My kid is slitting her wrists

My daughter is slitting her wrists. I am really not sure why. She states that it is kind of a release for when she is upset, that she does it and it makes the stress kind of go away. I asked her how well it works and she says not that well.

The possibilites seem to be (in my mind):
1.) attention
2.) self loathing
3.) Peer pressure/acceptance
4.) omgwtfbbq

She lives with her mom in Texas and I see her at spring break, christmas and summer. During spring break, she had a few slits on one wrist. Her mom knows about it but hasn’t gotten serious about counseling or anything.

Is cutting something that is in vogue? My daughter claims she is the only one in her school doing it and she isn’t looking for attention.

Fuck man, she is my baby, it kills me to see her deface herself like this.

She needs to talk to someone about that. Counseling or peers, whatever it is she needs some form of help. This is not normal behavior.
Dunno what to tell you man, I think slitting your wrists is very serious, and should be handled properly. I don’t see how one justifies doing it without there being something seriously wrong. I don’t think the fact that she is young is a good enough reason to accept her doing something like this. (peer pressure, attn, etc)
If I were you, I’d be doing something to figure out why she’s doing it, and stop it. It is NOT normal.

She doesn’t claim to be suicidal, just emo. Somehow she thinks cutting is a type of release.

I hope a parent of an emo kid shows up here.

So…..she will be here on May 31st (and staying for almost 2 months). I should set up a weekly meeting with a psychologist for while she is here?

Dunno what to tell you man, I think slitting your wrists is very serious, and should be handled properly. I don’t see how one justifies doing it without there being something seriously wrong. I don’t think the fact that she is young is a good enough reason to accept her doing something like this. (peer pressure, attn, etc)
If I were you, I’d be doing something to figure out why she’s doing it, and stop it. It is NOT normal.

She talks about it like it is just no big deal at all. It is so fucking weird. I would love to know who put these fucked up ideas in her head.
Self cutting is actually fairly common, my girlfriend used to do it. She cant really explain why, she wasnt trying to kill herself or looking for attention or anything. Like you said, some kind of release.

This idea was put in these people’s head though. Because when I was a kid, no one did this shit. They found other ways to release their pent up emotions.
look up "self-injury" on wikipedia. this behavior is not the problem itself but a symptom of emotional problems/distress. it should be taken seriously. according to my understanding, this is less about suicide and more about releasing tension and frustration.

i don’t think you can really support the claim that no one did that when you were young…

Let me rephrase. "Cutting" seemed expotentially less prevalent amongst the teenagers 20 years ago in my estimation.

will do.
I always wonder why one would slit their wrists to release the tension when they can just get off and not have any permanent damage. Doesn’t it suit the same goal?

When you say "get off" you mean masturbate or have sex?

I don’t know about that. I just don’t think it was known about or accepted. I have spoken to quite a few counselors about this (good friend and nephew were both doing this) and one of the major reason given for this was that the ‘child’ felt helpless. Voiceless. Not in control and unable to deal with or express that.

I would recommend counseling. I know a lot of people think of that as a bad word, or admitting a weakness or whatever… but it will truly help this girl deal with whatever it is that she is going through.

Masturbation would be the most likely substitute. I mean, what’s the point of cutting yourself for some "release" of tension when you can fill your brain with endorphins repeatedly without any scars?

I don’t think they are looking for endorphins.

cutting is bad enough, but she is playing with fire on the wrists.

Thighs or something if she has to cut. I know that’s not a real solution, but it could easily save her life.

My daughter is slitting her wrists. I am really not sure why. She states that it is kind of a release for when she is upset, that she does it and it makes the stress kind of go away. I asked her how well it works and she says not that well.

The possibilites seem to be (in my mind):
1.) attention
2.) self loathing
3.) Peer pressure/acceptance
4.) omgwtfbbq

She lives with her mom in Texas and I see her at spring break, christmas and summer. During spring break, she had a few slits on one wrist. Her mom knows about it but hasn’t gotten serious about counseling or anything.

Is cutting something that is in vogue? My daughter claims she is the only one in her school doing it and she isn’t looking for attention.

Fuck man, she is my baby, it kills me to see her deface herself like this.

Check this site out and follow some/all of the suggestions/advice given:

This "cutting" seems to be the physical embodiment of a child that is discontent with the world around them/their place in it and is often attributable to a broken home/disrupted family life.

