What is triggering?

There was a post over on AskBME today in which the criticism was re-raised that I don’t soft-censor cutting images due to issues of “triggering”… This was my response:

First of all, as I’ve said before, if someone is mentally ill to the point where they can not control their own actions, they should be seeking help, not reading BME. This applies to all parts of BME.

Seriously, if you are unable to take responsibility for your own actions, DO NOT put yourself in harms way by reading BME.

BME is intended for healthy individuals who enjoy a positive experience in body modification and ritual. I do not believe that the site should be geared toward people for whom body modification/ritual is an illness.

The REALITY is that when we’re talking about “triggering”, the piercing sections, tattoo sections, and so on are far more triggering — it’s just that fewer readers see being triggered in these areas as a negative thing. Singling out the cutting section is largely a game of POLITICS, not genuine concern for the underlying problem that people are deeply influenced by the actions of others. I feel very much that pretending that what amounts to “peer pressure” is a problem unique to the cutting section of the site is a mistake.

Now, I understand that I tend to take a somewhat no-compromises or radical stance on these matters rather than seeking out the safe or mainstream stance that most people feel is “reasonable” (and I appreciate how one could come to the opposite conclusion), but I really do think it’s important to be honest about this being much more about politics and cultural bias than anything else. Ignoring the fact that it’s very difficult to make a compelling objective case that differentiates cutting from play piercing, suspension, pulling, and other ritual that’s rarely decried, the truth of the matter is that when it comes to triggering, the whole site is a giant trigger for those who are prone to being influenced by peer pressure.

One of the reasons I know this is that if I post a particularly nice serious of photos of a modification, I’ll almost always receive an influx of that particular modification over the next little while, as people see the pictures and decide that it’s something they want to do as well. How many times have I seen comments along the lines of “this makes me really want to suspend” or “this makes me really want to get another tattoo” and so on? Even in a culture that’s steeped in the concept of individualism, the truth is that a significant percentage of people are deeply influenced and “triggered” by the actions of others.

Again, I’d strongly urge people who are not able to take responsibility for their own actions (let alone control their own actions) not read BME (or at least the sections of BME that they’re not comfortable around) or other “triggering” media and get the help they need so they can be happy and self-empowered individuals. I’m sorry if some people feel that makes light of their mental illness, but I’d like to keep BME focused on people for whom body modification and ritual is a positive force, not those who see it as a mental illness.

And now, a beautiful butterfly play piercing by Kevin:

See more in Ritual and Play Piercing (Ritual)

This entry was posted in ModBlog and tagged , by Shannon Larratt. Bookmark the permalink.

About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by BMEzine.com LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by BMEzine.com LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

67 thoughts on “What is triggering?

  1. “Even in a culture that’s steeped in the concept of individualism, the truth is that a significant percentage of people are deeply influenced and “triggered” by the actions of others.”

    Spot on!

  2. You know, it’s funny to me how many cutters/ex-cutters find the ritual cutting galleries to be triggering for them. Speaking from great experience on the cutting matter, I would say that the galleries if anything, have been a discouraging factor to me. As a person who doesn’t really cut anymore, if I ever get the urge to I actually think of the ritual cutting galleries so I don’t cut.

    The reason for this may be unique to me I suppose, but I have always found (yes, even when I was cutting) the scars to be unattractive. Seeing pictures in the ritual cutting area of people who now have random assortments of scars even more unsightly than my own makes me not want to cut because it reminds me that I don’t want my body to look like that. I would rather cover my skin with less random and more artistic scar and tattoo pieces.

    After reading both Lori’s and Shannon’s responses on the subject I’d have to say I agree with Shannon. As a person with a decently sized laundry list of mental health problems I have come out on the other side of them thinking it’s all about your own choices. Too many people try to victimize themselves as an excuse to not take responsibility for their own actions which is think is the case here.

  3. I believe most people, myself included, have more of a problem with posting LOL cats in response to requests to put cuttings (not scarification etc) but actual self cutting, behind a click through.

  4. There’s a time to be politically correct, and there’s a time to have a sense of humor. In a blog that’s often tongue-in-cheek, I think one should err on the side of humor. On the main BME site, I’d err the other way.

