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This is F#cking ridiculous


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So I suffer from dermatillimania (sp?). I pop my zits. Typically a lot of them. It grosses out my SO who says it hurts him. I get that. But I see no real reason to stop. It is immensely satisfying and I don't particularly care about the scarring. I told him that the only thing that could be a greater reward would be to have sex more often. Right now, we do it once every other month. I am going crazy. So the relief that I don't get from sex, I get from picking.

So now my SO says that I am "self mutilating" and that that is a clear sign of me having a bipolar episode. He has threatened to call my shrink and the police and to have me institutionalized. He has also threatened to call my ex-husband to tell him of my "mental state", presumably to indicate that I can't take care of my kids.

Now, I'm not particularly concerned. I am presently at work being very productive and I'm calm. I highly doubt the police will take me in on a 5150. Not to mention, right now my skin is clear as I have picked very little in the last week.

So although I'm not worried, I am fucking PISSED. I don't like being accused of having an episode when I very clearly am not. So to take a break from the haranguing, I turned off my phone and shut down facebook. Now the only way he can contact me is through email (which I will also shut off as necessary) and to call me at work.

There, thanks for letting me vent. Any thoughts? Right now I am too pissed to even talk to him.

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Sounds like something is going on with SO. I pick at my zits too, but my DH just laughs and calls it core drilling. also the lack of interest in sex on his part (if I understood your posts correctly). Is he dx'ed with anything?

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Self-harm can be a sign of all kinds of things: OCD,PTSD, DID, BPD, the list goes on. He isn't a clinician and isn't qualified to diagnose you.

That said, have you told your pdoc or tdoc about the self-harm? It sounds like it IS a problem in your life if it is affecting your relationship with your SO this way. Self-harm is not benign.

I understand the feelings of loss of control when people discover your self-harm. They want you to stop. It hurts them. It's no longer a secret. Your SO's threats are totally inappropriate, but reflect his level of care for you. It's not the way to help you stop, of course. Perhaps educating him or bringing him to an appointment would help him understand and learn how to cope by setting his own boundaries.

Lastly, swapping a self-harm addiction for a sex addiction isn't really healthy either. It sounds like your need for the feelings sex produces as a replacement for the feelings self-harm induces is a potential problem

Good luck.

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I understand the feelings of loss of control when people discover your self-harm. They want you to stop. It hurts them. It's no longer a secret. Your SO's threats are totally inappropriate, but reflect his level of care for you. It's not the way to help you stop, of course.

This. His reaction does show that he cares a lot about you, his heart's in the right place. BUT it's not the way to help really.

Maybe try explaining this to him? "Thanks for your concern, but I personally don't feel it's a sign of an episode, and I don't find your threats helpful"...?

(Also, if wanting sexual relief more than every other month is a sign of addiction, then I'm right in there with you! :unsure: )

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I don't think wanting to have sex more than once every 2 months constitutes a sex addiction.

Nor do I. I'm more interested in how she described the feelings that come with self-harm (which she's doing regularly all day) and those that come with sex as a replacement. At that rate, it WOULD be a sex addiction.

What's going on with her current sex life is another issue entirely.

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come ON, self-harm? and sex-addicition? are they really ruining your life?

to me it sounds like SO has worse problems than you...like co-dependency, and control issues, and witholding can be a form of sex addiction

ain't judgn, just sayn

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come ON, self-harm? and sex-addicition? are they really ruining your life?

to me it sounds like SO has worse problems than you...like co-dependency, and control issues, and witholding can be a form of sex addiction

ain't judgn, just sayn

We aren't here to compare people's troubles and decide who has it "worse". Belittling the damage and pain that SI can cause is not something I want to see around here.

Edited by tryp
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So now my SO says that I am "self mutilating" and that that is a clear sign of me having a bipolar episode. He has threatened to call my shrink and the police and to have me institutionalized. He has also threatened to call my ex-husband to tell him of my "mental state", presumably to indicate that I can't take care of my kids.

<snip>

There, thanks for letting me vent. Any thoughts? Right now I am too pissed to even talk to him.

I will admit to not knowing a lot about Dermatillomania although I know more now that I've looked it up. Even before looking it up, I can tell you that it has nothing to do with BP mania. I know BP mania and I'm sure of myself on this one. It might have the word "mania" in it but it isn't BP. I can't find the root word but I'm confident that the "mania" part of the word is not BP mania. It appears from what I've read that it is an impulse control problem of some type. It isn't OCD or SI, although you can have any number of comorbidities (as we all know). I'm sure you already know all this but others may not. I didn't.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Pardon me but YOUR SO IS AN IDIOT. There, at least now I feel better. :) He wants to put you in the hospital for this? Is he stupid? I mean, maybe if you had some sort of infection because of it, sure. Hospital is for if you're a danger to yourself or others. This does not meet the criteria.

