Online Test

Find out the severity of your symptoms with this free online test

WantsHealthyGlow , 06 Oct 2012

Want to talk to my boyfriend about my disorder, But how?

Has anyone here experienced having to talk to a love one for the first time about their disorder? "Come Out" of the darkness, so to speak? I could use some advice. I have been a skin picker for 17 years. Since I can remember. I have never had clear skin as a result. If I didn't pick my skin, it would be beautiful. I am not prone to acne, I just pick things that don't exist, or squeeze pores...and create problems that were never there. In my personal life, I am a control freak, a perfectionist and am highly critical of other people.. and myself obviously. I am an artist and I work from a home studio. I live with my loving beautiful supportive amazing boyfriend and we are probably going to get married within a year or two. I have never openly talked to him about my skin picking. I have never talked to anyone.. I went to group therapy sessions at an OCD center in Los Angeles that specialized in skin picking and hair pulling disorders. This was a bit of a help but not much. I know my boyfriend is aware that I do this but we never talk about it and I hide it from him. I pick when he is at work and I am home alone. When I am stressed, anxious, bored or feeling down. I used to be a heavy smoker and the sensation is the same. We were both listening to NPR on the radio last week, and a story came up about "Excessive Grooming" disorders... I knew exactly what it was going to be about and my heart skipped a beat. I got nervous. I have hid my issue from people for so long that I knew if we both listened to the story together it would be "Out there". "He may sense my nervousness", I thought. We both listened and didn't say a word about it. I made a point to tell him that I wanted to hear it though. So I have decided that it is time I finally talk to to him about this. I know my family or my boyfriend would never judge me. I am just so embarrassed and ashamed. If I want to spend the rest of my life with my man, I know I have to talk to him about it. I know he can help me change. It is the first step to not only controlling my picking, but managing the anxieties and control issues in my life that are so crippling to my self esteem, my career and my ability to grow and move forward. How can I start the conversation with him?
4 Answers
October 06, 2012
Hey there! Telling a loved one about your skin picking is one of the most terrifying and liberating experiences. I "came out" to my boyfriend in college one night when we were drunk (I do not recommend it haha). We were sharing our deepest secrets and naturally it came up. I'm sure he was freaked out at first but he studies medicine so has a good understanding of mental disorders. Over the past five years he has seen the ups and downs of my skin picking. While he hasn't always understood what I was going through, he has always been supportive. Telling my family about it was a lot more difficult. Growing up my mom knew I picked my skin but she never realized that I felt compelled to do it and couldn't control it. She would catch me picking or see the aftermath and just tell me not to do it and that if I tried hard enough I could stop. She always thought it was just a willpower problem. It all came to a head two years ago before my 5 year high school reunion. The week leading up to the reunion was absolute hell. I tore my face apart and then tried to treat it with acne creams which only irritated it more. I looked in the mirror and I knew that there was no way I could face my former high school classmates looking like that. I had a complete meltdown and couldn't stop crying. My boyfriend came over to my apartment and I told him that he needed to call my parents and tell them that I couldn't come home for the weekend. He had them on the phone and I finally got the nerve to talk to them and explained that I had picked my skin too badly and there was no way I could go. This was the first time that they truly realized what I was dealing with. My mom convinced me to drive home and promised that I didn't have to go to the reunion. My boyfriend and I emailed them some articles about skin picking and asked them to read them before I came home so they could have a better understand of what I was going through. The second I stepped through the front door at my parents house I totally lost it and started crying again. When I finally calmed down we sat and talked for hours about what I had been struggling with for 10 years. It was not an easy conversation and they were confused and sad that they hadn't helped me sooner. Afterwards it felt like such a weight had been lifted.
October 06, 2012
I would recommend printing out some articles on compulsive skin picking and asking your boyfriend to read them. If you are as good at hiding your skin picking as I was, he may completely shocked and confused. After he reads the articles, sit down with him and explain that you have been struggling with this disorder for 17 years. Explain to him why you kept it a secret and why you decided to finally come out to him. He will probably have a lot of questions so be prepared for a long talk. Also, tell him what you need from him. I told my boyfriend that I needed him to ask me how I was doing every so often. I also told him that if he suspected that I was picking, to call me out on it rather than ignore it. YOU CAN DO IT! Let me know how it goes!!!
October 06, 2012
Thank you so much for this- You know exactly how I am feeling.. and it is inspiring to hear that your stories of "coming out" were successful ones! I am definitely going to do it- and I will let you all know how it goes! If I need more support between now and then to gather the courage, I will certainly post back here. I know that I will not regret it and it will bring us closer... I feel like i have been hiding from something for so many years.. and I know it is sense of denial and lack of self worth. It is hard to decipher what came first.. the chicken or the egg. The skin picking created the feeling, or something else created the skin picking. But all of it needs to be dealt with. The fact that I don't talk about it with anyone has created a veil of a shadow over my outlook on things sometimes. It makes me feel angry, out-of-control and not good enough. Al of which makes me argumentative and emotional, I try to regain control by attempting to control others and I criticize others to make me feel better about myself. this behavior is noticeable to others but what is not known is the reasons behind it. Most times, I don't notice the fog and denial.. just the emotional crap that comes with it. There are times when it is very hard to see through the veil.. and my life is foggy and out-of-control. I know that revealing my destructive habit to my closest friend, my boyfriend, will help lift the fog.
LL Cool Jane
November 18, 2012
Thank you for posting this. It gives me hope and illustrates everything I've been going through.

Start your journey with SkinPick

Take control of your life and find freedom from skin picking through professional therapy and evidence-based behavioral techniques.

Start Now