She’s your child, talk to her and encourage her to talk to you. Just be ready for anything that she might have to say, and I do mean anything, and don’t discriminate or express distaste with whatever she has to say…, remember, she’s internalizing her inability to find anyone in her world to discuss her problems with, the conflicts and contradictions she sees in the world unfolding around her, and allow her to vent without passing judgement on anything that she’ll have to say.

She wants/needs to be listened to and to know that what she has to say counts for something. Essentially, just be her Dad.
If it’s a way to release tension… maybe she could find other ways to release tension.

Playing sports?
Taking Karate/boxing/whatever classes?
Something exhausting is always the best imo.
It releases the built up tension from not dealing with her emotions. There is something that is causing her so much pain, that she doesn’t know how to deal with it. Another cause may be that she just feels numb, and does it just to feel anything; even though it’s pain. Cutting is a very serious problem and requires counseling. She needs to talk about whatever her pain is and feel the emotions, only then will she be able to find a better way to release her tension.

IMO it’s not weird for her to talk about it like it’s no big deal, she’s crying out for help. You can minimize this and think it’s strange but you’re likely to wake up to a dead child. Minimize this at your own risk.

If I were in your shoes, I would have a long talk with her mother and get my daughter into long term counseling and perhaps in house therapy.

Cutting oneself isn’t normal, it’s a sign that things are really wrong but the person doesn’t know how to deal. Get them help dealing.

Good luck and God Bless.

You know one person that did this so obviously it’s fairly common?

Get a grip….it’s not healthy nor is it all that common. It is however, a sign that things are really wrong.
In the past month of college I’ve met 2 girl who told me that they cut themselves. Both of them gave me an almost identical reason in that when they cut they feel like their problems are being relieved. In my opinion one of them has serious mental issues and there’s nothing I can do to help her. But the other girl is much more reasonable and hopefully I’ll be able to talk to her and find out another way she can go about relieving stress. They both make sure to put the cuts in places that people won’t see. Both admit that they started cutting on their arms until their parents found out then they started putting the cuts in places not visible with clothes on. So I suggest that you don’t hound your daughter about cutting herself or she’ll probably just put them in places you can’t see and just tell you she stopped.

I lol-ed.
The fact that her mom isn’t doing anything about it will possibly make things worse.

In my experience people cut when they are trying to feel something, anything. Something is going on.. Since she isn’t trying to hide it 100% then she is consciously or not asking for help. She needs to talk to someone.
Want me to show her how to rip her toenails out instead? It’s less visible and more satisfying.

I knew a kid that did that when I lived in Canada.. He did it to his fingernails too and would then color the skin black.

It always creeped me out but I felt bad for the guy too. That shit looked like it HURT.

13

If it’s a way to release tension… maybe she could find other ways to release tension.

Playing sports?
Taking Karate/boxing/whatever classes?
Something exhausting is always the best imo.

I wish she would too. When she is at my house it is non stop sports, but that culture doesn’t exist at her mom’s house in Texas, where she is most of the time.

She says her life there is hell and all she wants is to come to my house. She has never cut herself while at my house.
like others have said, get her some help. if she is openly telling you and her mother about this, its a cry for help. she may not be trying to kill herself, but the location of the cutting might lead to that very thing accidently.

hopefully if she is willing to tell you that she is doing this, she will be willing to go speak with someone about issues that might be causing it.

and give her love and support (which you probably do anyway). it worries me that her mom doesnt seem very concerned. it very well could be for attention if the mom barely notices

like others have said, get her some help. if she is openly telling you and her mother about this, its a cry for help. she may not be trying to kill herself, but the location of the cutting might lead to that very thing accidently.

hopefully if she is willing to tell you that she is doing this, she will be willing to go speak with someone about issues that might be causing it.

and give her love and support (which you probably do anyway). it worries me that her mom doesnt seem very concerned. it very well could be for attention if the mom barely notices

The mom took her to a counselor like once or twice. She is a single mom who has alienated her relatives and has 3 kids. So it is likely logistically difficult for her to get my daughter to counseling.

