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I'm not sure how to fix things with my parents - January 13th 2021, 05:40 PM

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.

Last week I was hospitalized for a self-harm injury. The whole thing did not go as I expected; I expected to leave the emergency room Wednesday night, the same night I went to the ER, but they admitted me. Thursday morning both my mom and my dad wanted to talk to me because, of course, they don't reach out when things are fine but it's like there's this signal in their minds of when I am in trouble or something. My mom wanted to come over and have me exchange some clothes that didn't fit and give me money for the electric bill. I told her I was busy, but would be free that weekend, because from what it sounded like the doctor wanted me to go home Friday. Literally a couple of hours after I told my mom I've been busy the doctor came in and said they wanted to do surgery Friday, which meant staying at least five more days. So, when my mom texted asking what she should make me for dinner Saturday, I had to tell her the truth.

She sent me a very long text message that was very hard to read. Basically she said she doesn't think she can set anymore boundaries with me, that things are not sustainable as they are, and she doesn't know if my parents can support me any longer. She is angry that I have chosen to "obfuscate" things and not be honest. She wants me to find a program that will be effective, not just the "revolving door" of our local psych hospitals' inpatient and outpatient programs.

I think my response to her text was good. I addressed some of her concerns, talked about the new medication we are going to try, and a new program that's more tailored to people like me. I told her I haven't been jumping to SH without skills every time, and that means there is progress and I feel hopeful. I said I loved her at the end. All she texted back to all of that was "love you too."

I got out of the hospital today. I am healing fine, but I find myself not wanting to tell my mom I am home. I am very scared of what she means by "not sustainable" and "no longer support." I am financially dependent on my parents. I can't live alone if I no longer have monetary support. I have visions of them saying I need to go to a group home, or even visions of them committing me in an effort to find something that's not a "revolving door." For these reasons I am hesitant to talk to them, even though I really need mom's help with dressing changes for a wound I have not related to self-harm.

The truth is, none of us communicated well. No, I didn't intentionally "lie" or "obfuscate" what was going on in my life. When I said I was fine, I was fine. But to tell you the truth I was sick of my parents' reactions to self-harm. You'd think, after fifteen years of this crap, they'd know how to react but they don't. They've both visited me in the hospital before for SH and each time it was a very stressful situation. All they would do was express their anger, sadness, and disappointment, and heap on a nice, thick side of shame. It always makes things worse and it's not an appropriate response to have in front of me. So yeah, I decided to sidestep that so I could avoid being triggered and they could avoid feeling pain. It just seemed easier that way, especially because they always tell me that I don't get to react negatively to their feelings.

I don't know how to fix this. I know I am probably going to have to endure a lengthy conversation in which I have to try not to get upset because I'll look like the bad guy, and because my parents still treat me like I'm fifteen years old when we have arguments. I just don't get how they could be so obtuse, and how they're really so surprised why I decided not to open up every time I self-harm. I don't know. I don't know what to do. Any suggestions?
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Re: I'm not sure how to fix things with my parents - January 13th 2021, 08:37 PM


This all sounds like a really difficult thing to go through, and I'm not 100% sure my advice will be anything you've not considered yourself or been told before but I thought I'd offer you at least some support, because I can't imagine having to go this alone.

Your parents reactions definitely seem tough. In a sense, I can see where they're coming from because in their minds, they probably think tougher is better as it's going to suddenly trigger a change in behaviour due to the threat of not being supported. In reality, this is likely going to add to the problems which are triggering you already, but sometimes I think lack of awareness or forethought stops this being realised. Obviously being unsupported emotionally and financially will add stress to what is already a very stressful time, and that won't be beneficial to your mental health. If you're going to have a conversation with your parents about this, this might be something to emphasise. It's not that you're not taking your mental health seriously, but their support is crucial to ensuring you're not a part of a revolving door, by offering you the means to recover well.

I'm figuring you probably are but, are you in any sort of therapy or support groups outside of the in/outpatient treatment that you have or will possibly receive? If so, maybe you can mention this to them as well and maybe give them examples of the help it's given you and the successes you've had. I know you've mentioned that you have a toolbox of options you can use before self harm becomes a mechanism for coping, but maybe giving them some examples will help them see what and how.

That being said, you shouldn't have to talk about things that are going to negatively impact you, and if you decide you'd rather not have this talk now (or ever), that should be fine too. There are ways you can talk without being face to face too which might help. Maybe a letter, or a text conversation. You could possibly open the conversation up and let them know you want to be as transparent as possible, but that it's much easier to do when you're not on the spot. Over text you have the benefit of being able to delete, retype, edit and proofread, and also, if it gets too much you can practice breathing exercises or coping tools without the pressure of being watched by people who might make it harder.

I'm really sorry you're having to go through this, and I'm sorry if I've not been much help. You're not in this alone, and the progress you've made with your own mental health is valid and worth being proud of, even if it's something they scrutinise. You're getting through things day by day, and a relapse or slip up doesn't take away from the work you're putting into yourself. Keep going and keep using the tools you've established to cope - you're doing this the right way, and you deserve proper support from the people you care about.

If you ever want to talk feel free to drop me a message. Stay strong.

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