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Self Harm If you or someone you know is struggling with self harm and needs advice or alternatives, we're here to help.

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Question How to tell my aunt about my self harm. - July 4th 2015, 10:08 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of self harm, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread might therefore not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

I'm kind of wanting to tell my aunt about my self-harm. You may be wondering why my aunt, and not a parent. Well, I'm in foster care and my foster mom (let's call her A), would not be very supportive of me. I am going to be living with my aunt by the end of the summer. I do not wish for A to find out about the self-harm. She is a very religious person. And although this makes absoutely no sense to me, she feels anybody who is depressed must not believe in God very much. And to be completely honest, I don't. But I'm not really here to get in a debate about it. A would not be very supportive of me because all this time I have lived with her, I have gone to her church and acted like I was believing in God. But, if I am self-harming, I'm not living up to her expectations or whatever. Her adopted daughter actually happened to tell me a story one time about A finding out a girl in her care was self-harming, and a lot of drama ensued. That girl ended up asking to be moved to a different foster home because apparently A was treating her very different than before and it was further depressing her.
I would like to tell my aunt about it because I know she would be supportive and when I live with her, I am going to need a lot of support because basically, it's just going to be a tough move in a lot of ways. So if I tell my aunt, I would be able to talk to her openly about what is going on. She has told me many times that anything I tell her would stay between us. I trust my aunt very much, and I would feel comfortable going to her to talk when I feel I am going to self-harm. At the moment, I am exactly four months free of self-harm and I am trying to keep that up.
My only problems with telling her right this minute are:
1) it's four am and she is sleeping
2) I am concerned that my self-harm would be one of those things she would need to tell A. And I have already expressed that I am not comfortable with that.
3) I really do not know how to approach the subject. I have always been the type of person who will not talk about their feelings. I wouldn't feel comfortable writing a letter to tell her. She has two kids, my cousins, whom I don't want them to know. One is only seven years old, and they both get up frequently at night. I would be concerned that one of them would pick up the letter and read it. They are both very nosy. I can't just hand it to her, because she leaves for work at four am and I am not going to bother her then. If I give it to her in the afternoon/evening, she will most likely set it down to read later and my cousins will again read it. I am probably going to have to tell her in person. It will be kind of hard for me, but I know it will be the best option. My only issue is how to get her without my cousins there. I can't take her out for coffee or anthng because I don't have money and my cousins would be there anyway. There is nowhere in this house that we can talk privately. And even if I do get her, how on earth do I start a conversation about that type of thing.
My aunt knows very little about depression and things like that. I know this already. So I would be in for a very long, deep conversation just to explain self harm to her. I know she would never comprehend how causing myself pain and scarring up my skin is even something that would make me able to release my emotions or feel better, or why it s hard to stop and stay away from in stressful/emotionally trying situations. So how would I explain to her?

To be honest, right now my plan is to wait until I move in and tell her then. Because then she wouldn't tell A. But I'm afraid if I wait, I will procrastinate and end up relapsing because I waited to tell her and missed my opportunity. And I really want to never go back to self-harm. Four months is the longest I ever stopped for. I know it may not seem huge, but it is for me. And I am currently visiting her right now, and Ihave only been here Wednesday night. Thursday, and Friday. I am already extremely struggling not to relapse, especially considering this is the second night out of three that I haven't been able to sleep due to thinking so much about wanting to do it. I leave on Sunday though. I know if I make it until I leave, I won't be nearly so tempted. But just two days is enough to make me want to relapse. So i know if I am going to live here permanently, I'm going to need her help for a little while. So any advice would be greatly appreciated. I just really can't figure out how to do this, or when, and how to explain self-harm.

I'm sorry this is so long, it's really a lot of problems trying to do it. i know I need to though.



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Re: How to tell my aunt about my self harm. - July 4th 2015, 10:19 AM

Sit her down at breakfast. That way, she won't be tired or stressdd from the day. Talk to her about it, and express that you don't want A to know. Talk about what will help you stop. Make a plan if you get out of control, like a nearby mental health center or hospital. I'm currently making some "busy books" to help releive depression and anxiety and to get your mind off cutting. I'll send you a pdf at some point, probably in august when they will most likely be finished. One last thing. I want you to congradulate yourself for recognizing that you need to tell someone and for staying strong. Wishing you well, klover


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Re: How to tell my aunt about my self harm. - July 4th 2015, 12:16 PM

Hi Brianna,

Klover has given you some good advice and I totally agree that you should be super proud of yourself for recognising that it would help a lot if you told somebody!

