke a promise to him?

I don’t know what to do. I can’t bear the idea of him feeling like self-harm is going to become a problem for me. I can’t bear the idea of how upset he’s going to be. I need something to prove he doesn’t need to give up on me.

4 thoughts on ““My boyfriend is freaked out that I cut myself”

  1. Rebecca Sullins says:

    You’re depressed, emotional, and cutting yourself… and you’re worried about what your boyfriend thinks? Really think about that for a second. I’m going to take your BF out of this equation for a minute, because in the grand scheme of your problems, he doesn’t matter.

    You need to get some help. Whether it be talk therapy or better living through chemistry. You think this is a small issue, but it’s not. You’re 18. It’s only going to get worse.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m pleased you posted on here- cutting and other self harming behaviors are more prevalent than people realize, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) may be a great option for you. The focus is to regulate emotions when you find them too overwhelming by distraction, coping and acceptance. You can typically find DBT support groups in most areas. You’re 18, and if you work on this now you will find tools that will benefit you a lifetime. Best of luck- Karen

  3. Jenn says:

    I think you should talk to someone. Even if you don’t think it’s a big deal, your boyfriend is upset because he cares about you and he doesn’t want you to hurt yourself. Caring is not a bad thing. Feel better 🙂

  4. Dennis Hong says:

    I see two separate issues, and given your issues with anxiety, I think you need to separate the two and deal with each on its own:

    The first issue — and the far more important one — is your cutting. I think you’ve already gotten some good advice on that, so I don’t have anything to add there, except to stress that this is the main issue, so please do get help for it.

    The second issue is your relationship with your boyfriend, and the way he reacted to you cutting yourself. To be blunt, it’s kind of shitty of him to make you “promise” that you won’t do it again. If you suffer from severe anxiety and depression, this isn’t something that you can just turn off, and he seems to be more on the judgmental than the understanding or supportive side on this. You have enough emotional difficulties already, and the last thing you need is your boyfriend making you worry even more.

    For this reason, I think you might also want to assess whether you and he are good together. If spending time with him only exacerbates your delicate emotional state, then I’m not sure he’s a good match for you.

    Of course, I know it wouldn’t be easy to just walk away from a relationship. But at least think about whether being with him makes you feel better or worse. Because right now, it seems like it’s the latter …

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