I think based on what you guys have said here, I will arrange for her to see a counselor while she is here for the summer. It is the best I can do I think.

i think it is somewhat normal behavior but is not healthy behavior
People cut because physical pain > emotional pain. Its a form of stress release for those daily life problems that won’t go away, or in other words your daughter is depressed about her daily life problems,

Its a situation like this , if someone called you an asshole, you’d brush it away as the person isn’t worth your time listening to, that’s the normal way people would deal with it.

If someone would call your daughter a bitch on the other hand, she’d get angered and frustrated, and because she can’t place or redirect the negativity in a good way , she’d get emotionally stressed, and to down that emotional stress, she would start cutting herself in an attempt to release some emotional steam.

Its worthless of course , its like people drinking booze wanting to make their problem go away but it doesn’t work, because cutting,drinking,anti-depressants etc etc are problem supressors and NOT problem solvers.

She needs to work on the root of the problem, and definitly needs to see a psychologist, and you also need to convince her to coooperate with the psychologist in order to tackle her mental problems.

Input = output

If the surroundings are fucked up, then she gets fucked up. Your little girl is like a sponge absorbing all the negativity in her life without knowing how to deal with it, she’d better learn fast on how to defend herself, and how to release her emotions instead of making it a murder hole and start cutting.

Speed is of the essense , the faster you work on it, the more likely she’ll recover. Removing the depressing factors, and stabilizing her enviroment as wel as strenghtening her self image, are important.

I say it always like this. Imagine if you are stuck in a room, what helps better, crying and cutting or a key to get out? Make sure your daughter gets help, and works on finding the key to unlock the door of her problems, tackle the root not the symptoms.

a model citizen as always you toenail ripping tent dweller
Dude, you are not equipped to deal with this. Get her to counseling.
I’d love to give advice, but just reading the thread alone makes the hair on my body stand.

Good luck, man.
I know this is a serious thread, and I agree that you should definitely take this seriously and seek professional help for her and talk to her yourself first but ummm LMFAO @ this….

4.) omgwtfbbq

I believe that seeking professional help for your child is necessary. Self-mutilation can be steamed from numerous things, including depression, anger, self-loathing, family problems, etc.

I’ll reply with more of something that might be able to help you through PM.

People cut because physical pain > emotional pain. Its a form of stress release for those daily life problems that won’t go away, or in other words your daughter is depressed about her daily life problems,

If someone would call your daughter a bitch on the other hand, she’d get angered and frustrated, and because she can’t place or redirect the negativity in a good way , she’d get emotionally stressed, and to down that emotional stress, she would start cutting herself in an attempt to release some emotional steam.

If the surroundings are fucked up, then she gets fucked up. Your little girl is like a sponge absorbing all the negativity in her life without knowing how to deal with it, she’d better learn fast on how to defend herself, and how to release her emotions instead of making it a murder hole and start cutting.

I came to post just this.

There are several reasons why people self injure. Some people do it because they claim they feel emotionally numb or dead inside. When they physically hurt themselves, they feel physical pain. While its not the same as emotional pain, it is still a feeling. People who engage in self injury for this reason claim to feel alive while they hurting themselves. To them, any sensation is better than no sensation at all.

Some people use self injury as a form of self punishment. They feel worthless or useless and as punishment for who they are, the self injure. Statistically, people who self injure as form of punishment also have other addictions like sexual, drug or eating disorders.

Some people use it as a way to manifest their emotional pain into physical pain. People who engage in self injury for this reason are not able to express or manage the emotional pain they feel. For someone who has maladaptive coping skills, emotional pain becomes extremely distressing. Knowing that emotional pain tends to last longer and hurt more than physical pain, they change their pain from something they don’t understand to something they can effectively manage. For them, a broken arm is better than a broken heart.

Get your daughter in therapy. Find a doctor (PhD or PsyD, it doesn’t matter which) who is skilled in working with both young girls and self injury. Their experience is key. Ideally, they should use a humanistic approach (commonly known as client-centered therapy) and if they claim to have an eclectic approach, be skeptical and check their credentials. Meet with the doctor first. Interview the doctor way you interviewed her pediatrician when she was an infant.

Hug your daughter. Talk to her. Don’t be angry or upset when she reveals some shocking and painful information, because she most likely will. Communicate communicate communicate. Don’t be afraid to ask your daughter questions. Too many times parents side step serious issues like this because they are afraid that talking about it will only propel the child further. That’s not true. She wants to be heard and understood so give her your time and attention. Talk to her and show her how to effectively manage her emotions. Other people have suggested physical activity and that’s a super great idea.

