Cutting
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19-04-2014, 08:49 PM
Cutting
I'm not gonna go into too much detail because this issue is not mine. It is the business of the niece of a gal-pal of mine, and I need to preserve her privacy while getting some advice from you guys.

So, as stated, a gal-pal of mine has a 14-year-old niece who has recently begun delving into the world of self-harm. We're not sure why, precisely, although we do know that the girl's home-life has never been what many people would call "satisfactory". (For the sake of confidentiality, I won't say more) Just recently, my girl's uncle (the young one's father) has told my girl that her niece has begun scratching herself as a form of self-harm. My girl, who continues to struggle with the compulsion, knows full-well how these sorts of things play out and is convinced that the young girl is heading down a bad road.

This thread is not for me, it is for her. Any answers/advice should be directed as though to my gal-pal, because I will be sending it to her.

As it stands, we're not 100% sure that the girl is cutting, but we have valid reason to suspect that she either is or is going to be in the near future. My girl is concerned for a number of reasons. 1) She feels a measure of guilt because the kid has seen her scars and looks up to her. We fear she may try to emulate her by following her example of self-harm as a means of coping. 2) As a result of the guilt, she feels a sense of responsibility for the girl's well-being. I have told her that she cannot control the girl and should only intervene if it's what she really wants to do, and as it seems, she really does care for the girl and wants to prevent her from following the same path. 3) She's not entirely sure how to gain enough trust from the girl so that she can be seen as someone who is trustworthy and who can actually help. We all know how kids are; they hear that an adult has been through the same thing, but they don't hear it from a friend who can sympathize. They merely hear it from some grown-up who can't possibly understand their situation. If that's the case, the blade becomes their best friend and any advice from the adults is taken with an unnecessary grain of salt.

I have to apologize, I'm quite intoxicated at the moment and I'm angry with myself because I don't feel like I'm getting my point across clearly; even though this is actually something that is important to me. But the point is: my gal-pal is concerned for her niece, and she wants to get closer to her so that she can help her. She wants nothing but the best for this girl and she's afraid that the girl will end up closing herself off to advice and reason and end up with the same scars (both figurative and literal) that my friend has.

Does anyone have any experience in this area? I'm sorry to say that I don't. I've got the bottle and more than my fair share of piercings, but I've never been one to manage my pain through cutting. I also don't know precisely how to reason with a teenaged girl.

Any advice would be truly helpful.




EDIT: Will post more details on the girl's home-life/situation if/when such details are given to me.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
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21-04-2014, 06:23 AM
RE: Cutting
If she/you thinks she is cutting check her. Look at the places that are normally covered by shorts and tee shirts. If there is evadence take her to see some one right then, do not wait. It is a coping mechinism and it can get bad. Once they get caught they may cut to get over being caught.

My second daughter is a cutter. When we found out she had cut "help me" on her lower stomache around her waist. We packed her up and took her to an intervention center. We stayed for the afternoon, but she was not checked in since the cuts were a couple of days old and she was not freaking out. We started her in treatment then next week and she was put on mild meds. She has had a few significant relapses since them that caused us to make emergency appointments with her mental Dr. Fortunately she has not hurt herself bad enough that required a trip to the ER. She has been "clean" over two months. Some days it is really a strugle for her, but she is getting better at talking to us about her problems and not taking them out on herself.

Also, look for things she could use to cut herself. Look past the obvious. My daughet broke mirrors, diaassembled pencil sharpeners and all kinds of other things to find something to cut herself.

Best of luck to your friend and her kid.
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21-04-2014, 07:26 AM
RE: Cutting
No experience in this area, but wanted to send Heart and Hug to your friend and to wazzel


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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21-04-2014, 06:27 PM
RE: Cutting
The thing about people who self harm is that it's difficult for them to open up about it. It can be for a number of reasons--maybe they're ashamed of what they're doing or they're scared of what the reaction is going to be, or maybe they're not sure how to go about saying it, or maybe it's a combination of the above, or maybe there's other factors involved. It's not uncommon for people to be self-harming for years before they open up and admit what they're doing.

However, the best you can do is talk to them about it and see what they have to say. Maybe organise for them to see a counselor. It could very easily be that this girl has developed depression, so it could be that some medication is required, or maybe just seeing a counselor will be enough.

I know this probably isn't a whole lot of help, but I hope it's a little helpful.
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24-04-2014, 12:06 PM
RE: Cutting
First off, before assuming that the girl is cutting (as I understand you are not sure), You need to verify that she is. if she is, she needs therapy, maybe even some extensive treatment like the hospital. she's a minor and the mother can make these decisions for her regardless if the girl want it.

now if you are not sure or you have verified that she has not cut, her mother should be open with her about her past and explain the scars and why it happened. then use sources off of NAMI to get top line advice on how to work with the girl.

You can even call a therapist and get some first hand advise. this is very serious, do not procrastinate, you can save a life.


my sources:
I practiced self harm
I went to a hospital for suicidal intentions
I currently participate in an out patient program

"A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be."- Albert Einstein.

"We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special." Steven Hawking
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24-04-2014, 12:28 PM
RE: Cutting
You want to get closer to her? Simple. Talk about your scars, how you felt, what happened, how you got over it, etc. You open up first, but don't fake it and don't force it. If she starts asking questions, you're on the right track.
(You meaning your girlfriend)

At fourteen, she's more than likely being bullied at school, possibly talk to her teachers and find out if they know anything, or to at least give them a heads up to watch her more carefully. If this is the case medication and psychologists probably won't be necessary. Though if she's developed full on depression, then I would definitely recommend some medication or doctor visits.


Keep us updated, hope everything works out for the best.

Atir aissom atir imon
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24-04-2014, 12:54 PM
RE: Cutting
I have been a cutter. It was due to many things, some very chilling things.
The results were equally chilling.
It can get very bad, but cuts as bad as mine are not all that common.
It's not LIKELY that she'll do major damage with the cutting, though it's possible.
It's the mindset that needs to be looked into. There's the chance that she'll decide that just cutting or scratching isn't good enough and may progress into more "likely" methods, IF she is truly suicidal.

Otherwise, she very likely just needs a stress outlet. A physical one. And one that can involve roughness and possible pain on occasion while remaining a safe and fulfilling environment. I've had doctors suggest that I find ways of inflicting pain on myself for the release that will do no actual harm. They suggested holding ice cubes in my hand until it hurt or something.

For me, the martial arts is doing WONDERS. I cannot stress how well it's working for me. It may not work the same for her, because obviously I'm not her.

When someone is in the act of injuring themself, the logic they're using at the time is likely different than the logic they would normally use. Depending on the person, they can be a totally rational person most times and understand logically that self harm is really not a good idea.

However, this does not help them much when "the moment" actually hits. That's when a different logic kicks in. (depending on the person and their situation, of course)

She will likely feel very very vulnerable about her scars.

She'll need a therapist at least for a few sessions, again depending on her. But she'll also likely need an outlet that includes goals, success, purpose, possibly some roughness (if she's wanting to feel pain, etc.).

One question.... might she be questioning her sexuality or other things and not sure how she can express that safely?
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24-04-2014, 01:25 PM
RE: Cutting
My daughter's therapist reccomended rubber bands. Not just the little ones you get here and there, but the big heavy ones that could leave a welt if she pulled it really far. She uses them from time to time.
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