  5. I have to agree with most of what you’ve stated.
    I was a “cutter” for a little under 7 years of my life (long before I found BME). I love BME and while there was a time in my life when I found certain images on BME to be “triggering”, I made a point to stay away from here (and related sites) until I felt as if I could browse ‘safely’.
    Nobody can censor every thing, the world is not naive enough to let that happen. “Triggers” can be found all over the place and a responsible person should be able to minimise their exposure to triggers (but not eliminate them). If we can’t overcome these triggers (and I”m not just talking about self-harm), we can never grow or learn new things.

  6. I self-injure, but I’ve never felt triggered by any of the galleries on here; if i were i’d stay well away.

  7. i don’t think you get it, which is understandable. seeing something someone else has done and wanting to copy them because you think it’s cool is being influenced. being triggered is decidedly else; it’s a different feeling entirely. it’s a temptation, or a strong compulsion, and other things that go well beyond influence that i lack the eloquence to articulate. when i see someone with cuts or scars, or extremely underweight, i feel triggered, and while i don’t throw out all my food and start slashing away, i do feel quite miserable for a while. that’s all. i am not a crazy person who can’t control my own actions, i am a human being who cannot always (and may not want to) control my feelings and reactions.

  8. Triggering is different than peer pressure firstly.

    I used to self-injure(not just cutting either), and I have found that sometimes posts on here can be triggering. Which is why I’d appreciate it if they were slightly censored.

    I don’t think they need to be removed completely because honestly if people were looking for them they could find triggering pictures anywhere on the internet and it doesn’t do any good to ignore something like self injury.

    I’m trying to stay healthy, and at the same time I like body modification so I visit this site pretty often. I’d just like to have some warning for some stuff.

  9. “First of all, as I’ve said before, if someone is mentally ill to the point where they can not control their own actions, they should be seeking help, not reading BME. This applies to all parts of BME.”

    huhh?? don’t you think people with mental illnesses do more with their day than act out on those desires? Do you really think that EVERY time someone cuts themselves, they get locked in a hospital without internet access? Sick people have off time too, and BME is a great site to spend it.

    I agree that everything here is triggering, but you’re comparing apples to oranges. I personally feel it’s quite easy to differentiate cutting from scarification and pulling and all of that. Cutting yourself compulsively to relieve yourself is just not the same thing. Everyone on here is trying to get in touch with a community more like themselves… everyone is looking to validate their own actions and freedoms by knowing other people are doing so as well… but looking for that validation for cutting? In this context? And finding it?!
    It’s just unhealthy.

    you saying “do not put yourself in harm’s way by reading BME” is you realizing some people out there ARE put in harm’s way by looking at this. and it is specifically cutters that cut for these unhealthy reasons. perhaps this disclaimer would fit nicely before clicking through to the cutting section. if it can be here on modblog, why not on the cutting section?

    i don’t think removing the section is a valid option btw. and i don’t really thing a disclaimer would stop a cutter from still wanting to find that validation. But it would at least show the cutter that this action in this context is unhealthy even if other people do it, it would be a warning to ex-cutters, it would show that BME gives a shit about that kind of person. It would be a suggestion for help if that person isn’t getting that suggestion from the people around them.

    it’s great that you would like to think BME should be a positive thing, but other vantage points exist that have access to this site.

  10. While I agree with the premise that cutting needn’t be censored, I find your attitude towards it offensive. A trigger is NOT the same thing as “peer pressure”. As someone who’s experienced both the desire to get a new tattoo and the desire to cut, I can say they’re very different things. I think anabot puts it well, it’s not a desire but a compulsion. I know it’s tricky to separate the practice of cutting from play piercing, suspension and other ritual, I find there’s a very different motivation and experience of a behaviour that’s harming. Certainly, there’s room for grey area, but there’s still a difference that’s difficult to pinpoint.

  11. When it comes down to it, this is Shannon Larratt’s blog. This isn’t where you’re finding vital news, it isn’t where you’re getting strictly medical information, it isn’t even the only place you can find a bit of culture. When it comes down to it, it is not the responsibility of the one who writes the blog to censor it in favor of those with a disease.
    Don’t you think cheeseburger ads on television would trigger chronic over eaters to binge? Can’t victoria’s secret ads trigger bulemics into purging? Can’t casino ads trigger gamblers into splurging? These are all conditions as equally legitimate is self injury. When it comes down to it, those people have to learn to avoid the temptation, not tell others to hide it. Why should the rules be different for you?

