My daughter has been doing this since she was 12. She’s now 16. She quit for a while but has recently started back. She’s currently at an acute mental health facility. She doesn’t seem to want to use the coping skills that are encouraged when she gets really sad or angry.
Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. Anyone else have a child who self harms, I need help!
My heart really goes out to you.
I’m sorry mama, the facility will help her. Sending prayers.
Spend as much quality time with her as you can. Hug her, kiss her, tell her you love her anytime you can. Do things with her that she enjoys. Maybe it would help if you just spent time with her one on one, just talking or even just showing you love her. I’m not saying you don’t do it already, I don’t know. But, it might help her if you were open and caring with her more…so she knows you care. I’m not saying you don’t do any of that already, but just suggestions that might help. Maybe spend time, take her shopping, to concerts, or maybe even just playing video games with her, laying in the grass at the park and jam some of her favorite music…anything she would enjoy. I bet it would mean alot and might even make a difference. These are all just my suggestions and opinions. I pray things get better. Sending love!
Prayers for you.i have been in your daughters shoes and then in your place with my own.
I am so sorry you & she are going thru this, Prayers for both of you. She is where she belongs, And hopefully she gets that extra help she needs
Anti anxiety or depressants? Anxiety leads to depression in many cases.
I truly feel your pain and wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Praying you find answers and she finds peace at whatever is causing her pain.
I unfortunately only found out my daughter was self harming after finding her almost lifeless body after she attempted suicide. Once the hospital cut her clothes off they found superficial wounds on her wrist. At that time they were very minimal, like she was just trying maybe, but got scared. The second time was after her inpatient stay after her attempt and those were absolutely horrific! She said she learned how to do it where it didn’t hurt from another girl who was inpatient. Thankfully she hasn’t done it since.
I am so sorry you are going through this. My prayers for your sweet daughter and for you, momma! Teen years are so tough on our kids. I know where you are right now and it is such a hard spot!
I did up until I was 18, unfortunately. I have plenty of scars, I was in a shitty place and thought if I bled, I wouldn’t feel the pain in my heart anymore, she’s hurting more than anyone knows and that’s her way of coping. She has the same mindset as I did. The only thing that snapped me out of it was my boyfriend she needs something to occupy her mind. Maybe if she likes to paint, has a favorite show. Something that I did that actually helped me when I didn’t want it, I would get a red sharpie and “slice” my arms with the red, making my brain think I was actually cutting. When I was put in a mental hospital, it made everything worse and I had to lie each day to get out of there. I was 14 and still remember it like it was yesterday. It was a terrible place, I know she’s scared.
Something is a trigger for her and she needs to address that to help. She needs to find a therapist she likes and feels comfortable with . Hang in there mom just be her support.
Figure out the root of her issues. I used to self harm all the time but mostly bc I thought my family didn’t listen to me,didn’t care, didn’t love me, boy problems, bullying, stress and pressure…Talk to her and figure out whats causing her to feel this way.
Think of it as an addiction. I went through the same thing as a teen and young adult. In and out of hospitals. Everyone is going to be different and there isn’t really one way to make it stop. Until you’re ready to stop, you won’t. Until I had my daughter, i couldn’t find an alternate coping mechanism
Prayers. I am so sorry.
Praying for her. Lord bless you both.
I struggled with self harm for MANY years, ask her what’s really going on. Something is hurting her badly. The reason why people self harm is to feel something other than feeling “numb”, is the best way I can describe it. One of the best things I’ve found to do when I have urges is I wear a rubber band on my wrist and snap it when I get the urge. Try anything. I hope she feels better soon, sending tons of love your guy’s way
Self harm is usually a symptom of covering up pain .A painful event happened cutting makes the emotional pain go away.She needs help to bring out the emotional event so she can let it go…
My first piece of advice would be to use less blaming language.
She’s most likely not choosing not to use the coping skills.
She’s 16. She’s still a baby really, it’s going to take her a long time to learn and teach herself how to use those skills. Most of us don’t go straight to, “ok, think of coping skills.” When we’re in crisis.
It took me until I was in my late 20’s to be able to use coping skills I’d learnt through life. And even now I’m 30 I still falter. Fingers crossed for her one day she feels healed. Or at least happy.
Just be there for her, listen when she wants to talk, and dont disregard anything shes saying…was there anything traumatic for her when she was little that she will be struggling with now…try really hard to find her triggers, they may be the most unexpected thing in the world but if you do HELP her to overcome them…
My second child has been a cutter since almost 12 and what caused it was sexual abuse by her father after we separated. We’ve gone through EVERYTHING to get the necessary help and even a few times in the hospital along with homebound being stuck to my side without a bedroom door for months on end. She would get really creative and use some weird objects too. She is almost 15 now and occasionally still does it but it’s more of a scratch so I can tell she’s not doing it to hurt herself. The way she explains it is because she still feels empty inside sometimes that is the only thing she can feel and she wants to feel something.
