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What is it like to show your scars in public or around friends and family?

25 Answers
Last Updated: 11/04/2019 at 3:08am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Cynthia Stocker, LCSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

My approach is direct, kind, honest & collaborative. My clients appreciate that I help them in a way that cuts through the jargon and gives clear explanations.

Top Rated Answers
June 10th, 2015 10:25pm
It can be daunting and I suppose it depends on the relationship you have with the people who you're going to show your scars to. In my experience, people tend not to notice if i don't draw attention to it. My family are aware of them but don't ever comment, which makes me feel more at ease and sometimes even forget that they're on show. If you're worried, perhaps try going for walks on your own somewhere private with your scars out to get used to the feeling of not covering them up. this might give you the confidence to show them around your friends or family (the feeling of fresh air on your arms/legs when you haven't had it in years is indescribably wonderful oh my goodness you will be so glad you did it)
August 14th, 2015 12:03pm
Having the freedom to wear short sleeves (or shorts, or whatever else) can make a real difference. It means you're no longer having to hide this part of your life, which is probably an immense relief. Plus, it's more comfortable in warm weather! It can be daunting at first and people's reactions do vary, so it might be more manageable to take it in stages. You could start by showing your scars at home with family and visitors, then move on to public places you're comfortable in, leaving school/work (wherever you're most concerned about being judged) until last. Most people won't comment and over time, you'll probably find it easier to stop worrying about what others think if that's an issue for you. I think the positives outweigh the negatives, so it's worth trying!
September 15th, 2015 2:37am
It's honestly tough at first, but it's much more open and honest because everything's out for them to see. There's no shame in showing them, scars mean you have found a better way to deal with whatever put them there in the first place.
December 11th, 2015 4:10am
I think everyone feels differently about their scars and showing them in public, and that is okay. Some people are fine with showing their scars and others are not. For me, it was really hard for the first few years to wear short sleeves because I always saw people looking at my arms or even asking me about it. It's hard when you are trying to move on to be constantly reminded. Eventually, my scars became less visible though they are definitely still obvious, and I tried to stop caring about the looks. I've stopped even thinking about them, which is really freeing. On the occasional instance when someone will bring them up, I honestly just say that was a while ago and I change the subject. Whether you choose to show your scars or not, that is your decision and your decision alone. There is nothing wrong with either choice, it is more a matter of personal preference.
July 18th, 2016 4:58pm
It's scary, but can be very liberating. Showing your scars in public tend to give you mixed responses, some faces are filled with nothing but genuine concern, those are the people who have fought the battles you have, or understand it. Others can be confused, but mostly positive responses. People tend to be kind to those who haven't been so kind to themselves.
January 19th, 2015 8:10am
Personally, no one ever commented on mine, which have now healed such that they are no longer visible. A good friend of mine who currently self-harms often has her scars and marks publicly visible, and she also tells me no one has ever asked about them, either. She says she doesn't think anyone notices. If they do, they don't care. Neither of us has ever been prompted to explain our habits to anyone — we only talk about self-harm if we choose to bring it up. I know I was paranoid about people seeing my scars for years, and as an adult it was surprising to discover that, no, it was not terrible to have my scars show, and did not impact my life. I still had good friends, a loving boyfriend, and I wasn't any less beautiful.
December 29th, 2015 2:28pm
People will look at them, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing, you know? Showing your scars is very good for yourself, if you do it you'll see that it isn't a weird thing
May 11th, 2015 3:02pm
At first it can be terrifying. They could make fun of you or laugh but if they love you and care for you they will be supportive. Once you have over come the addiction, you can be proud of your scars and not want to hide them. I know personally I'm proud of my scars because I overcame my demons. I showed them who's boss.
November 23rd, 2015 9:18am