Does your SO even understand Dermatillomania? Maybe you could give him some Web sites so he could better understand the disorder. I have to admit, I'm pissed at him for you. He is clueless. Could something else be going on? I'm thinking with sex six times/year that you guys have other issues. It might be easier for him to blame you than to really examine what is going on.

I'm stopping now. IMO, you have every reason to be pissed. I'm pissed at him and I don't even know either one of you.

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I see people writing responses moving to label behaviors that the OP might not agree with...

Popping zits/skin picking described by OP as dermatillomania got tagged "self harming". I don't think its the same category for the OP.

Wanting more regular sex in a primary relationship got tagged "sex addiction". I also disagree that this is what the OP intended.

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Guest Vapourware

I think when someone is really concerned about a loved one, then they can act in ways that seem inappropriate but are done out of concern. I guess it's a matter whether or not the picking is that bad because sometimes we can lack insight into our conditions. That's not someone anyone here can discern, so perhaps it's best for a third party to assess the situation.

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I apologize. I thought this was posted on self-harm. Self excoriation to the point of leaving scars can also be a form of self harm, not just a compulsion or an impulse control issue.

I did not make the connection between the satisfaction of continual excoriation and that of sexual release; the OP did. Given the intensity of the OP's feelings about it, it suggested possible sexual addiction to me. This is a totally separate issue from her SO's lack of interest in sex. Saying that you are going to keep excoriating and scarring yourself unless you get more sex is not a healthy equation. My suggestion was that she explore these issues with a qualified clinician.

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Woah there!

The OP is a person, who is not gross or another diagnostic puzzle. This is a person in a difficult spot who deserves a little compassion.

Bluechick, is there a professional you trust that you could talk to about this? I have acne and I am guilty of picking, sometimes moreso when I am stressed. I get it. It sounds like you have a lot on your mind and you need some emotional support.

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All I can say is that I picked at my skin A LOT when I was not being properly treated for my BP and GAD. Once I got those out-of-control feelings out of the way, I stopped spending a significant time in the bathroom picking my skin. I rarely do it now, unless I have a whitehead (I can't stand those, and thankfully don't get them often)

So perhaps you should take this more along the lines as untreated or under treated MI and talk to your pdoc about this.

While I don't think you have a sex addiction, substituting your sexual desires for picking at your face is not a healthy coping mechanism. You should discuss ways to distract and redirect your feelings to something less personally destructive.

While I believe your SO cares about you (he is concerned, after all, and is trying to get you to stop - only people who don't give a shit let things slide) he is taking the wrong approach. Threats such as he is making are ridiculous and empty. No court is going to take away your children or involuntarily commit you for picking at your skin. But it does sound like you both need to sit down and have a rational discussion about what is bothering you, bothering him, and come up with some compromises.

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I have acne and I am guilty of picking, sometimes moreso when I am stressed. I get it.

Just wanted to add: I have always had dry skin and small bumpy blemishes on my upper arms. When I was a little kid I scratched them quite a lot, because running my hand over bumps on otherwise smooth skin felt runny, and scratching or picking at it was somehow satisfying.

When I got older marks started to become visible, due to the frequency of my picking, these turned into scars, and by that point I thought it so ugly that I thought "might as well keep picking, can't really get worse".

So then I had these hideous arms which I got upset about so picked, and so thus got more hideous, making me more upset....cycle.

I also picked MORE to relieve stress, sometimes to the point of them being red raw and bleeding.... This WAS connected to my self harm. When it was extreme like that it was usually when it would be inconvenient to cut, but scratching your arms was less noticeable - in a lesson at school for example.

It's the link between negative emotions and skin picking that can make one relate it to self harm. I think that was the point of this rambling post... sorry!

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I think you have every right to be pissed with him. And he clearly has no idea what constitutes a bipolar episode. And to threaten you with ringing the ex or the police is way out of line.

Having said that, I also pick at my skin and I know what you mean about it being extremely satisfying although afterwards I always look at my ravaged skin and think WTF am I doing to myself? I do pick a bit less when I am more stable, and definitely more when I am stressed, but how much I pick is not a reliable indicator of my mood at all. It's a more complicated issue than that.

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come ON, self-harm? and sex-addicition? are they really ruining your life?

to me it sounds like SO has worse problems than you...like co-dependency, and control issues, and witholding can be a form of sex addiction

ain't judgn, just sayn

We aren't here to compare people's troubles and decide who has it "worse". Belittling the damage and pain that SI can cause is not something I want to see around here.

well thank-you very much, but that's not what you're seeing around here...the intent was to support OP and give my opinion of SO...sorry if you read it differently...I'm not here to be chastised either

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