  12. anabot – I don’t think we need a semantic discussion about the correct definition of ‘triggering’. What it comes down to is that BME is a body modification website, and if you know that you are unable to browse BME without getting ‘negative compulsions’ then you shouldn’t be browsing the site.

    If you don’t type “www.bmezine.com” into your web browser then you won’t end up here, and you won’t see any of these images. If you do type it in then you know exactly what to expect (well, most of the time, Shannon can throw the occasional odd-ball though), and you don’t want to be patronised by having to click-through to see anything that isn’t “politically correct.”

    I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m picking on anabot, it’s just that this whole discussion seems antithetical to what BME is about. I don’t necessarily like everything I see on the site, but I do like that I’m seeing things I haven’t seen before and that I won’t see anywhere else.

    The site might be NSFW, but I hope we won’t have to start tagging things Not Safe For People With Mental Illnesses. NSFPWMI is a pretty shitty acronym after all.

  13. About the only part I’d tend to disagree with is linking self-harm/cutting (as opposed to modification/cutting) to peer-pressure.

  14. I just think it’s silly to claim that self-injury is a mental illness. it’s not. in my opinion / experience, anyway. it’s just a distraction, a way of making a tangible representation of whatever shit is going on or whatever the mental illness really is. it’s self-destructive, yes, but other than that it’s exactly the same as painting a picture. well. maybe not exactly. maybe the same as throwing rocks at a wall or something else destructive but not self-destructive. it’s a way of coping with really awful feelings… but it is not the awful feelings themselves. I could probably talk for a while about why people want to push the blame onto others as far as “triggers” go, but I don’t feel articulate enough to write about it. I totally understand the concerns that people have about “triggering” images, but I think that ultimately each individual has responsibility for her or his self-injurous behavior. to continually push away “triggers” is not going to solve the problem.

  15. I don’t think asking to put the content behind some sort of clickthrough is asking much. That said, I also think it’s up to Shannon what he does.

    As far as my opinion — I think that different people are in different places in their recovery and their way of dealing with the urges. Things that don’t induce in me any urge to cut could very easily make someone else feel compelled to do so.

    I don’t think Shannon has some weighty responsibility not to post such images without a clickthrough, but I do think it would be courteous to do.

  16. I just wanted to post to say that I absolutaly love the play piercing! What are the leaves and butterflies made out of? Just the same stuff you would buy at a craft store?

  17. I don’t think Shannon is under any responsibility to censor posts for triggering content. People who visit modblog (and the other sites in the BME family) are well aware of the content of the sites, and it is their responsibility to avoid anything which could be triggering. No one expects images of super-skinny people to be censored, even though they may be triggering to some anorexics, or photos of (non-X-rated) bondage to be censored, though they may be triggering to some rape victims and/or claustrophobes.
    There is no way to censor the entire Internet, and even if there were, there is no way to censor real life. Part of being a responsible adult (even a mentally-ill adult) is understanding that is your own responsibility, and no one else’s, to look out for your personal well-being.
    That said, I do think some of the joking (LOL TRIGGERZ) was unnecessary and unprofessional. Even though it was just joking, I don’t think making light of someone’s mental illness is a good way to get a point across.

  18. I’ve been into self-harm for quite a while, and for me, there’s never been any problem browsing the cutting-galleries here. It’s not triggering as for my part of this, because the self-harm is MY actions, and something I do when I get an urge that I don’t control. I have never gotten that urge from browsing BME. Ever. The only thing the ritual galleries have done to me was getting me in to artistic play-piercing. And body modifications in general has taken a big part in getting me away from the self harm, because I feel like I’m kindoff making what was wrong with me right. Bodymods have become an equally natural part of me as my eye color, and I don’t think it should be any other way. I highly agree with what a lot of people are saying. If you can’t take responsibility for (or control) your own actions, you should stay away. But you should NOT try to force BME and its galleries in to the bad guy-part. Victimizing sucks. EOD.

  19. i make the motion that shannon abolish ALL clickthroughs as their very existence makes me want to click them… even when i know that i don’t want to see what’s behind them. i’ve seen more distressed penises that way. the superfluous clicking drives me nuts when my internet is being a pansy :)

  20. My personal view, and I must stress, this is my personal view, is that self-injury deserves no place on a body modification site, although I recognise that bmezine is a documentation site. SI is destructive, whereas ritual cutting, lets say for example, in a BDSM context, is a positive action.