It varies. There have been times where I have been caught out by forgetting to pop a long sleeved top in my bag. The last time this happened I felt quite uncomfortable whilst being in public with visible scars. I felt like everyone could seem them. It is most likely that nobody even noticed but I don't like the way it makes me feel. I sometimes feel confident enough to wear short sleeves around close friends but it depends on how self conscious I am feeling that day.
May 21st, 2015 6:40pm
It is hard to show scars. It's like showing vulnerability, and a lot of people don't understand it.
September 28th, 2015 1:04am
Consider yourself as a hero and really everyone is a hero of his life so once you know you are hero there is nothing to be scare about because you are hero nothing is bigger then you.
November 9th, 2015 11:23pm
sometimes people with think of you differently because of this. some people with try to help you and ask you a lot of questions. you have to do what is comfortable for you
April 22nd, 2016 5:15pm
It can be really hard, but I know for myself personally, it got alot easier. I became better and haven't self harmed in 2 years, and now i've realized that im a fighter. I'm strong, and my scars remind me of that everyday because i'm still here. I battled through it and despite everything that i did and everything that happened, i'm still here and my story is not over yet.
July 25th, 2016 10:04pm
My scars both physical and emotional are a part of the pattern that makes me, me. To show them is to share something that is mine and mine alone, which is both special and terrifying. In the physical sense, it can raise questions, which you must be prepared to receive but DO NOT HAVE TO ANSWER! Remember that this is you, and you own ALL of you, scars included. It is your choice how much (if anything) you give ANYONE. So do what makes YOU happy :)
August 2nd, 2016 11:21pm
They will definitely be concerned and probably shocked as well but it is always better to show someone because it is easier for you to get help
January 9th, 2017 6:59am
Don't get me wrong, it's terrifying at first. You are always worried about others assumptions and thoughts. This goes away with time and you will soon see them as nothing but a bad past. Battle scars some might say.
November 4th, 2019 3:08am
As a person with some scars, I know what it is like to intentionally cover myself to hide them. Once I learned that scars presented lessons learned and that I can move on from those experiences, I worried less and less about showing them. You know what? Most people don't even know they are there! It is a process to first love yourself and decide what lesson is to be learned from your scars. Then, move forward proudly having learned and ready to make better choices for yourself. Even as new ones appear, remember to treat yourself gently; healing physically and mentally will come with time and exercising awareness about how you feel.
June 4th, 2015 11:23pm
Some people will be understanding and show you empathy by asking if you want to talk about it or giving you a sympathetic look. Others will be ignorant and stupid about it and react in a hurtful way.
December 9th, 2015 12:22am
I have always found it humiliating. Most people usually just stare and give looks of pity but sometimes people point them out and make jokes. However, as the scars fade (though often don't disappear) less people see them and eventually even you will forget about them.
December 22nd, 2015 8:43am
It was mostly embarrassing for me at the time. I hated my family silently judging me because their lives were so great.
January 1st, 2016 7:06pm
It can be very hard. Facing prosecution in your own skin can be heartbreaking. You shouldn't think of what people say. Be yourself and if people can't accept that then they don't deserve you. Just be you and that's all you can do.
April 11th, 2016 11:35pm
It can be hard to tell how others around you will react in this situation. Reactions can depend on different people. This also depends on how you feel with yourself. Showing others your scars can be a very big step personally. And it is great that you feel you are at this point.
October 17th, 2016 9:02pm
Showing self harm scars in public can be quite fear inducing, though it's nothing to be ashamed of! You might get people that will look at you funny, though there's plenty of people out there that will support you through it or maybe respect you for being so brave about them.
April 24th, 2017 4:45am
I have no clue because I have never had scars however I have a friend who has and I've asked you this question before. She told me it's always a bit uncomfortable but you just have to be confident in your past. She says you have to learn Hound Point your scars are at that they're a part of you.
August 21st, 2018 5:09pm
its pretty scary at first because you dont know what they will say or what they will do they might be really supportive or they might be kinda scared for you but at least when i did show my friends they first reacted kkinda badly to it they were scared but then they begain to try and help me through it and they really did help me a lot and now i am a lot better than i was before but truthfuly i havent yet told my mom because i am a little secred to but i do hope to build up the courage to do it.