Its so unfortunate that her mother is acting so blase, regardless of how she really feels. Way to step up for your daughter. You’re a good dad Good luck and Godspeed to you both My thoughts and prayers are with you both

I wish she would too. When she is at my house it is non stop sports, but that culture doesn’t exist at her mom’s house in Texas, where she is most of the time.

She says her life there is hell and all she wants is to come to my house. She has never cut herself while at my house.

If this is true then you might want to talk to an attorney about getting primary custody of your daughter. There might be many things she’s not telling you about what goes on when she’s living with her mom.

Regardless, my heart goes out to you and your daughter. I’ll keep you both in my prayers and I hope you find her the help she needs. Please don’t minimize her actions because she talks about them in casual ways. It’s good that she feels comfortable enough with you to tell you those things but her actions are an indication that things are not going well in her life….in fact, it’s an indication that things are very wrong.

Good luck and God Bless.
^^ Listen to this one. He’s right and he gives good advice.

You know one person that did this so obviously it’s fairly common?

Get a grip….it’s not healthy nor is it all that common. It is however, a sign that things are really wrong.

About 10% of the population from what I can find. It is a sign that something is wrong, she doesn’t see it that way because it relieves whatever stress or lack of emotion she is dealing with.

I wish she would too. When she is at my house it is non stop sports, but that culture doesn’t exist at her mom’s house in Texas, where she is most of the time.

She says her life there is hell and all she wants is to come to my house. She has never cut herself while at my house.

Sports or some other form of ‘release’ may not satisfy whatever she is looking for. I would be wary to assume that she never cut herself while at your place. I am sure you are a great father and that somehow if she did cut herself at your place, it would be your fault. You cannot think that way, that will make it worse, make her go into hiding with it so that you don’t feel responsible for her actions.

10% is no where near "fairly common". That’s actually quite rare.
This is a post I made a few years ago. I repost it every now and then when the topic arises. I think you’ll find my words useful.

— Michael

There is a lot of ignorance in this thread. Most of you who have spoken pridefully about self-injury don’t even realize it, but some of you use self-injury too, and don’t even know it. So don’t judge.

There are 6 key components as to why a person would self-injure themselves [aka cutting, burning, punching oneself intentionally].

Self injury provides a solution to how and individual is feeling. Most individuals who use self-injury also have undiagnosed clinical depression. Other psychological problems may also follow. Self Injury helps a person cope by:

  • Releasing intense feelings/emotions
  • Physically expressing pain
  • Self-punishment
  • Establishing control
  • Enjoyment of feeling – adrenaline rush
  • Erotic pleasure in some people

The majority of people who self injure tend to have specific personality characteristics: Perfectionism, unable to handle intense feelings, are unable to express their emotions verbally, have a strong dislike for themselves and their bodies, and can experience severe mood swings. They may turn to self-injury as a way to express their feelings and emotions, or as a way to punish themselves when other more obvious methods are not available to them, or they do not know what else to do.

The main types of self injury for the majority are as follows:

Cutting : Cutting, also known as slicing or slashing, is the most common way people hurt themselves. It is typically done with a knife, razor blade, piece of glass, or other sharp objects. Most of the cuts are done on the arms, legs, wrists, and chest; but other people cut on other parts of the body such as the stomach, face, neck, breasts, and genitals. But cutting on the arms and wrist is the most common because excuses can be made more easily (for example people can say that they had an accident while cooking).

Burning : Burning is another common way people hurt themselves. Usually done with cigarettes, lighters, matches, kitchen-stove burners, heated objects (branding irons or hot skillets), and burning objects. Sometimes people even use flammable substances such as gasoline, propane, alocohol, and lighter fluid. Similar to cutting, most people burn themselves on their arms, wrists, legs, and chest.

Interference with wound healing : Most people have unconsciously interfered with the healing of a wound but it is considered Self Harm when it is done deliberately. Some people remove stitches prematurely, stick objects such as needles, pins, etc. into the wound, or do other things to reopen the wound.

Hitting : Hitting themselves with their fists is another way that people hurt themselves that is most commonly done on the head or thighs. Although it may not seem as serious as cutting or burning it is done for the same reasons and results.