My daughter uses self harm for means of attention, and medication. She’s a teen. There’s nothing wrong other than her father left twice. When she was born he left, and he showed up 10 years later then left. She needs terrible things to happen for attention 🙅🙅
Have you asked her why she feels that is a better coping skill?
Or better yet, have you asked her what is causing her that much anxiety/stress to feel that is what she needs to do.
I am a habitual cutter. I have been doing it on and off for 18 years.
For me a negative ball of energy grows in my chest, I do everything I can to prevent that ball from growing but every day there are negative things that feed into that ball.
It eventually comes to the point where cutting is the ONLY thing that will release that negative energy.
Seeing myself bleed is that energy leaving my body and putting my mind at peace…
The longest I went without cutting was 4 years.
Last time it happened was January and April of 2020.
It is the hardest thing in the world to fight that urge in your head every day.
People can look down on me all they want, but my best and honest advice is to try to understand what she is fighting in her mind. As hard as it is, make sure if she is going to do it, to make sure she does it a safe manner and can clean and bandage it properly after she does.
My cutting isn’t suicidal and hers may not be either.
I beg you to put everything you think you know aside and understand her. Because I never had that. My mother just shipped me off when ever I did it.
She never even tried to understand me and to this day still doesn’t.
One thing that might help her is DBT. It helped me in so many ways.
I started self harming at 12 and finally quit for good at 19. I went in and out of facilities and tried multiple medications. The one thing that needed to change was my home life. I have no idea how her home life is but for me that was the case. Once I left my home and moved in with my now fiancé I was super happy and never had a thought of suicide or self harm. I also just now, at the age of 24, found a good medication. That alone can really be hard to achieve. Sometimes things at home need to change. Maybe she wants to leave, I mean it could be anything. What I can tell you now is just be there for her and support her 100%. One thing I also needed was a lot of support and I did not have that growing up. At all.
So sorry for what you and your daughter are going through I had the same situation with my daughter at about the same age she eventually grew out of it with a lot of patience and buckets full of love just hang in there and hopefully this will resolve it’s self but don’t be in a hurry. It takes time my thoughts are with you and your daughter x
Praying for you. My daughter used to do that. I took everything away, placed her in counseling and that seems like it’s helping
For me it was a control thing. I felt like I had zero control of my life. I haven’t cut in over a decade but I have still harmed myself (just less harmfully) over the years. When I have faltered and feel as though I might again it’s usually because I feel like something or a lot of things are happening to me that’s out of my control. It also provided a great sense of mental relief to push the pain from the inside to the outside, sort of like a runner’s high you get after an intense workout. I struggled since childhood with anxiety and depression that wasn’t suggested by doctors until my late teens and officially diagnosed in my early 20s. A bipolar diagnosis came in my late 20s. I was briefly in group therapy as a teen that I hated at the time but really did help me. I’ve since done group therapy as an adult and I was so thankful for how much it helped. I think therapy is a great thing but it’s not one size fits all, find something she doesn’t hate. I think if I had been given art therapy as a teen it would have made such a more meaningful and lasting impact on young me. I’m hoping for the best for you both.
I have been self harming from around 11/12 years old. For me it’s because I was continually told “suck it up” I wasn’t allowed to cry, or show any negative emotions. I found that cutting stopped all the feelings, so I just resorted to that.
I still struggle to show emotion, it a hard cycle to break! Just always let her express herself, she may just not know how.
Also the blaming language as “she doesn’t seem to want” no, she wants to!
We know something works, so it’s easier to resort to that. Especially when rewiring our brains it takes tons of training.
When you are expected to always know how to handle your ever changing emotions, hello 16!! You will go back to what is helpful (cutting) to get over the emotions.
Most of the time it’s a quick thing (cutting) to get over the new emotion, until she can be in a safe (mental and physical) space to work everything out in.
Cutting does not always mean suicidal, and my mom, to this day 20 years later, can’t separate that fact that cutting is a coping mechanism, not to actually harm myself.
Cutting is very easy to hide, she needs someone to lean on. You are mom, be a safe space for her, you care or you wouldn’t care to help her. But with cutting sometimes just sitting with her, and being a ear to hear everything she is going through, no matter what your feelings are towards anything she is talking about is extremely helpful.
Maybe you should take some courses to know what to ask, how to be an active listener, and how to support but still parent.
Good luck, this is something that is life long, please remember is a journey, not a simple sprint.
The books… Connected child, the connected parent and the explosive child. Between them all it will help you be able to connect with her and way that will help you understand her as well as help you get to the root of the problem where the both of you can come up with a collaborative approach. Feeling out of control is part of their issue and being deeply hurt. Coming up with a collaborative approach helps her feel and be in control as well as address the issues.
