Wanting to be Hurt

Last weekend I was with my cousin, bombing around one of his uncleared paddocks in an old car. As we tore up a hilly area full of ferns and trees, the wheels kicked up a small branch, and it smashed end – first into my window but didn’t break the glass.

My first reaction was disappointment. I kept chiding myself for not rolling down the window when I’d first gotten into the car like my cousin had, the way you chide yourself for not picking a 3 instead of an 8 on a almost – winning lottery ticket. I could have been really hurt without even having to do it myself, and I’d thrown away an opportunity.

My rational brain is not disappointed. My rational brain knows it could have  blinded me, cracked my skull, broken my cheekbone, at the very, very least given me a nasty concussion and a week off work without pay. But my first reaction is always disappointment.

Earlier this year I was in a minor accident (braked too hard in the wet and my car spun out and hit a wall) and I came very close to banging my head against a wall because I was so upset that I hadn’t been injured badly enough.

This is totally fucked up. It isn’t even just coincidences like those accidents – I deliberately put myself in dangerous situations and hope I’ll get hurt, either by people or by the environment.

I keep running through the possible reasons – is it because I think I deserve the pain? No, that only applies to self harm. Is it because I need to test myself to make sure I’m strong enough to take it? Kind of – that’s mostly self harm, but it’s also when I put myself in bad situations on purpose. I guess that’s kind of self harm, in a way.

But the accidents? I think maybe I’m looking for a justification for all my emotional pain. If I was in a major car accident, or a house fire, or I got stabbed on my way home from the supermarket, that would be a real trauma. I almost feel relieved when bad things happen to me. Like “here, here’s the bad thing that happened, it wasn’t my fault and I don’t have to feel guilty and wrong and pathetic for being fucked up and being in therapy any more“.

I feel like I need to punish myself for even acknowledging these thoughts.

Wanting to be Hurt

12 thoughts on “Wanting to be Hurt

  1. This makes a lot of sense to me. Your thoughts make sense to me. Hard to really validate your own emotional pain, but I see it as very real and doesn’t need any additional qualifiers.
    I also often wish an accident would happen so I would “deserve” care and attention. Does feel messed up to think that way, but we aren’t. We are just people who were seriously unattended to and emotionally neglected and never learned to validate our own pain and experience.


  2. I can absolutely relate to this. For years before I even went to therapy or realized how messed up things were, I would often go to sleep at night thinking about being badly hurt and taken to the hospital. It’s much like Rachel said, I think. I was often exhausted and in pain, and I wanted there to be a “real” reason for it. That way I would be justified in needing rest and care and concern, things I never felt I deserved.

    The job we now have is to develop our own capacity to **truly** believe we need care and deserve it, that we can ask for it from others when appropriate and to provide it for ourselves.

    The things that happened to us were wrong. Our pain is real. We don’t need to be in a car accident or hit by a bus or fall down the stairs for the care to be justified. We have been wounded, and we deserve therapy, time in beautiful spaces, gentle relationships, hot tub soaks, inspiring books, massages, yoga, whatever it is that leads us to healing. It is not selfish or unreasonably to provide those things to ourselves–the better we heal, the more we are able to share our gifts with the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I bought myself flowers today. All the usual voices showed up – you don’t need them, it’s a waste of money. “Q told me I could have them,” I told the voices. “Q said I deserve them.”

      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with both Rachel and Quemada above. I too fantasize about accidents happening, about having scars and injuries that I can show to people to ‘justify’ being in so much pain. Like La Quemada I still fall asleep and wake up to fantasies about being badly hurt and having something to show. A way to explain. Like Rachel said we were unattended to and so, in our fantasies, we’re trying to have a corrective experience in a way – an experience wherein people respond appropriately to our pain. I still want that. Still pine for it. Still fantasize about it. And I realized, as I’mI was reading your post, how much hunger is in your words. I feel it in myself as I write this. A hunger for others to care.

    I am gently here. Caring. Standing beside you in the doctor’s office, the hospital, learning alongside you as you learn to see without sight after being blinded. Here reading and understanding and knowing. The pain is real.

    Gently, here.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And now I’m wishing you would spiritually adopt me. We’ve all adopted each other, in a way, I guess. I still feel wrong, and bad, and fraudulent, but I am so grateful for your words. I am holding them close.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I can totally relate to this. Sometimes I think if I could pinpoint all this pain to a specific moment it would make so much more sense.

    My trauma extends over 20+ years, and it’s a mix of things, nuanced and subtle. The amount of times I wished there was one major event? I get it, I totally get it.

    And I’m here – I see you and your pain and it is real and it is valid.


    1. I feel like such a fraud. And it stops me from talking about things I need to in therapy because they seem too stupid and minor. At some stage I’m going to have to get past it, but I don’t know how. Thank you for your validation, and for getting it.


      1. I actually used to lie about why I was hurting because I thought that what was actually hurting me was too stupid or minor. Sometimes I still do. ❤️

        It took 5 years of hearing “it’s not stupid if it upsets you” at least once a week before I could begin to hear it myself. You’ll get there, and I totally get that it sucks.


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