Extreme nail biting: It is common for most people to bite their nails. But when it is used as a form of Self Harm it is more severe and frequent than normal. It can result in the injury and damage of the fingernails or cuticles. People can bite their fingernails so much that they draw blood.

Scratching: Another common thing amongst most people scratching can become a form of Self Injury. People who use it as a method of Self Injury make it more extreme in frequency, intensity, and duration. Area’s of skin can become raw or sometimes even bloody. Usually the scratching is done with the fingernails but sometimes it is done with a sharp or semisharp object such as a knife, comb, or pencil. Sometimes it is done unconsciously.

Hair-pulling : Trichotillomania is ‘the excessive and recurrent removal of your own hair resulting in a noticeable loss of hair,’ is the only form of Self Injury recognized as a psychological disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). Usually the hair is removed from the scalp, eyebrows, or beard, but can be from any part of the body. The bald spots that result from Trichotillomania are usually covered with a hat, bandage, or sunglasses.

Breaking of bones: A form of Self Injury that is more rare than the others, the breaking of bones is a serious and severe form of Self Injury. Usually, people break their bones with an instrument such as a hammer, brick, or other heavy objects. But sometimes people throw themselves into walls or doors.

The bottomline for the vast majority who do not suffer from a organic dysfunction [i.e like Autism], or a Psychotic dysfunction [i.e. hearing voices; Schizophrenia] is it provides the person a way to make themselves feel better and provides them a way of coping with their life.

Source:

– Self Injury FAQ

Additionally, many individuals who self-harm have also been viciously abused as children, such as sexually, physically, or verbally [or a combination of the 3]. The trauma can manifest in self-injury: with shame and embarrasment persistently knocking.

The human mind has evolved to find ways to cope, primarily when other methods of coping are unavailable or have never been taught. Survival is the bottom-line. People who self-injure, are actually stronger than they and others think.

You wouldn’t expect yourself or another person to know how to swim if you or they have never been taught. Self-injury is exactly the same way, only it’s complexity is wrapped around the factors of trauma or dysfunction; usually which has been imposed by another human being.

If most of you knew just how many people around you self-injure, you wouldn’t be speaking with such judgment. Many people you love and respect self-injure, you simply do not know about them all. A good portion of those who self injure give no indication of having problems. 1 in 10 people self injures. With self-injury comes incredible secrecy, shame, and embarrassment. And your judgment simply fuels the ignorance surrounding the issue.

What is even more profound disturbing is the fact that self injury is more common than many main-stream disorders, such as eating disorders, drug abuse, or alcohol abuse. Yet the support available for those who self injure is nearly absent. The media doesn’t discuss it, families don’t discuss it, even OT rarely if ever discusses it in contrast to other mainstream problems. Those who self-injure often feel alone and isolated because this support is not wide-spread, or discussed in the open.

Yes, 1 out of 10. That’s quite alarming, isn’t it? Nobody said it was your problem, however – and I’m being serious here for a moment – even though it’s not your problem, it may be worthwhile with those you love to know the problem is real, and to be aware if you see the signs again. Some people you love won’t be as easy to walk away from as that other girl was, so you may wish to be aware.

The shame I’ve spoken of, and the one you’re hearing are two different things. The shame and embarrassment I am speaking of is not often directly the result of the behavior alone: it is instead the emotional distortion that precedes the injury, or what the injury, wounds, or scars stands for. Remember, most people who self-injure have been damaged badly by other people in their pasts when they were too young to know how to protect and defend themselves psychologically.

People who self-injure are not as abnormal as you think, they are quite normal, but only in context of understanding how the human mind works when other coping mechanisms are unavailable. Let me explain: If you do not know how to swim, you’ll thrash in the water to stay afloat in order to survive. You would not call someone thrashing as they drown abnormal, you would say it’s quite normal given the context of knowing they can’t swim. Much the same for those who self-injure. Self injury is a survival mechanism, not a weakness.

Obesity, or being overweight, while that also can be the result of a psychological disorder, in most cases it is not. It is simply gluttony, however, I do not presume to know each persons case, and so I do not judge those who are overweight as "bad" either.

There is a large difference between self-injury and obesity. That difference is that one is a survival mechanism, and one is [in most cases] not. It is true that Eating disorders and compulsive eating can and do fall into a category where eating is used to cope, but I will not get into the details of that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UncommonCreep
Metallic, your posts on this topic are great. I find it hard to explain to people the why, and these articles you are posting are great. Do you frequent the asylum much? If not I think you should.