Yess you can pm if you’d like. I’m a year into it with my oldest who is 13 and who has taken extra steps to try to hurt herself in other ways. I’d love to be a ear to listen. I understand how completely alone you can feel sometimes when nobody really understands unless they have lived it
I did from the age of 10-17. I was misdiagnosed with chronic depression at 14 but properly diagnosed with PTSD and didn’t get diagnosed with bipolar until I was 17. I went inpatient 8 times in one year. It’s a very overwhelming experience while having to juggle school and friendships. All you can do is be there for her and make sure she’s getting the help she needs.
Mine. She’s in counseling, has a mentor and is homeschooling. It began after a friend of hers committed suicude. She lost all emotions, then began self harm. Idk the answer.
As a former self harmer, I’d recommend you don’t force her to talk to you. Ask her what’s going on, if she says nothing or she doesn’t want to talk about it, then tell her you’re there for her should she need it and maybe ask if she’s okay the next day, don’t point out the marks if you see them, just remind her where you are if she needs you
If she does open up to you and it’s something you consider minor, don’t tell her to get over or ‘shit happens’ because that’s the best way to make her never open up to you again. She isn’t doing it for attention, she’s doing it for relief of emotional pain or because the world is overwhelming. People forget how stressful it is to be a teenager and be in school, and be outside when all you want to do is hide away, and a lot of us find it a massive struggle. I’m in my mid twenties and 2 years clean, and I’m still struggling most days. It’s not going to go away overnight and the coping mechanisms aren’t easy to think of when you’re in that situation
I have a daughter with medical issues rare auto inflammatory genetic mutations and pending a whole exome. She was around 6 and I over heard her brother ask her why she kept digging her nails into her self till she bled and she said because it takes the pain away from my bones for a second. Sometimes we just don’t know why our children do things but it looks like you are trying to get her help and answers. We changed up her meds and I didn’t point it out to her that I knew I just reached out to all of her doctors. After we changed meds the self harming went away. < also wanted yo add every ones situation is different and the reason I didn’t bring it to her attention that I knew is because I didn’t want to make a big deal to her with it. Had it continued we had certain things in place to help hugs
I started self harming when I was 5 my first of many suicide attempts was when I was 6.
It can be hard to understand why anyone would hurt himself or herself on purpose. Learning that your own teen is doing it can leave you feeling shocked and upset — and not sure what to do or how to help.
For most, cutting is an attempt to interrupt strong emotions and pressures that seem impossible to tolerate. It can be related to broader emotional issues that need attention. Most of the time, cutting is not a suicide attempt.
Cutting affects many teens and preteens — even beyond those who self-injure. Many teens worry about a friend who cuts or face pressure from peers to try cutting as a daring thing to do.
In many cases, cutting and the emotions that go along with it are something teens struggle with alone. But because of growing awareness, more teens can get the help they need.
Parents can help teens who cut — and the earlier, the better. Cutting can be habit-forming, and sadly, many people underestimate the risks of getting seriously sick or hurt that go along with it.
there ways to help. By coping with your own feelings, learning about cutting, finding professional help, and just being there to love and believe in your teen, you’ll provide the calm, steady support that he or she needs.
Accept your own emotions. If you know or suspect that your teen is cutting, it’s natural to feel a whole range of emotions. You might feel shocked, angry, sad, disappointed, confused, or scared. You might feel hurt that your teen didn’t come to you for help or feel guilty that you didn’t know about it. All of these emotions are completely understandable. But it’s not your fault, and it’s not your teen’s fault.
Take time to identify your own feelings and find a way to express them. This might mean having a good cry, talking with a friend, or going for a walk to let off steam or quietly reflect. If you feel overwhelmed, talking with a therapist can help you sort things through and gain some perspective so that you can provide the support your teen needs.
Learn all you can about cutting. Find out all you can about cutting, why teens do it, and what can help them stop. Some teens cut because of peer pressure — and once they start, they can’t easily stop. Other teens feel pressure to be perfect and struggle to accept failures or mistakes. And still others contend with powerful moods like anger, sadness, worthlessness, and despair that feel hard to control or too heavy to bear. Cutting is sometimes the result of trauma and painful experiences that no one knows about.
It can hurt to think that your child might experience any of these feelings. As difficult as it is, try to keep in mind that exploring what pressures prompt your teen to self-injure is a necessary step toward healing.
Communication Is Key
Talk to your child. It can be hard to talk about such a painful topic. You may not know what you’re going to say. That’s OK. What you say won’t be nearly as important as how you say it. To open the conversation, you might simply say that you know about the cutting, and then convey your concern, love, and your willingness to help your child stop.