    Don’t get me wrong, I have noticed a correlation between people who modify themselves and have a past history of SI but the emphasis is on past history, and as such, it would be great to think that we, as a community could offer support to those still harming.

    I speak from experience having spent a large proportion for my life to press, from early childhood (I was 11 when I first started self-harming) right up to my early/mid twenties being a self-harmer. I, personally, have never been affected by visual triggers but recognise that some do and as such, then maybe we should be looking at how to distinguish between ritual cutting and self-harm and, as previously stated, look at ways to offer support to those who fall into the latter band.

  21. I hope our government reads your words, instead of censoring the results in the searchengines.
    Oh wait! Our government is probably with me! Guten Morgen Herr Schäuble!

  22. People should take responsibility for what they choose to look at. Everything on the site is clearly enough labelled, they know what they are accessing. If it “triggers” them that’s their own fault and they should stop bitching. If they’re honestly that unwell that they can’t control their impulses to look at “triggering” material they should be in hospital. I don’t get triggered because I’m not a complete prat. But I have been influenced and inspired in lots of wonderful ways.

    Gorgeous play piercing, I love it!

  23. Just to chime in, I was a cutter for close to five years, until I got help and stopped doing it. For a long time, I couldn’t look at the cutting pictures, because it was a very strong trigger for me, so I stopped looking at those pictures and would always read tags before looking at pictures on ModBlog.

    That being said, it was my personal responsibility to avoid them, because I could have found pictures like that anywhere, not just on BME. It seems to me that it’s just an excuse.

  24. Good on you, sir, for eloquently defending the issue and effectively shutting down further (specious) debate on the (very dead) issue of cutting soft-censorship.

  25. I don’t really understand why people put self-harm and ritual cutting in such separate categories. As a person who’s engaged in both practices over the years, I believe people tend to vastly overstate the difference between the two.

    Clearly they are related activities, and there’s a big, fuzzy grey area between them, so how can you draw a line and banish one from the realms of ‘body modification’, and not the other?

  26. Wow, somewhat harsh but good for you not giving in to what some of your readers want Shannon.
    #26 – you clearly haven’t done both then. Self-harm is a very negative experience, whereas cutting can be a positive and uplifting ritual of release. It’s like meditation.

  27. To 27: But the personal experience is what makes it different – the act itself, and results, are often very similar. In the same way that people have different experiences with their piercings (for example one person might get their nips done for aesthetics while one wants them for sensation, some people will find it very painful, some won’t feel much at all, some choose bars and some rings etc – same piercing, different for everyone) people’s cutting rituals are different too. My self harm became a ritual, a negative one at times but also a calming one or an empowering one or a frightening one, one to share or one to hide, it was different every time. Of course at times it was impulsive but mostly I had enough self control to know exactly what I was doing and why, which is where it falls into the ritual category (for me).

  28. Re: “Triggering isn’t peer pressure”
    Ok, peer pressure might even be worse… Peer pressure is being influenced by others to do things you might not otherwise do. Triggering is being influenced by others to do thing you might do anyway and have done in the past.

    Re: Effectiveness of a click-through
    Personally it’s also my feeling that a click-through or warning is potentially MORE triggering. The image is still seem, plus it’s surrounded by a statement of severity. I think for a lot of people that makes it more alluring, and thus more dangerous under this line of thinking.

  29. #31:
    When I surf to bmezine it is *my* *decision*, and when I cut or burn or something, after looking at pictures full of blood and wounds it is still me that is in charge. Noone forced me to surf to bmezine, bmezine did not force me to lokk at the pictures or take that knife or that lighter and therefore noone can blame bmezine.
    I looked at the pictures, I took the knife, I cut my skin. It is me, no one else.

    “Self-harm is a very negative experience”
    I agree that self-harm is different form cutting but I disagree that Self-harm is a very negative experience. Self-Harm is a personal experience. It can be negative, and it can be positive too, because it can release stress and can alter the state of mind.

  30. I have to say I agree with you, as a former self-harmer. While I think that titles like ‘im in ur modblogz triggerin ur cutting’ were unnecessarily antagonistic, and I’d go so far as to say potentially quite hurtful, towards people dealing with self-harm, I agree that it is not BME’s responsibility to censor images of ritual cutting for the minority who experience cutting in a negative context.