I am glad that this is helpful for you and hopefully others. Yes, it can be quite difficult from the perspective of someone who deals with these problems to explain what it’s like — after all that’s one of the main reasons the self-injury results in the first place — because talking, or communicating the feelings, and thoughts is not an available option for many – they don’t know how usually.

I try to help others whenever and where-ever I can, but I do not go looking for people to help, such as visiting Asylum. I merely help them if they cross my path, such as the way this post showed up. I hope that makes sense. I may post in Asylum later, but I do not trust people here on OT to keep what is said in Asylum, in that place. OT has proven countless times in the past to be incapable of respecting that line.

I will speak to people via PM long before I’d post personal material in Asylum, and I am always available to talk with people if they wish. If only to share.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UncommonCreep
The thing is most people don’t see it. Either we put them in discreet locations (thigh, upper arm, etc.) or like I did/do I disguise them as an accidental injury. The three cigarette burns on my wrist I pass off as a party accident. A lot of the problems could be helped/solved if people just gave a shit a little more.

Yeah, I think I covered this earlier. Yes, if people were more open and talked more about it, the individual who self-injures were become aware and be able to learn other methods of coping. One can not learn anything which one is not aware of. If you don’t know there are other ways to cope, how can you be expected to use them, search for them or learn them?

Open discussion allows information to be shared, and people who cut themselves now — who are reading my words — may find comfort knowing new, safer ways are available to you. But it takes time, it takes courage, and it takes knowing that it’s ‘ok’ – that self-injury is a survival tool, not a sign of weakness or psychosis. Self-injury can be changed, and people are available to teach you, but first you must overcome the stigma of blame, and shame – you must know that it’s nothing to be ashamed of no matter what others say. You must come to know the truth about self-injury. You must be willing to accept that you do not know another way, and thus be open to listening and learning without judgment against yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazy D.
you’re just saying it’s ok, it’s normal so that people who do that would feel normal. How can that be normal if it’s a result of some kind of trauma/negative experience ? If you can’t control yourself that’s a problem. Self-distracting behavior, whether it’s physical or psychological, is a problem.

I have told you it is a problem, and I will repeat it again here. Yes, it’s a problem, but it is not abnormal given the context. There is a clear difference. Self injury is as much a problem as someone who can’t swim and who thrashes about to prevent themselves from drowning. You would not call a drowning victim "abnormal" given the context anymore than someone who uses self injury as a coping mechanism.

I hope this makes sense. If it does not, you can research the subject further on your own, but I will be unable to explain it further as I am limited in my ability to convey it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wudan
Anyway, it’s late here in Aust, so I’m heading to bed. Thankyou Metallic Blue for your mature responses to this topic, and to those who can’t accept the concept of self inflicted injuries, I sincerely hope that no one close to you ever suffers from this behaviour, since with opinions like yours, it is unlikely they will ever get the help they need.

Oh I’m sure all of them "are" close to someone who self-injurers. It’s nearly impossible not to be given the extremely large percentage who do it. What is even more unfathomable is those who self-injure and don’t even know they do it, and still judge others for it. Now that goes to show you the incredible way in which the mind uses denial to stay alive. Take care Wudan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Draco
People who cut themselves are deeply disturbed and should seek help. End of story.

It is not what you have said, but how you have said it that prevents people from seeking help. While what you have said is not untrue, it implies that those who self-injure are responsible and at fault for the behaviors results, and it does not take into account denial, trauma, or unconscious beliefs – as well as the fact that help is often not available, as those who self injure are unaware that anything exists outside of their method of coping. It is important to be clear on statements like these.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCnPROUD
i punched a wall as hard as i could one time after the girl i was dating hooked up with my friend 2 days after we broke up

the pain just felt good

Punching walls is also a form of self-injury, especially when it is done with the intent of harming self. It is a coping mechanism used more so by men than by women. Why would anyone punch a wall if they knew a less damaging method existed to handle their anger, and feelings? The answer is simple, they would not. And that is what this thread is about.

What many also don’t understand about self-injury is that consciousness often changes during the event. What I mean is the mind literally changes on a biological level. Disassociation or a "numbness" often occurs, where the individual is unable to remember, or identify what they were feeling during the episode. Memory loss is not uncommon when disassociation is present.