It will probably be hard for your teen to talk about it, too. He or she might feel embarrassed or ashamed, or worried about how you’ll react or what the consequences might be. You can help ease these worries by asking questions and listening to what your teen has to say without reacting with punishment, scolding, or lectures.
Let your teen know that cutting is often related to painful experiences or intense pressures, and ask what difficult issues your teen may be facing. Your teen might not be ready to talk about it or even know why he or she cuts. Even if that’s the case, explain that you want to understand and find ways to help.
Don’t be surprised if your teen resists your efforts to talk about cutting. He or she might deny cutting, get angry or upset, cry, yell, or storm off. A teen might clam up or say that you just don’t understand. If something like this happens, try to stay calm and patient. Don’t give up — find another time to communicate and try again.
It’s important to seek assistance from a qualified mental health professional who can help you understand why your teen cuts, and also help your teen heal old hurts and develop new coping skills.
Therapy can allow teens to tell their stories, put their difficult experiences into words, and learn skills to deal with stresses that are part of life. Therapy also can help identify any underlying mental health condition that needs evaluation and treatment. For many teens, cutting is a clue to depression or bipolar (mood) problems, unresolved grief, compulsive behaviors, or struggles with perfectionism.
In my family experience it was a coping mechanism to deal with abuse , look into who might be or might have been harming her .
Yep. Currently going through it. Took away all sharp things
Coping skills and counciling are the equivalent to putting bactine and a bandaid over the top of an infected splinter, there is an underlying psychological “splinter” that unrepaired is manifesting in self harm, my guess is it happened or developed prior to the age of 12 and that its big, I find it hard to believe that you arent aware of it
Could take time.
Let her know you’re ALWAYS there. (Even in the late late night:weary:), don’t be afraid to wake mama if you need me.
*I have a cousin who didn’t stop until early 20s. After being kicked out of school and gossiped ab from the guy(s).
She’s a bigger girl(overweight in addition to overly large breasts), teased at times I’m sure, offered weight loss programs in addition to healthy lifestyle changes all suggested by family(bc she’s young and very capable of making changes now vs later), a change in location etc…
They have to want it.
All we can do is be there and let them know we’re always there
She no longer harms herself physically
I wish I could help. I self harmed from 10ish-17. I still have urges now and then. I have never been diagnosed but I believe I suffered from depression and anxiety. The depression is better these days but the anxiety is in full drive. I used cutting as a way to have a ‘release’ from all the emotions that I was going through. Never wanted attention for it though I always made sure the scars and cuts were hidden. Make sure she knows you are there for her.
I used to be a cutter. And honestly I’ve gone so long without cutting I feel as if I have some type of relief lifted off my shoulders. I cut myself so bad I had to get stitches before. I was cutting because I wanted to end my life and had no access to medicine as I tried to kill myself by taking all of my antidepressants and benadryl (one of the big bottles) I had to have my stomach pumped out as a result. It’s an awful feeling but I’m so glad I stopped
I do. We’ve had limited success with trying to encourage less damaging “self harm” behaviors like keeping a rubber band (like a hair tie) around the wrist and snapping it whenever there was an urge to harm…. Sometimes it worked other times not so much.
As someone who has cut before, she’s doing it to feel something. Her meds if she’s on anything my need adjusted. Good luck to your family
I did! For years. I haven’t hurt myself in 8 years now but when I did it was bad enough I have very prominent scare all over my body. I know this is an anonymous post but please feel free to message me! As someone who did it myself I can give you insight
I wasn’t able to stop until my 30s, anger work is great. There’s an app called CalmHarm that I used too, it’s a great distraction. Love her and don’t treat her like she’s broken
I was the same when I was younger. I started around the age of 13 and couldn’t find a way to stop until I was around 20. It does become like an addiction after so long. The best thing to do for her right now is to let her know you care about her and you want her to feel better. Don’t make her think you look at the self harm as a terrible thing. Otherwise she will think you don’t understand and continue doing it but get better at hiding it. That’s what I did at least. For me mental facilities and therapy didn’t help any. But that doesn’t mean it won’t help her. If you can find the root of the reasoning, then you can help her the best. Figure out what makes her feel the way she feels when she wants to hurt herself. That’s the area you can work on and help her feel better about.
I self harm. It distracts from the mental pain which hurts so much more imo. I find if I distract myself through art it occurs less often. I tend to get lost in art projects easily to a point that I tune everything out. Maybe encouraging a hobby could help. I do a lot of different art stuff. Jewelry, painting, sign making, drawing, sewing, and embroidery.
Former self harmer here. It’s an addiction believe it or not. I haven’t in years but still think about the “release” I could get when I’m upset.
There’s a difference in knowing a skill and learning a skill. I know how the oil I’ll changed in a vehicle… I’ve never learned how to do it.