  31. I see both points of view here (yes, I have self harmed in the past). I do feel that it is not enough to say, “if someone is mentally ill to the point where they can not control their own actions, they should be seeking help, not reading BME”… many of those who are ill enough that they deliberately injure themselves are not in a position of control to say, “I won’t go on BME today, that might trigger something for me”. Thay are, by definition, mentally ill. Therefore thay may not be able to take responsability for their actions.

    That said, I don’t know whether it is the responsability of such sites as this one to start censoring what we look at. I think it’s a cop out to say, “People will see cutting etc all over the internet, we can’t shelter them from it so why try”. We all have our part to play, and we all have our own consciences at answer to at the end of the day.

    I think it speaks volumes for this site that we can have an intelligent, informed discussion on the matter. Shannon, I think you are to be credited for having the guts to allow such an open debate and to share points of view. Respect.
    Thank you.

  32. I agree with you. I have had a problem with cutting since I was 12. I realize there is stuff on this website that could be considered “triggering” for me, so I just avoid what might make me uncomfortable looking at.
    It’s that simple.

  33. I think it’s awesome that modblog includes this stuff.

    There are people who respond badly to any stimulus you care to name. If we start censoring them all, pretty soon there will be no artistic expression of any kind. Alcoholics can be triggered by exposure to alcohol, ex-smokers can lapse if exposed to even the slightest HINT of stress, and so on. So should we ban bars and corner stores?

    Any cutters who can’t control themselves should go read some other site — there are billions of websites that DON’T depict cutting, and only a handful that do. It’s not hard to avoid them.

  34. Honestly, I see a lot of the modifications on the site as beautiful or interesting, but it doesn’t make me what to do them. I choose my modifications carefully, when I know I’m ready for them and ready for the long term consequences. Unfortunately our Western culture doesn’t often think about the long term. This may be a part of the “oh that looks cool/pretty/whatever, I want to do it too!” mentality. We are addicted to instant gratification. Maybe if we held off on that gratification sometimes it would become a bigger experience, and less of a regret.

  35. I went thru a period of negative self mutilation as an adult.
    I worked very hard to see what was behind the issue, and what was driving me to put my frustrations into these negative actions. I found my issue was the feeling of being out of control and helpless in my life in general. So I took some control.

    Simply put: I got tired of that feeling. I had my back to the wall and I got out. I stopped hurting myself and refused to go down. Then I began baby steps to get other parts of my life in order.

    My way isn’t everyone’s way. Everyone is different. And for a while, mutilation actually helped. Then it turned negative and useless (for me). So I quit. It was NOT easy but being between a rock and a hard place I just didn’t need the added misery of cutting and burning myself while being burdened with other issues in my life and creating a cycle.

    The pictures do NOT trigger me. Since I said “fuck that shit” I have uninvolved myself with it and have found other ways to redirect my feelings of helplessness. I switched jobs, I write a lot, I’m into a more positive form of body modification (ink) and I’ve involved myself with animal care.

    I’m sure the cutting pics trigger some people. My only suggestion would be to find things to UNTRIGGER the urge. Namely, other ways to diffuse the situations in your life that result in cutting. Getting to the root of the underlying problems…

  36. I think it’s important for some of the people here who are saying “I don’t self-harm any more” to remember that things can be very different when you’re in the thick of the illness. It’s easy to say “I took responsibility”, but there are a lot of people out there who desperately want to stop and for whom it’s not that easy.

  37. redredred:

    I think #31 (DuckieVamp) may have been responding to me, rather than you – my comment was number 26 when i first posted it, some more comments must have come through moderation (as it’s now number 30).

    To which I have to say: I posted in my comment that I have engaged in both self-harm and (positive) ritual cutting. I’m frankly astounded at your arrogance that you try to tell me that I “obviously haven’t” simply because I take a position on the subject that is apparently different to yours.

    I assure you my experience with both types of cutting – mine and others – is extensive, and my opinion is well considered and developed.

  38. Once again, Shannon makes a fairly convincing argument. I’m not sure I’m entirely convinced, however, particularly in view of his willingness to feature behaviours that would certainly be viewed by many as manifestations of mental illness (amputation comes to mind).

    For example, what makes body building a “modification” and anorexia pathological? When do body building and weight loss cross the line? Clearly decisions are being made about what to feature and what not to feature — I can only imagine what’s on the reject pile — so what are the criteria? The argument often seems to be that if it makes the person happy and s/he can “take responsibility” for it, then it’s ok. I’m not sure that’s an entirely useful approach. I wonder how many people would really agree that a professed lack of concern about losing one’s sight as a result of a cosmetic procedure can really be considered “healthy,” for instance.

