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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
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New to this and so worried (parent) - September 7th 2012, 08:17 AM

I'm not new to forums and trying to understand things better, but cutting... it's the last thing I could have ever thought of in "my family" (sarcasm)

I grew up with an alcoholic, and have known all my life that I wanted better for my kids. I have recently been told by my oldest that she has been cutting. She knew she had to tell me as her boyfriend saw the scars and she promised him she would tell someone.

If I told you how oddly perfect our family seems... a) you wouldn't believe it b) I realize that it is my perception after how crazy my life was growing up.

She is a beautiful girl, her smile brightens the room. The simplest things can make her happy. She's athletic, smart, and by anyone's standards, a really good kid.

We are the uber weird family that tells each other that we love each other. We hug, congratulate, and encourage. I established a rule in our house, that it was to be a "safe house" The concept was that there were enough people in the world who will try to tear us down or hurt us, but that we were a family team, no teasing, no slapping, no siblings hitting each other, and no being mean to each other. I'm sure some of this happened behind our backs, but usually they would come and let us know. The words "stupid" and "shut up" were considered bad words, like cuss words, until late elementary.

They can ask me anything... about sex, life, family issues.... I am close to my kids and adore them.

Why is she cutting? Why can't I understand? I am soooooooooo scared and I don't know how to help? I cry when she's not looking, I don't want to be her trigger. I don't want her to feel like she has upset or disappointed me. So much of me wants to find a way to make it all better. It's the mama in me... but I read that I need to give her space. How much space? When she told me, I just hugged her as we cried. I kept so quiet as I had no clue what to do or say, and didn't want to say the wrong things. I asked how long and how often. I asked to see just to make sure we didn't need to get medical help. She asked me to sleep in her room that night, and I did without hesitation. I made sure she knew that we had to tell her dad. We told him together and he didn't yell or freak out either (I was quite proud of him) I had her try one counselor and made sure she knew to tell me if it it wasn't a fit. I knew she had to feel comfort and trust. We changed to a new one and their first session was 2 hours. Not even a week later, i found the glass shard (used and dirty) in her room. She has a rabbit which I help take care of, and it was about a foot away on her shelf. I just happened to notice it. Do I ask her about it? I don't want to be the trigger...... I just don't know what to do...
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Re: New to this and so worried (parent) - September 7th 2012, 03:57 PM

Hi there.

I'm not a parent and I can't begin to imagine how hard this is for you. My mum and sister have both self harmed and I self harm myself and I can relate to some aspects of your situation. I can understand all the questions that you're asking yourself too.

Truth is, yes, you may say the wrong thing or act in the wrong way but this is a learning process for you both. Chances are your daughter is scared and isn't quite sure what to do or how to get out of this. It might be that she doesn't know what's causing her to feel the urges to harm herself and that she doesn't really know what help she can receive. And the same is for you. You don't know why she is doing this, you don't know what help she can get or how to stop her. This is about you supporting her as much as you can and as well as you can. Just be there for her when she comes to you, hold her, let her know she can be there for you and comfort her. At times she may push away and if so, so be it, let her come to you when she's ready. Don't force her to talk, encourage but don't force.

You sound like a really close family and I feel confident in saying that if she needs you, she will come to you. For now, offer support or do things in the day together to remind her you're there and love her.


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Re: New to this and so worried (parent) - September 7th 2012, 10:51 PM

First off, I want to commend you for being such a great, caring, loving parent! And for getting her into therapy!
Well...I'm not exactly sure how to respond to this..but I know that when I tried to tell my parents, they didn't really take me seriously, and basically told me to quit and deal with it on my own. I'm in therapy now for other reasons, (ED), and so I talk about it and what not there..I suggest just being there for her.

Try telling her that it's going to be a learning process for you both, and that you want to help her in anyway you can..and to let you know if your triggering her. I wouldn't worry about walking on egg shells around her, because it just makes you miserable and ya'll's relationship less trusting.
Talk to her about how you don't want to trigger her, and just see what she says.

I'm telling you now, this isn't going to be easy. When/if you guys talk about this again, like the triggers and stuff, its going to be awkward, and uncomfortable, but is essential to her feeling like she can come to you and get better.
I wish you, and her, the best of luck.
You can get through this. She can get through this. She's always welcome to the TeenHelp community for help, by the way.
Hang in there. <3

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  (#4 (permalink)) Old
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Re: New to this and so worried (parent) - September 8th 2012, 08:41 AM

A long night of crying and questioning so much. But I read through a lot of this forum's threads and came to a conclusion which I think helped me "Compartmentalize" it all, and gave me another perspective.

There is a ton of addition in our family. Being the daughter of an alcoholic made me vow never to let my kiddos suffer as I saw us go through as kids. Anyhow, If I view the cutting as an addition for her, which I cannot control AND a behavior which she may crave like a drink or a cigarette, then I can understand the need a bit more.