Telling her to be mindful of just jargon… Someone has to show her how to be mindful. Knowing there are consequences for your choices is different when you’re having to live with the consequences of a choice.
She needs behavior interventions. Figure out what the triggers are, then reward good decisions. Kinda like training a dog.
Help her prepare through If/Then exercises. “If I drink alcohol, then I might get pulled over. If I get pulled over, I might have to go before a judge. If I go in front of a judge, I might go to jail.”. So that sounds a lot different than “of I drink alcohol I might get in trouble”. And as an adult diagnosed with ADD and being a survivor of childhood trauma/neglect…I can tell you that your aren’t hugging her enough. You’re not holding her hand. You’re not drying her tears. And you’re not giving her the tools she’ll need to deal with her emotions throughout life.
Parenting is exhausting. We all fail every single day. But this… THIS… We cannot fail on… Because it is going to shape every single relationship she has for the rest of her life. Friends, spouse, work, parents, children… Every single relationship. Trust me on this… I’m a professional… And I’m your daughter in 25 years.
You just need to support and try and help. But don’t push it onto her. I have been self harming since I was 12, and it’s hard to understand what is going through her head, but the best you can do right now is support her and make sure she feels loved everyday. Depression sucks and I know for me whenever I get yelled out it makes me think that person dosent love me, it’s walking on glass around them because you don’t know what their triggers could be.
You’ve got this mumma:heart:
Do you have her in therapy? I recommend DBT therapy. She should be addressing the reason she’s self harming (trauma, anxiety, depression). Coping mechanisms are great but she needs to find one that works for her and she needs to address the underlying issue. Goodluck!
I was a cutter from age 14 to 17. I also spent time in a mental facility and still managed to cut myself. Self harming is literally like a drug. When you cut its like a high. It’s a struggle to stop. I also cut to actually feel something because I was so emotionless. I had no way to feel anything unless I cut. Please be understanding and don’t get upset with her,that will make things 10x worse. Try getting her involved in activities. Maybe doing more with her. Spend time with her,let her know she’s not alone and your there for her. Also maybe get into a group that supports parents going through this. Thinking of you and your daughter xxx
it’s really an addiction. I haven’t done it for a long time now but I want to sometimes.
My son started doing it when he was 11. He told me once that the pain it caused sort of blocked out his inner pain. We tried everything and as he got older some of it stopped. He is 41 now and will still do it but not as much. He was also diagnosed as being bi polar about 7 years ago.
Unfortunately the mental health system in this country
Is absolutely horrible .my son suffers! and all these facilities do is drug them up and release them without waiting to see if the antidepressants will work ! Total crap show the facilities are all horrible !
Whatch her closely and definitely get her help. My. Niece self harms and it drives me insane. She is on meds and diagnosed bipolar she started at 10 and is now 17. On occasion she still will cut but she 9/10 goes to her mom first and helps her thru it. The coping strategies the mental health facility didnt work for my niece either… So she now is in a self harm support group twice a week and she feels safe there to talk about a lot of things she never would before. Good luck finding her help.
It could very easily get worse if she’s in those places. Sad reality. I was hospitalized 15 times between 12 yrs old and 15 for self harm and all I did was learn every bad thing I didn’t know before I went in and I was still a cutter until the middle of college. Those places really don’t do much except stabilize you. They don’t help you get to the root of the problem. Best of luck to you and your family.
They need to put her on meds and watch her till they get the right balance
It really is like an addiction… I hadnt done it in years and one night I had a break down that was really bad and started again and i am now 30… Very hard to break from it once you start again
You need to find the Why? And heal the why before you can ever get her to stop. It’s a long hard process. My daughter had a trauma that caused the self harm. I had to have her in a facility for a year and extensive therapy. She no longer self harms but it was a very bumpy road. Good luck
Yes, my youngest son self harmed. He was going through a lot. We had him in counseling. He still talks to his therapist. It’s been a couple of years but that doesn’t mean it won’t start up again at some point. We are vigilant. I hope he has completely abandoned the thought of it but it’s hard to say. Everyone is different. Just be patient and loving. Try to keep her busy doing things she likes to do. Therapy does help also. Good luck!
It’s honestly hard to stop once you start. It was like I was addicted to the feeling of all the pressure and sadness releasing at once and the scars, it was never suicidal for me. I started when I was 15 and continued till I was about 20, I have even had some issues with it now and I’m 27. I was diagnosed as an adult with major depression, anxiety, and insomnia. It’s not easy and I am so sorry you both are going through this. Be there for her, spend time with her, most importantly don’t blame or shame her. She needs your love and support the most right now. You can try to find out why she may be feeling like harming herself but it also is addictive and unfortunately may not stop unless she is ready and willing to.