    As for this particular issue, I’m of two minds. On the one hand, anyone who’s familiar with BME has some idea of what to expect. On the other hand, I think most people recognize that otherwise healthy people can be negatively affected by certain things. Ultimately, I don’t see that placing certain images behind a clickthrough in acknowledgement that for some people they can result in unwanted behaviours is censorship or political game-playing, especially since certain (often sexual) images are already placed behind clickthroughs (clicksthrough?). What’s the difference?

  39. #46, I agree…the clickthrough will probably make people want to look even more. That’s human nature.

    And there are clearly risks in any type of body mod. Personally, I would never engage in nullo…yet I can understand why some do. Yes, there are risks that individuals take upon themselves.
    And anything can be taken to the point of obsession, dangerous obsession, whether it’s body building or collecting newspapers.
    People have different opinions at what point something becomes “dangerous” or “negative” or what constitures “mental illness”.

    So I guess the bottom line would be that BME isn’t a role model or babysitter. It isn’t out to police anyone. And if it ceased to exist, people trolling for images and stories of risky/odd/cutting/sexual/pick-your-poison would find them somewhere else.
    Of course, it could be argued, then why should BME go out of it’s way to add content that could be “triggering” (self-harm specifically) when it can be found in other places on the web?
    (ie: we don’t need it here.)

    Well…because it CAN. And the individual can choose not to visit BME or at least some of it’s galleries.
    Besides, if the cutting pics/stories were cut (no pun intended) what would be next? Nullo? CBT? Suspension? Basic piercing? Remember, in some individuals, basic piercing can be an issue, from obsession to waring with parents over it. And tho extremely rare, people have died because of piercing-related infection. So should piercing be taken down?
    Where do you draw the line?
    Which practice takes precedent over another? Because cutting is more well-known should it take precedent over say, CBT that’s gone to a point of unhealthy, negative feelings by the person doing it?

    BME can’t police the vast array of individuals that make up this world. And they shouldn’t try.

  40. i admit the site triggers me- every time I see a beautiful tattoo I want to run out and get my next beautiful tattoo.
    I am triggered by lots of things in life- sometimes it is a surprise to me even-
    When i start altering my surroundings to avoid the triggers- I am narrowing my experiences in life “just in case”. When the what ifs start over riding the joy i can find in life i am giving more power to my original traumas.

    Regaining my power is important to me- people can be at all sorts of levels of healing and I honoring those seeking a healthy happy life, but i think there is a lot to be said about accountability.
    Asking other to limit their experiences as a “just in case” preventative tool seems unfair.
    I like seeing the images. Many to me speak of those who have moved from a place of self harm to self love- i see it as empowering.
    everyone will see it differently- and I hope those who find it challenging can find their peace.

  41. hawkfeather, you expressed the way I feel in words I couldn’t find. Thank you =)

  42. I don’t usually post on the comments section, I read them daily, but tend to keep to myself. This however has struck a nerve in me, and I feel compelled to write something. I have been self harming, specifically cutting, since I was about 14. I find it a release to my inner feelings brought on by severe depression and bipolar disorder nos. While I have not stopped I have limited myself to moments where I can just not deal with things anymore and need something more I guess. I have had varying reactions from psychiatrists and therapists alike. I have never hurt myself to the extent that I need stitches, and I know how to properly care for my wounds so they do not become infected. I feel that the doctors that have known me well enough, or maybe even cared enough, believe that it is just a bad coping mechanism to deal with my inner hatred. Others claim that it will lead to my self destruction and if I do not control it I will end up severely hurting myself one day. I never had a negative attitude toward cutting until my most recent therapist. I feel that it is not necessarily good, but sometimes it is the only way for me to deal with my inner pain by causing physical pain which then I am able to focus on and the inner hurt seems to dissipate. It is my choice to hurt myself, and I feel that if it is done in a controlled environment with some sensibility there is nothing necessarily wrong or shameful about it. I even got kicked out of group therapy at one point for voicing my opinion that another guy was ok and shouldn’t be put down by the rest of the group because he had hurt himself. I feel torn between two opinions on the same subject, one that it is alright just a poor coping mechanism and that there is nothing seriously wrong with me, other than I might be a bit of a masochist. And the other side that my new therapist is trying to ingrain upon me that it is completely wrong, and shameful. She has even gone so far as to say that my piercings and tattoos are a part of my self injury, and that I should be ashamed of them as well. I have submitted pictures to both the ritual cutting gallery and the play piercing gallery, and I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed of my scars, and have come to realize that it will just be a part of me. I feel in no way compelled to hurt myself when viewing such images, because I know I do it for different reasons than everyone else. Everyone has there own reason for it. Self control is a virtue, and if someone does view these galleries and feel the need to hurt themselves then it is their own decision, no one else’s. I would like to stop cutting eventually, but I know for know until I find something to fill the void that it fills I probably will not, and I can proudly say that I am ok with this no matter what some half-assed therapist tries to tell me. I have come to love my body the way that it is, intentional scars or unintentional scars. Some have specific meaning behind them, and others just remind me of how unstable life can be at times.
    No one should put down or shame someone for their decisions or actions regarding their own body.