This is often one goal of self-injury: to mask overwhelming emotional pain or feelings. Endorphins [neurotransmitter that block pain] are released, which mask physical pain as well in many cases.

It is these physical changes, and chemicals which often produce the large sense of emotional relief that follows self-injury. There are two stages which one who self-injurers will experience. First: It also produces a sense of well-being, or feeling "better." These feelings are short-lived, and temporary in the sense that they only last for hours, days. Second: After the euphoria of self-injury passes, the individual may feel a profound sense of guilt or shame again, for acting on the behavior, doing damage to themselves, or for losing control. The regret, and shame proceding the act often keeps the cycle going. To cope with the feelings, the indivdidual may once again seek to self-injure.

I should make clear, that self-injury often co-exists with other disorders, and problems. Substance abuse, eating disorders — as I said earlier — also exist side by side with self-injury. The behavior patterns are very similar among addictive diseases.

The bottomline: So, Self Injury can influence — or be influenced — coexist with, and/or relate to other psychological disorders.

Trauma

A huge number of individual with self-injury have suffered some form of childhood abuse. ‘Significant correlations exist between both sexual and physical forms of childhood violence and SI. Other violence within the home has also been determined to be related to self-injury, as has emotional abuse.’ SI has also been linked to having witnessed or been part of ritual abuse. ‘The short- and long-term effects of abuse are far reaching and severe, impacting emotions, memories, relationships, self-esteem, behaviors, and even identity.’

In some ways self-injury may be a reaction to abuse. ‘If you have endured and survived trauma or abuse, you can attest to the horror of these events.’ During episodes of abuse you have probably felt feelings of violation, helplessness, and powerlessness- as if you have little or no control over your environment or even your own body. You may be confused by the way in which you were treated. You may have felt even guilty. The psychological effects of trauma are so intense and severe that it became essential that you find a way to cope. Self-Injury may have helped you cope or deal with the aftereffects of your past traumatic experiences by giving you a way to escape negative feelings and to feel in control for once.

SI can be used for many uses. It may be a way of recreating some of the abuse you went through or witnessed as a child, allowing you to reenact the trauma through self-injury. Recreating previous traumatic experiences can be used as a way to symbolically alter the original course of the abuse, because when you hurt yourself, you are the one in control. This feeling of control can help change your reaction to these past abuses. By hurting yourself to recreate trauma, you are able to change from a situation where you felt helpless and powerless to one where you were in complete control, and had complete power.

Self-injury may also be used to relieve psychological tension. This extreme form of tension may directly result from past traumas (‘as in the case of memories or flashbacks’) or may indirectly result from past traumas (‘such as an extreme reaction to loss or isolation’). You may experience moments when you are unable to get rid of painful images or memories of the trauma. At these times you may use self-injury as a way to get rid of these overwhelming memories.

Abuse and trauma both have so many related consequences, it is likely that you have used self-injury to cope with some of these. For example: if the people who were hurting you were the people who were the closest to you, you would not have been able to trust them. Or, because of the abuse you may have had to keep secrets from other friends and family members, which also interferes with your ability to connect with other people. You may also have used SI as away to lessen emotional pain related to the abuse. The lack of connection with other people, and the difficulty in trusting fosters the same feelings that lead to self-injury. ‘Because of the patterns set up in your abusive past, you may use SI to both replicate these patterns as well as control and relieve the accompanying intense emotional pain.’

– Self Injury FAQ

Boundaries

An area that is damaged by abuse, especially sexual abuse, is that of boundaries. ‘Boundaries are limits we place on ourselves and others that help us to maintain our sense of separateness and independence.’ When we are children we learn to separate ourselves from other people and to experience ourselves as a single, independent human being. A part of learning boundaries is determining what is ours and what is not ours. One of the things that children own is their body, they learn to believe that it is their own, and that no one else is allowed to touch, use, or disturb it without permission. These rules, or boundaries are often carried into adulthood. But children who have been abused often are not allowed or haven’t had the chance to learn their boundaries. ‘Sexual or physical abuse leads to confusion over these very basic rules of ownership.’ Children who have been abused may learn that their body is to be hurt and abused or manipulated by others. They learn that their bodies are not their own. Their boundaries are variable or nonexistant.

