Scarification and self-branding

I am emotional right now.  I’m nursing a cold and feeling just miserable.  Bare with me.

What drives someone to burn themselves to mark their body permanently?  I am furious at my son for burning himself with a piece of metal.  He didn’t want me to know but mothers always find things out.

He was born dead and revived and I thank God for saving his life.  Not a scar on his perfect little baby body.  That is no longer.  He has covered himself in scars, burns, cuts and tattoos.  The tattoos are terrible and none of the scars make him look cool.  He looks like he went through a war, but he is doing it to himself.

In my opinion, he is not showing his body respect.  I have nothing against professional tattoos.  I have four myself.  His look like a blind man just started inking him up.  He said, “They were free, Mom.”

Free tattoo means someone is experimenting and doesn’t have the first clue to what they are doing.  It’s obvious when you see the sad artwork on his body that someday he will wish he never had done.  Free tattoo mean shitty tattoo.

And the scarification to his body….makes me want to cry.  I don’t like the path my son is taking in life and I don’t like his friends, even though I haven’t met them.

So what can I do?  I feel sick and I haven’t even seen how horribly wrong this brand to his leg has gone.  The ones on his arms are hideous and from what I’ve been told his leg is much worse and probably infected.

Again, why?




  1. H Reiver says:

    There is a line from a Carly Simon song (Haven’t Got Time for the Pain) that goes “suffering was the only thing that made me feel I was alive…” This gets to the perspective of emotional numbness and the choice of pain over emotional distress. People who self-mutilate sometimes report a feeling of release and tranquility afterwards. The social pressure to conform to group behavior is also a factor, along with popular movies such as “Girl, Interrupted” which countless adolescents have emulated as a socially acceptable form of rebellion and cry for attention…

  2. If he is over the age of 18, there is nothing you can do about it. You have to, at some point, allow your son to be responsible for his own body and if that’s what he wants to do with it, you have absolutely no say. Unfortunately, his artwork is free and sad, but the road of bad decisions is paved with regrets.

  3. It seems there could be a deeper issue here that he would want to do this to himself..I’d try to talk to him…when he does decide to not like them he’s looking at $10k plus to have them removed…some jobs now won’t allow visible ink

    • Yeah, the deeper issue I’ve learned, comes in a can or bottle in the form of a six pack or case. Throw in his “friends” and it’s a recipe for disaster.

  4. i take it this is the same son who recently graduated, you can only hope as he moves on through college into work his friends change and with them his thoughts on what he is doing to himself DIY tattoos tend to fade and at least with those he has the option at some point of getting them removed or covered with professional ones the burning/branding is a different matter sadly it my take one getting badly infected to give him a wake up call that these are a stupid idea,

    • He is supposed to be taking the test to enter the service. He will already look like he’s been through a war. The tattoos were done with a gun, so I doubt they will fade away. Kids tattooing kids. Stupid. Branding oneself, stupider. I can’t seem to get it in his head that he is going to regret all this. Sigh….

Go ahead...take a swing. I'll duck and listen.

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