  43. “People had been working for so many years to make the world a safe organized place. Nobody realized how boring it would become” -Chuck Palahniuk

  44. CosmicMayhem raises an important point (although perhaps inadvertently):s/he has submitted photos of activities that at least one professional has determined to be of concern, and these have been presented on the site as “body modification.” This strikes me as very problematic.

  45. Most of the points i was going to make have already been made in one way or another so i’ll keep it short.

    If you self harm and look at images of others cutting (whatever their reasons may be) and it makes you want/need to cut then the simple answer is to stop looking. If it offends you don’t look at it, simple as.

    In the past i have found the ritual cutting galleries on here both helpful and hindering. It used to make me happy that i could harm mysellf and know i wasn’t the only person doing it and it would comfort me. There were also days when i was so close to cutting and looking at the photos just pushed me further in the direction i was alreay heading.

    Anyone who finds those pictures “triggering” are already considering hurting themselves and if they haven’t reached a stage when they feel like they’ve got a handle on it then like i said don’t look at them.

  46. >.>
    …i’m not triggered…i’m AMAZED! and EXCITED! and all of those other fun adjectives that could be used to describe how i feel every time i go here (even for some of those guessing ones :P). Honestly I feel that if you don’t have enough self control to know what triggers you, or to know the difference between modification and illness, then you’re either too young for this site, or just immature.
    well written Shannon :)

    and i love play-piercings like this where they have the decorations in them! just makes them all the more beautiful!

  47. i don’t understand why you put censors on cut up dicks and pussies, but you can’t put a censor one self-cut flesh? i am completely disgusting by your outlook on the whole situation and i am one of the people who has complained about cutting pictures not being censored. not because i run off to cut after seeing them or blame you for putting them up, but because it makes me uncomfortable. i think it’s lame that you believe that we shouldn’t look at BME, because you’re too lazy to see someone elses side of the situation. i won’t be reading modblog anymore, looking at BME or contributing pictures anymore, because i’m disappointed in you shunning people from a community that is supposed to be open-minded. i’m fine with people doing whatever to their own bodies, but just because i’m “triggered” by cutting images, doesn’t mean that i need help and shouldn’t enjoy looking at pictures of tattooes, piercings and reading articles about the culture and history of it all.

  48. Perhaps a little background information will be necessary for me to illustrate just how unfamiliar OR weak-willed and susceptible to visual triggers the person who wrote you must be.
    I’m a recovering cutter of just over a month. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but when you battle with daily, random urges, often brought on without even emotional spurs, it’s a wonder to get through the week without adding dozens of cuts. I used to take photos and turn it into something artistic, which is one of the factors that makes me miss it most. However, I know that when I DID have a severe breakdown, the cuts would be all the more serious, and so I had to stop. I’d been trying to stop for a while, but usually was never able to make it over a week or so.
    Now, onto the main point. I check in on ModBlog almost every day to keep up with new submissions. I also frequently browse BMEzine’s scarification and ritual cutting galleries. Seeing scarification is somewhat triggering – but not in a negative sense. It makes me wish that I could do something as beautiful as the professional cuttings, so that I could make my scarring into something that other people can interpret as positive, as well. Perhaps I’d even incorporate my present scars into a design to transform self-loathing and artwork into something purely of art.
    The only way I could imagine these galleries making cutting particularly tempting to return to (and it’s not been long since I’ve ‘quit’, so the urges are still quite strong when they come) is if the person is -looking- for an excuse to cut. If someone has so little self control as to be triggered by PICTURES of cutting, then it’s unlikely that they’ll be ‘ex-cutters’ for long, regardless of what pictures they look at. It’s that they simply can’t hold up to the pressure. Imagine it; the emotional cravings for cutting are, I imagine, much stronger than the visual ones. So once an emotional craving comes along, they’re just going to be blown out of the water.