So, today I came into her bedroom and casually took her bunny out of it's cage and gave it to her (keeping her busy.. and who doesn't love a bunny!?!?) while we casually started some small talk. I then warned her that I was going to go into a monologue... I explained how I found her cutting implement and how I was having a hard time at first grasping the whole concept (we just didn't do this stuff in my time!) I reminded her about my love for her without conditions, asked her to let me know if there was any time I needed to help her take care of any infections, but that I have realized that I can't control this any more than when I tried to control my dad's drinking by pouring drinks down the drain. I handed her cutting glass back to her and again reminded her that I love her without condition. (Yes, i must be a freak of nature kinda parent!) If I take it, she will just find something else, but this was my way of letting her know that it will be okay to come to me with anything, and that I want to help where I can.

Can you believe she laughed? She let me know that she had it out because she needed to use the box that she kept it in. She told me she had not cut since she told me about it. I indicated that I believed her. In my heart though, I realized the fact that she is keeping it within reach. This indicates to me that it was not just a phase, but that it will be lingering in our lives.

Here's my game plan.... Give her all the weapons (counseling, prayers, hugs, vitamins, medications) to be a warrior, lay them at her feet and stand by her, ready to fight the fight when she's ready.

I know some parents might think I'm nuts, they should read through these threads and try to remember the demons they faced. We had different releases and different demons, but the same needs.
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Re: New to this and so worried (parent) - September 8th 2012, 12:40 PM

First of all I congratulate you, you sound like a top-notch parent. I wish my mother was like you, when she found out she was quite but then pushed me to tell her everything when I wasn't ready which made me wish for death. But, yeah, keep reminding her that you are there for her whatever her deciscion is and that you are always available to talk. I've learnt certain things in this aspect because my best friend has tried to kill herself, she's run away and all that. I told her I loved her and she cried, realiseing there were people there for her. She opened up to me and I told her that she was always welcome at my house. Maybe the same sort of thing could help you, for example inviting her to have a few sleepover or for her to get out of the house for a while so she isn't tempted. Make her life as normal as possible, I know you'd probably still be asking yourself how you missed it, that's normal, just keep positive and if you find out what's driven her to self harm see if you can make the circumstance easier. I'm not an expert but I do hope I've helped.

Best of luck,

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Re: New to this and so worried (parent) - September 8th 2012, 10:08 PM

Hope this works, trying to attach her bunny pic.

We have kiddos over all the time. My husband and I have worked with teens for about t decades. We've taken in kids, and our house is always open. I would rather have them here, eating my food, hanging out. I keep an ear to the ground so I can be there for any of them. Clear expectations are set for the guests. I try to let them relax, but still have them call me "Mrs." so they remember I am a parent to be respected, yet trusted.

I think this is one of the reasons I was so floored when this all came about. How did I miss? What can I do different?

In defense of parents... I have 4 kiddos. I do what I can to enable them to be the best they can be. I also remind them that (example..) this is the first time they are 17 years old, they will make mistakes, but will hopefully learn from them instead of continue making them, and that when there is a problem, they are expected to search for the solution instead of wallowing in misery. In turn, this is the first time I am a parent of a 17 year old (insert name). I too will make mistakes! I've tried to learn from my parents mistakes and the ones I make as well. I'm not afraid to admit when I'm wrong (although I never am!! ) and ask for help and forgiveness a lot!
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Re: New to this and so worried (parent) - September 8th 2012, 11:20 PM

Dear schmic,
I am not a parent of a cutter, but I personally have cut myself before. First of all, I just wanna say I think your a really awesome parent. I understand this hard for you and your daughter. I get that you don't no what to do; I'm here to tell you what I think you should do. I think you can go one or two ways with this.
Option 1- Sitting down with your daughter and having a heart to heart. Tell that your scared and worried. That when she hurts herself its hurting you to. Maybe you could tell her what happened in your childhood. Never no she might open up. This one is more awkward.
Option 2- Stage an intevention. What you do is you gather all your family or maybe just you and her father. Sit here down and tell her she has a promblem. Give her an untimatum stop cutting or you'll kick her out. That's just an example. Tell her your not going to feed her addiction anymore. Only enablers should say that. She may get angry with this one, but she will come around.
Stay Strong and Safe. Lots of Love.
PM me anytime.
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Re: New to this and so worried (parent) - September 9th 2012, 02:23 AM

Hi there! I'm not a parent, but I've been cutting for almost 7 years now, it's really hard to understand.. first, you're definitely the best parent ever. It must have been horribly hard to give it back to her, but it's a good thing you did (not good that she's cutting, but that you're showing her you care, if that makes sense) don't tell her you're going to kick her out, that will make it worse... keep telling her you'll help her if she ever gets an infection, or you'll take her to a hospital if she ever cuts too deep, no matter what. but remind her that you're always there for her *not alll the time though, she may think you're prying into her life. DO NOT STAGE AN INTERVENTION. They're the worst things ever. But since you've already had the heart to heart, and probably told her you're scared & worried, don't keep telling her that, or she may start hiding them, don't check her body, ever, that's embarrassing, and usually makes it worse.... Tell her to keep her cutting utensil clean, or get new ones. you have to understand she's trying to find a way to deal with her emotions, don't ever buy her blades or whatever. Show her this site. Let her see your post here. find her another self help forum site. It helps me a lot. c: I hope I'm a parent as awesome & wonderful as you are, good luck!