Yes, one of my children struggled with this. It took them a few years of getting help to overcome it as well. The one thing I’d advise is to be aware that the outward actions of self-harm are merely a symptom of an internal problem. It’s easy to fall into the trap of fixating on the symptoms we can see, but that can blind us to the fact that even if the self-harm stops, the root cause could still be there. It’s great that she’s getting help and I applaud you as a mother for getting her that help. There’s still so much stigma around mental health issues. Give her time to learn and practice different ways of coping that she’s been taught. Make sure she continues treatment. Repetition is the key to learning these new skills. She needs to continue hearing about them in order to implement them. Your family is in my prayers.
My oldest did this , she suffered alot of trauma at a young age , self harm was a coping mechanism for her but by the age of 16 she stopped on her own , lots of therapy , meds and support but she’s an amazing and strong young lady and mom now .
Maybe it’s not that she doesn’t want to use the coping mechanisms but can’t seem to find the energy. Sometimes, it’s an overwhelmed thing to even consider doing better. It’s difficult but with love and support in the utmost, she will get better. Things will get better.
I use to self harm. I did this from 12 to about 34. It would come in cycles. I have been to many many psychologists and put on different medicine. Honestly for me, it was when I had my kids that I stopped. I haven’t hurt myself in at least 6 years.
I did this and the worst thing I found was someone saying 'your life is great, why are you sad" almost like stfu. It ruined me for years. Not understanding how i felt and being expected to suck it up. This needs love, compassion and support, even if you dont understand it.
There is an app called Calm Harm. It’s free. It is designed to distract you and help you refocus your mind until the urge passes.
I used to self harm a lot as a teen. It really does become an addiction! I have now been clean for almost 8 years here’s a few tips that helped me or that I wish I knew about.
Calm harm is an incredible app, it let’s you control every little thing including the theme. It’s designed to distract your mind.
I learnt to replace my urge with something else, the first one is that hardest but once you know you’ve done it once you can do it again.
Different things work for different people so please bare that In mind.
I used to hold Ice, draw on myself with red felt tip(make sure it is a soft tip pen), exercise and more. Anything to distract my mind or focus It on something else I was feeling to overcome the urge.
I would also say (and I’m not saying you do this) don’t get mad or say things if relapse happens, it’s a big part of recovery and it will only make the person feel worse. You can change that it happened so you gotta learn from it, so don’t focus on that part, focus on where to go from that point.
I’ve talked about my story on many different platforms including national TV. So I wanted to let you know my inbox is always open if anyone needs advice but please note I’m not a professional therapist or anything. Just someone who has similar experiences.
You’re doing a great job! Staystrong
Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. Anyone else have a child who self harms, I need help!
Something extreme had either happened to her or she has done something and is carrying such guilt that she feels she is punishing herself. Hope you get a revelation and or can open conversation with her to bring freedom.
I used to self harm. Everyone thought I was doing it for attention. I didn’t get the help I needed. Eventually I stopped on my own… from a former self harmer, be there for her. This world is depressing as it is.
Don’t get mad at her, don’t yell, don’t fuss. That will be the biggest help. Listen to her, let her know you’re there for her. As a former self harmer, I can honestly tell you that all of those are beneficial. I used to carry a marker around with me everywhere, whenever I felt like cutting I’d mark my arm with the marker. It’s something about actually seeing the mark, its hard to explain unless you’ve done it before. Maybe try that as an alternative.
I think you should let her know her feelings are valid and that it’s okay to feel things but it’s obviously not ok to hurt herself and don’t force her to tell you anything just let her know that it’s okay for her to talk and you won’t get mad about it that you will help her and get through it together. And ask her if their is another coping mechanism she wants to try and give options. Coloring,puzzles, makeup, etc. Spend time with her and maybe even get some stuff and help her redo her room. I know it seems crazy but if she gets to redo her room maybe paint and curtains and a bed spread it will make her feel better and more comfortable with her space. It makes a lot of difference for mental health. I know it’s hard for the both of you and sometimes mental health is very hard to understand even for the person going through it but sometimes just someone showing their efforts rather then putting them in treatment is best.
My daughter has been cutting since she was 14. She’s almost 19 now. It was really bad at 16 and 17. We started going to counseling. Counselor told her when she has the urge to cut, to paint or color in those adult coloring books. They have to see the color on the paper. It’s some way of retraining the mind. It worked. Helped her a lot. Of course, therapy had to continue.
I started at 12 and stopped at 17. I was also put into a mental health facility and it did more damage than good. I was a prisoner for 15 months. When that placement failed me, I was bounced around to another treatment for another 15 months. I lost out on so much of my youth. I have ptsd from being in those places, to the point I won’t voice my needs for fear of being locked away again, I’m now 29 and finally left the system when I turned 18. What she needs is a therapist she connects with, even if you go through a few. I would highly suggest group therapy with others who struggle like herself. DBT groups are awesome. Healing and learning how to cope has a lot to do with the environment you’re learning it in. From my personal experiences, facilities like that are for individuals who are more of a danger to others. Find books, movies, etc that she can really relate too. I wish my parents would have looked deeper into the issue instead of locking me away.