Firstly, don't tell her right now, like Klover said, wait until maybe breakfast or a time where you two are alone, in a comfortable place. You mention it's hard for you to find time to talk to her alone, which may mean that you may need to tell her before work, even if you feel like it bothers her. Just make sure that she is awake herself, don't wake her up to tell her. If you wake her up to tell her, it's likely she'll be worried and won't be able to get back to sleep afterwards. It's also likely that if you both have a good nights sleep, you'll be more confident and your brain will have had enough rest to pull together everything you want to say, which is another thing you said you were worried about.

The hard part about telling somebody is that you're right; you don't know how they're going to react. Do you trust her to keep it to herself, or maybe before you tell her, ask something like "If I tell you something, do you promise to not tell A?" and explain to her how you feel that A wouldn't be as supportive as her and you're worried about how she would react. That's also a good way to start the conversation, tell her that over the past x months/years, you've been struggling with a lot of things, which is resulted in you starting to harm yourself. Reassure her that it's not her fault and that you're four months clean and that you're trying your hardest to get through this and you just want some support because you've never told anybody. If she cares about you enough, which I'm completely sure she does as from what I see you two have a strong relationship, if you're considering telling her about your self-harm, she will be respectful of your wishes to keep it to herself.

You mention that you're not sure how to go about telling her, what I would recommend is getting a piece of paper and write down a really basic structure to everything you want to tell her, that way if you do feel like you can't think of what to say or how to go by it, you can just look at your sheet for a recap. That way you're not exactly writing a letter, nor are you not prepared for a face-to-face discussion.

If you'd like, send me a PM and I could help you go through what points you want to write down and what you feel like you want to tell her. I'm so proud of you and I think it's amazing that you're considering telling somebody and I know you can do this.

Take care dear,

Jack.



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Re: How to tell my aunt about my self harm. - July 4th 2015, 03:06 PM

First off, congratulations on four months of being free of self-harm - that's a major accomplishment Also, I remember when you spoke of your trying home life before and it's nice to hear that you are entering a living arrangement that sounds more comfortable for you.

Your plight definitely sounds challenging, but I think you can find a way around it. I can't really offer an opinion on whether or not your aunt would feel obligated to tell your foster mom about your self-harming, as I'm obviously not her, but it sounds as if you trust your aunt and I would like to believe that she would keep your secret if you were to explain how important it is to you.

As for how to tell her, if you are more comfortable writing a letter, it may be a good idea to give it to her before she leaves for work, as she could read it there without the risk of your cousins seeing it. I realize you don't wish to bother her so early before she leaves to begin her day, but I think something so important would take priority in her mind.

I understand that having a deep conversation with your aunt about depression and self-harm isn't very appealing, but it's good that you recognize this may be necessary. I would suggest trying to look at it as a positive - it's encouraging when people are willing to listen and learn about subjects they are not well-versed in. This would also allow you to explain things to her your own way.

In any event, I wish you the best with this and I hope the move goes well
   
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Re: How to tell my aunt about my self harm. - July 4th 2015, 05:37 PM

Thank you everybody for your suggestions and I will definitely keep them in mind. I honestly think an oppurtunity arose already, my aunt has invited me to walk with her in the afternoons. My cousins don't usually go, and it would be a time away from all the chaos at her house, so it would be the easiest way to tell her. Today I will write out a list of key points and things I'll need to tell her in order for her to understand. I might even end up telling her this afternoon if she says she won't say anything and my cousins don't go and I get the courage. I opened a word processing thing in microsoft works, and used a template meant for writing a report, a paragraph organizing type thing. it actually is working quite well for this, and i plan to print it out and have it with me while I'm talking, so I can tell her in a way she will understand, and so I make sure I say everything I need to say. Thank you again.



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Last edited by Staypositive; July 4th 2015 at 06:45 PM. Reason: I accidentally posted this before I finished writing
   
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Re: How to tell my aunt about my self harm. - July 6th 2015, 06:33 AM

Good job! Can you check back in and tell us wjat happened? Remember, I am always here to support you, and you can message me if you need help


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Re: How to tell my aunt about my self harm. - July 7th 2015, 09:42 PM

I will definitely check back in once I tell her. I lost my courage to tell her and I lost the only opportunity I had until I go back. I will go back to my aunts later this month probably. Thanks again, everybody.



"I've decided to stick with love. Hate is too great aburden to bear." Martin Luther king Jr.
   
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