  49. Jenna -
    The sensors are removed after you click on the main article or picture. It’s about society’s perception of what is proper – a wound is not often something people view as ‘dirty’ or something vulgar and unclean. Genitalia, however, are. Many people are still very, very uncomfortable about addressing their own bodies.
    Besides. Genitals are almost always censored in some fashion or another. Cuts are not. You have to be eighteen to (legally) view pornographic materials – at least in the United States. But there is no restriction on viewing ‘cutter’ sites or open wounds, because they’re entirely different things.

  50. Shannon I modify myself because when I was much younger (about 5 or 6- ~1992/1993), probably before this site was even created. I decided I wanted to have the lovely piercings the women had in their ears, all over me. Yes, I was influenced by others…sorta but it was never due to this specific site. This site is more a sharing place to me than something to inspire me.

    PS: If this site does anything, it reminds me of the list I have of mods I want to get, it doesn’t make me want to get a tattoo, piercing or want to do a suspension, it just reminds me of what I already want to get. Also, I knew about suspension long before I knew about BME.

  51. Looking at the pictures you show of cutting makes me not want to cut. I have liked the feeling in the past but hate the look of it. Looking at the pictures you post is enough for me to change my mind.

  52. I was a cutter for several years, and havn’t actively cut for almost as many. I don’t love my scars, but I don’t hate them either. I think that what you put on your body, whether it’s scars or tattoos, means something to you at the time, and the pictures on here of them means something different to everybody.

    While I don’t appreciate people saying I have (or did have) a mental illness because I used to cut (I went to a therapist for years, and was never diagnosed with one [not saying I didn't have negative issues in my life to deal with in a more positive way]), I think if a person has problems viewing particular material, they shouldn’t click on that link. That person almost always knows they shouldn’t look at it, just like an alcoholic will know they shouldn’t go into a bar (denial is not an excuse).

    People with illnesses need help, yes, but it shouldn’t be up to anyone to tell them what they can and can’t look at, even if it will trigger them, just like nobody can tell a bulemic not to go purge (you can offer help, but you can’t stop the action).

  53. Well Shannon – you could just split the modblog up into a 43 diiferent categoires for all the people who can’t handle what they may or may not see here and just leave this blog open to people who can handle the peer pressuring triggers that you so blatently post :)

    BME and Modblog are two of the only places where “if you don’t like it, don’t look” actually apply – you shouldn’t change a thing.

  54. thanks, tranque, since i’m clearly an idiot. i wasn’t asking why the crotch shots are censored, i understand why they are, i just don’t understand why it’d be so hard to blur something out if it’s offending so many people. i’m offended because i feel like shannon doesn’t think i should be looking at this site or be in this community, because i have a mental illness and have cut in the past. i haven’t cut in many years and do not plan on it, but seeing self-inflicted injuries hurts me and makes me scared, because there’s a chance i COULD do that again.

  55. casey — if there was a blurred teaser and the pictures were behind a cut, i wouldn’t look. i’m not given that choice.

  56. Why would you come to BME if you do not like/can not look at pictures of people hurting themselves on purpose? C’mon now.

  57. What about alcoholics. Should we place warnings on pictures of people enjoying a night at the bar?

    Ok. I’m sorry for not being sympathetic, but when I went through my share of illness, I took responsibility for my choices, actions, and when a listening counselor and being medicated to the gills didn’t fufill my needs, I CHOSE to leave my home town and basically normal society, and left for 6 months to get my crap together.

    I’m happy now.

    And you know what? Its hard to take responsibility for ourselves in the times when we are so disappointed with what we’ve chosen to allow in our lives.

    And it sucks.

    But the only way I got what I needed for myself was to stop trying to control others because I felt like crap for not being able to control myself.

    Insisting on wearing blinders helps no one.

    Insisting on others catering to your personal issues is not going to be even remotely beneficial.

  58. And the above comment was mine. For somereason it came up with my name being beth? Lol

    My name is aly…. Iam:aly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>