The system looks at individuals like us as a “one size fits all” I have had ONE diagnosis of MANY that actually fit what I felt. I spent a lot of time being wrongfully medicated. Growing up is already tough enough, but she’s figuring out who she is in this world and that does come with pain.
When she makes that connection with therapy, her life will change for the greater.
My kids are all very young but as an adult I can tell you I struggle immensely using coping skills myself, and I remember being that kid at her age. She needs your love and support and understanding more than anything right now.
No, but I used to. It becomes an addiction, and it’s REALLY hard to quit. Mindless almost, and yes you feel very guilty and disgusted with yourself afterwards. Coping skills only do so much, just keep giving her compassion and try not to push her too hard, or make her feel like she’s weird. Of course make sure she’s cleaning herself properly as well because she can get a pretty nasty infection. I wish I had better words of encouragement, but she has to be willing to overcome the addiction of self harm and no one can do it for her.
Have her celebrate when she goes 24 hours without self harm, 48 hours, a week, a month, etc. her being proud of her milestones will really help her overcome it.
First thing I need to stress DO NOT GET MAD AT THEM they are seriously hurting if they are doing this and it can become an bad addiction. Theres also a period of time after the harm event that put her in a mindset at risk of hurting herself more. Finding the right therapist that THEY like is key. One she can trust and tell everything to. A treatment center did help but only to an extent. I still self harmed two years following leaving the facility. I honestly never forgave my parents for putting me there. It put me with the distraction of other people my age going through similar things and I just wanted to focus on them not me. Unfortunately it really is something she will have to stop on her own. And it will take years. It’s going to be a long journey and I will her nothing but healing.
I was that child. Honestly counseling never worked for me or meds. I found keeping a pony tail / rubber band on my wrist to slightly fidget with / pop helps even to this day i use it. My drs agreed that it was better then cutting & compared my self harm to a drug users drug of choice. I never cut deep enough to need stitches but it felt like a giant weight lifted off. Its weird to explain
I am the mother of all the women saying that they were/are your daughter. I beg of you to listen to them. As a parent, we do what we think and believe is what is best for our children…what is going to keep them safe or get them over this “stage”. Especially, when it is something we truly don’t understand. Being there for her and listening to her is easier said than done…I know. We believe that we are. We want to be and we try with our entire being, heart, and soul. I,somehow, think that the pain my daughter was experiencing was so great that sharing it with me meant, to her, that she was a failure in my eyes. She didn’t understand at 16 that her pain, was my pain and all I wanted to do was to take her pain away. Obviously, I couldn’t. She too went through therapists and hospitals. Again, I beg of you to listen to those who have lived it. Looking back, they did more damage than I thought possible. My daughter suffers PTSD from them. She also learned how to hide much more from us. If she does find and feel safe with a therapist, spiritual person, or life coach who has lived and learned through this journey she will be better off than the standard treatment facilities, in my opinion. I almost lost my daughter a few times and I wish such pain on no mother. She still, at 34, may go through issues but has found her way to cope. She has a masters in psychology, which she studied to understand her self. She works in a different field, however. She is happy, and that is all that matters. I know the unbearable pain, but just try to imagine your daughter’s.
Treatment does more harm then help
In this difficult time she needs you
I’m glad you are getting her help, maybe it would help for her to have a journal to write
And music helps
I self harmed as a teen. I was institutionalized twice. In the end, sunlight and exercise helped me the most.
I actually think joining the Army at 17 saved my life. Even though I carry a set of different issues from that experience. It was life saving for me.
She will find coping skills that work for her. Unfortunately most of the coping skills givin by therapists or in institutions are only good abstractly. Knitting and I feel phrases are not going to fix every individual in the long term. Be kind. Be understanding. When she gets home try offering 1 thing that she chooses. It could be a gym membership or an art class. Also pick something for her to try. It could be volunteering with special needs kids or at an animal shelter.
Pulling a person out of dark feelings without crushing their individuality is the only thing ibhave ever seen help.
Sending her to a facility is probably isolating her more than it is helping, unfortunately as a parent it’s hard to know what to do to help your child, and it’s even harder when that child is harming themselves. I started cutting at 10 with wall tacs. I upgraded to razor blades at 13, and knifes at 16 and stopped after I turned 18… My mom never knew. I think just being there for her and letting her know how much you love her would be more beneficial than treatment. There is definitely an underlying issue that shes not telling you. Mine was sexual abuse. Try to get her to talk to you. Dont hold these things against her. This honestly makes me so so so so sad for your daughter. I remember being that kid, and feeling like I had no one to turn to. Be that person she can turn to. Sending much luck and love to you and your daughter. I hope she feels better soon. CBD oil can be really good for a lot of things … before trying standard depression meds, I seriously recommend trying something like that first.