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Re: New to this and so worried (parent) - September 9th 2012, 02:54 AM

I'm not a parent either, but I too have self harmed before. I think you're a great parent and you reacted in a way that will help your daughter, by showing her you care. I agree with what has already been said so I'm not going to repeat all that, but I would like to add that while you can't force her to suddenly stop cutting, you should encourage her to try to stop (at her own pace, of course). Maybe that's one of the reasons she told you about it. Definitely encourage her to join this site or one like it so she can talk to other people that understand what she's going through and help her out too. Also, it might be a good idea to ask your daughter how she thinks you can help her best. As far at eventually getting her to stop hurting herself, have her take a look at this list of alternatives to self harm http://www.teenhelp.org/forums/f12-s...ves-self-harm/. Not everything will work, but have her keep trying until she finds some alternatives that do help. Hope this helps!

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Re: New to this and so worried (parent) - September 9th 2012, 07:52 AM

Originally Posted by ReasonsForRecovery View Post
Option 2- Stage an intevention. What you do is you gather all your family or maybe just you and her father. Sit here down and tell her she has a promblem. Give her an untimatum stop cutting or you'll kick her out. .
I'm sorry I respect your right to have an opinion but that is a very bad idea, its like telling her if she doesn't quit right now, you are going to give up on her, and no child ever wants to here that from a parent, that wouldn't be fair to her to just say that to her in hopes she will quit.

Anyways, Hello Schmic
It seems like you are making a great effort in helping your daughter and trying to understand her instead of just jumping down her throat about it which is pretty amazing and not something alot of parents do. I'm very glad to see there are parents like you around who act in a compassionate and understanding way. You seem like a great mother and thats something that will help your daughter alot.

As a self harmer of 7 years I can tell you it is a very hard addiction to kick, and its also very hard to talk about because so many people make it out to be taboo subject, so its good you arent trying to do that. Also as a small side note, ask her what she wants her actions to be called what she prefers, I know I hated when people said " i cut" or was " a cutter" although that was mostly my action of choice, I cannot stand that use of the word, I prefer self injurer or self harm(er), so make sure you try and use the version she likes better, trust me it makes it alot more bearable to talk about.

Now I know it may be hard to hear but like any other addiction, you cant make her quit, she has to quit when shes ready, so all you can do is be there for her and keep reminding her you love her and arent ashamed of her actions. Never try and force her to quit, it will only make it worse. And during her quiting time, she may relapse and although thats hard for you it will be even harder for her, so try and take it as well as you can, make sure she knows your proud of her just for telling you and making an effort to quit because I know from 7 years of experience that is a damn hard thing to do.

Next, for her self harming implements I know that I still have mine, even though I'm 10 months clean, its almost like a security blanket of sorts, so even if she may have them, it doesnt mean she is using them, I still have my self harming kit where I've always kept it, I know its there but i have not used it in a while, and it can also help prove your strength to yourself by knowing its there but having the power to resist.

As for reasons it can be anything and everything, i got to a point in my depression that even getting out of bed made me want to pick up a blade, her reasons could be so many things, mine mostly were how badly I was bullied and my father, but it can be so many things for different people, but the one thing I wish my mom never felt was that she thought it was her fault, it broke my heart to know my mom felt that way, so chances are if she says its not your fault it prolly isnt.

Self harm is one of the most complex things to understand, its something you can never truly get until you do it, it can be from so many emotions from anger to sadness to even happiness, its a complicated thing but its good to see you try and understand, trust me its so much easier to get through something like this when you have a parent on your side, I probably wouldnt have been able to without my mother so its great you are there for your daughter.

Anyways I hope I helped in some way if you have any more questions you'd like to ask me, feel free to pm me.

Good luck with you and your family

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Re: New to this and so worried (parent) - September 12th 2012, 04:39 PM

I don't know what to tell you as of what to do but I just want to say that you are an amazing mom, I wish i had one like you for all the times I went through SH. I'm sure your helping you daughter some just by her knowing you are there.
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Re: New to this and so worried (parent) - September 15th 2012, 03:45 AM

i have to say that you have handled this a lot better than my parents have. my dad just screamed at me which made me want to cut more. my opinion is just hug her, tell her that you will always be there for her. just love her. let her know that you will be by her side no matter what. when i found out that one of my best friends was cutting i cried then i just held him. i told him i was always going to stand by his side no matter what. your daughter is lucky to have a mother like you.

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Re: New to this and so worried (parent) - September 16th 2012, 02:32 AM

i think, just being their is the most important thing to do. always be there to give her a hug when she needs it, or even just be there to talk to. you may want to ask, but also you may not want to. if you see she is struggling, just give her a hug. if i told my mum, thats what i would want her to do. but the most important thing is that she knows you will be there for her in any way possible.

if i had the guts to tell my mum about my SH i would want her to react in the same way as you did. thats such a strong thing for you to do and also probably the best way to react. trust her on the decisions she is making because if she wants your help, she will come to you. you are doing a really good job as a mother and i commend you on that.
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