Self-Injury allows people to experience their body as their own. In some way, it helps ‘illuminate or restore some basic boundaries lost due to childhood trauma.’ Hurting yourself may make you feel more real, more separate, more whole. You are the person who is hurting yourself. You are the one who is changing your body. ‘You, and you alone, are in charge of your body.’

– Self-injury FAQ

For more information on eating disorders, and self-injury, click this link:

Scroll down 2/3rds of the way, and you’ll see Eating Disorders discussed. Additionally: Abusing Fad diets and compulsive eating may also be considered as types of eating disorders.

The pattern of self-injury and eating disorders are very closely linked. They are very similar.

For more information on substance use, substance abuse, and substance dependence, and self-injury, click this link:

Suicide, Borderline Personality Disorder, Dissociative identity disorder are also included in this link and have a relationship to Self-injury.

Scroll down 2/3rds of the way, and you’ll see Substance [use, abuse and dependence] discussed. Additionally: using nicotine, caffeine or other substances falls under this grouping. Substance abuse and self-injury are not closely related like eating disorders and self-injury, but the addictive nature of both patterns can coincide, and thus someone with substance problems can also self-injure. Less than 1/3 who self-injure have used or abuse an illegal substance.

The use of substances such as caffeine, alcohol, and/or nicotine is widely accepted by society and is more common than the use of other drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, etc. Most of us have a type of substance to help us get through the day. However, most of these substances are legal and ‘culturally sanctioned,’ which makes them more difficult to identify, accept, understand, or recognize as a problem. You may not even realize that you are changing your state of being with chemicals, such as drinking coffee to stay awake in class or at work.

Source:

– Self-Injury FAQ

One last comment about Suicide and Self-Injury and I’m done posting information. I’ll continue discussions if people have questions. Individuals who attempt or succeed in ending their life are not looking for a way to adapt to their psychological state. ‘In contrast, self-injury is used to cope – to adapt to severe psychological discomfort.’

Yeah I’m interested too

wow. im 20 and ive never had the balls to actually slit them. pretty pathetic considering how miserable and fucked up i am

Nope it just shows that your body is functioning fine, i personally extremely dislike pain most likely just like others, i wouldn’t add additional pain to my already painfull life by doing stuff like that, as i don’t like to get hurt.
She is NOT going to look at you and say, ‘This is a suicide attempt.’.
Then again, if she does ever say that you need to take it seriously.

She needs help. Good talk therapy. Get her Mother on the horn and find out why Mom isn’t taking it seriously.
Ummm, I know how she feels…when I was in highschool(it’s not easy at all for girls developing and we get NO breaks from peer pressure, friends, life, etc, etc..) I also cut myself. It does help in a weird way…I am NOT saying that it is alright nor should she be left alone about it BUT I know how the kid feels, it releases an emotional pain you can’t deal with…and it’s usually b/c they are depressed (i was for years). You get this build up of multiple emotions(usually anger, sadness, insecurities) and the only way to sort them in that state of mind is to physically hurt yourself…it gives a temporary sense of relief, TEMPORARY that being it usually gets to that spot again where you have to do it again…and again and even years down the road

INTERVENE!!! I finally had to breakdown and go on depression medicine and get help from an outside source to help me deal.

For your kids sake (she may be upset with you for getting involved) but in the long run it’s for the best and for her health, happiness and safety!

She states that it is kind of a release for when she is upset, that she does it and it makes the stress kind of go away.

That’s why she does it. The feelings are unbearable, she can’t express them or tolerate them, cutting is a way of coping as it releases the feelings.

It is an expression of feelings that can’t be verbalised, a physical distraction from the physical sensations of anxiety which are frightening and unpleasant. There is also a release of hormones that helps calm the distress.

She needs help to learn to verbalise her feelings and find healthier ways of coping with distress. Do not give her web links, self harming is common and contact with others via online forums can make things worse due to peer pressure. Do not stop her cutting, it is the only way she has of coping, but get her help to minimise harm until she can stop.

Most kids out grow this habit, meanwhile, other than therapy, lots of cuddles and understanding will go a long way.
My ex had had wrist marks… Turns out she cut herself when she was younger, kinda like a release, she said it started with her parents divorce… She didn’t do it anymore when i was datin her

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