Yes it’s a coping mechanism for them. She’s probably going to do it for a long time regardless of what kind of help you get her. They have to learn self-love
I started cutting magazines instead… pictures, words, phrases or even patterns I could relate to. The scissors can be used as a good thing, but not in a place where she’s not allowed to have them, so.
I was also that kid. Mental health facility twice. Actually turned 16 in one. I’m 35 now and on multiple medications. I had very few family members try to understand what I was going through but I was too overwhelmed by it to talk about it. I ended up getting married at 17 (still married to him) and had my son at 18, daughter at 20. Didn’t want to take meds at first but I did for my kids. I haven’t self harmed since and honestly I feel like my husband and kids saved my life. The thought is always in the back of my mind to this day, it never goes away. Fortunately I met a counselor that took her time with me and gave me an unbiased person to talk to. I’m proud of where I am now. It can get better. Be there, don’t judge, and listen. Even if it seems small to you, it feels huge to her. And don’t get upset if she confides in someone besides you. Don’t grill her about what was talked about in therapy. Pray for her and be there. And don’t make her feel like she’s outside the family. She already feels different, she needs to feel accepted. Don’t make her self harm the topic of every conversation because she will become defensive and feel like a burden. These are just suggestions that I wish people would have considered when I was younger. Best of luck and many prayers for your baby
As a youngster I did from age 13 then age 19 I actually did really damage to myself that was life lasting not life threatening I never ever self harmed after that I realised I didn’t want to die I just wanted that part of my life to die so I made the steps to change now I look at the scars and feels the pains that I’m left with and its become my passion to change people’s life be a positive support people need and I love who I am today I learnt the hard way I hope your children have the help they need they got amazing parents for you to be reaching out for help I wish I had this kind of support when I was younger
I was a self harmer and for me cutting myself was the only way I could quickly release the build up of pressure I was feeling inside. It would be an on and off thing for me too from around 12 til about 25yrs old. Can I ask is she a sensitive/psychic/spiritual child?
Hi, sorry to hear, maybe try get her into new hobbies? As I try doing, to keep my thoughts away. I cook, bake occasionally, play playstation/ consoles for hours (to enter a digital reality to keep my mind away from some of my reality’s), I do makeup, I watch tutorials of how to learn new life skills& activities to do, & I watch/do exercise tutorials help keep fit. There can be loads of stuff she could do to occupy her mind, just have to find out which subject she’d take a liking too and then help with encouragement. I’m 23 & a mother myself, but if she’d like an older internet-friend who she could perhaps talk to (as some teens feel more comfy talking to friends more than family) tell her to msg me with her worries as I understand & we can chat whilst shes going through these tough times to let her know infact she is not alone in the way she feels& I’ll look after her and try to make sure no harmful moves are in her thoughts and just fill her head with positivity in the light that this dark phase she’s going through will end and I can even keep you updated on anything discussed between us etc. Us mums are all only a msg away when the sh*t gets going tough, you both are not alone & you both do matter. Keep all that in mind.
I dunno. Get her out of the facility and start looking into finding a hobby or sport she likes or dance. Something she keeps busy with so doesnt think about harming herself snd spend more one on one time with her and talk about things. Those treatment places can do more harm than good being isolated…Maybe even get her into a church youth group that does a lot of trips and outings…
‘She doesn’t seem to want to’
That is never the case. Speaking from experience there is a point past which ‘coping strategies’ are not even remotely helpful.
She dont belong in a place luke that it makes it worse because then she is going to hold a grudge against her mom for putting her in there i did when i was a young girl i put in one because I did it and it was because something bad happened and no one helped i am older now but still haven’t dealt with that issue because it makes me want to do what i did before i am still in cousling after all these years and i had two wonderful girls and a bad marriage who was abusive to me and kids
Find a good therapist that deals with teenagers and a psychiatrist that can help with anti depressants etc…those coping skills are a joke honestly. Depression is hard and exhausting I wish I had started medication years earlier
I did this as a teen/young adult. My friend sat me down and told me that if he saw it again he’d do it to himself and make me watch. I never did it again after that. I was ok with hurting myself I wasn’t okay with being the reason someone else did.
get her into therapy asap if u haben already. i started at 14 and when i tell u its so hard to stop. it really is…evem if u seem ok for awhile…she needs help. get it asap.
It helped me to violently mark in my sketch book, but honestly you’ll do better making a connection with her and finding out why she’s cutting. I cut cause I was being sexually abused and my mom was willfully absent and made really weird comments about my body.
my sister did this. some type of trauma happened, you need to listen to her.