Skin picking

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Oscen

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Skin picking
« on: May 01, 2019, 10:00:50 AM »
I've always picked at my skin - scabs, pimples, etc. Fortunately I didn't get bad acne, but as a teen, there were always a few red spots and scabs on my face in photos.
I looked hunched and unhappy in most photos taken in those years.

I recall M trying to force me to stop picking as a child, by saying in an angry, forceful voice "you're picking". Her voice sounded full of hate. Naturally, this made me want to keep going even more - I see now that it was a way of claiming my body as my own. It didn't bother me that I was bleeding, though I felt shame after.

When I was around 14, I got small heatspots on my lower legs, and I squeezed them and then picked the resulting scabs so they got bigger. It got so bad, I was wearing trousers in 35 degree heat. Both my parents knew why, but they never took me to a doctor or a psych or anything.
I'd had warts all over my hands when I was 11 (26 warts, I remember counting) and they didn't do anything then either, not so much as an over-the-counter remedy, even though they knew I was unhappy at school and feeling left out.
I'm sort of horrified by their negligence looking back. GP visits are not free in our country, but still. I'm tired of making excuses for their abuse due to the pressure to behave in a socially acceptable way, i.e. not holding parents accountable. This was just not good enough.

I still squeeze the odd spot - I suppose that's normal. I'm lucky I don't have much acne now and my skin looks fine. But when I pick at myself, I go into a trance, and when I catch sight of myself in the mirror, my posture in particular is terrible; all hunched over. Super low-status body language. Guilt, for picking, for having the spots in the first place, for not controlling myself, for being me; flawed and imperfect.

I need to pay more attention to the triggers that get me started picking, and the state of mind I go into so I can recognise it sooner and pull out of it.
Gotta pull out some self-soothing and distraction techniques.

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Phoebes

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Re: Skin picking
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2019, 05:44:32 PM »
I understand, Oscen.
As a teen and young adult, I used to disappear into the bathroom at night for a long time to inspect my skin and rid my skin of any little blemish if I could..I think it was a way of having a reason to hide, but also a soothing thing.

Over time, I still have done the same thing and have developed eczema, which I constantly pick and scratch. I can't remember even not picking at my skin in some way. I'm sure it's off-putting to others and I have felt shame for it.I have recently wondered if it's a form of self-harm..

I think we shouldn't feel shame. It's a habit we formed out of necessity..we can work on this I think..hugs to you!

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woodsgnome

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Re: Skin picking
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2019, 08:19:50 PM »
I've done the same, often idly picking away at any erratic parts of my skin. I surmise this started following bouts of abuse from my m. It was like I wanted to just start ripping the rest of me to shreds, feeling like a worthless wreck anyway. Eczema and beyond also set in as complications.

But now this tendency still hangs in there, even with no obvious outside source to start the action. One of those nasties that are born in the depths and periodically reassert themselve (in my case almost daily). As Phoebes notes, it needn't be so shaming as to hamper one's overall self-worth.

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Oscen

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Re: Skin picking
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2019, 09:33:26 AM »
Hi Phoebes and woodsgnome, you're both so right; it is nothing to be ashamed of.

It is logical how it starts - an attempt to have control over the Self.
Perhaps also a response to some Other's negative reactions towards imperfections.
Then it is solidified into a habit.

I'm sorry to hear you're going through this, but thank you for letting me know I'm not alone.