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Girlfriend SH - October 9th 2015, 10:44 PM

*Note, apologies if this is in wrong section.

My girlfriend is contemplating self harm alot more now that her life has progressively worsened. Help is on the way in forms of medication, however it will take a while before that is all settled up.

Recently, shes starting to bite & Dig her nails into her skin, and have VERY hard time trying to control the self harm urges.

I personally am worried that if I become lenient and tolerating of this behavior, she will get the "taste" for self harm and extend to cutting & Not be able to control this, she told me she likes to Sh for the feel of it.

So far my behavior has been, angry , but yet openly caring and supportive.

However she starts to dislike me very much when I prevent her from doing it, under the threat that If she does this, she'll break a long-running pact which means Ill cut too. (We made a deal neither of us would cut, and if one of us did then...)

As a result of her disliking my opposition she contemplates lying; even though i personally believe she wouldn't, if she was to lie (Because it can happen) It would damage alot of trust and cause unnecessary stress.

So really my question is: What are the best ways I can prevent my girlfriend from self harming; are there any alternatives that could replace the "feel" she desires - and IF she does self harm, what is the best way for me to deal with it.

- Thanks for any help in advance
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Re: Girlfriend SH - October 10th 2015, 03:52 AM

Hey there, Thomas.

From your reactions and the threats about breaking the pact you two have, I can see that it comes from a place of care but it isn't an effective way to handle this. Self-harm can be very addictive as it releases endorphins that cause the "rush" and it can become a coping mechanism that is extremely hard to simply give up. Sure, she might continue to self-harm and sadly begin cutting but you have to remember that it is up to her to recover. She has to accept support and choose recovery on her own. No one can make that choice for her. All you can do is support her and encourage her to do her best to try out other coping mechanisms before she resorts to self-harm.

The way you are going about helping her shows you care for her a lot but making a pact will most likely make her feel worse if she does self-harm. She may already feel guilty over relapsing/self-harming in the first place, then realizing that she broke the pact will make her feel even more guilty which might result in her having more intense self-harm urges. What I believe would be best is to do away with the pact and make that clear to her. Instead, let her know that she can talk to you before she self-harms just to see if talking about what she is upset about will help first. I understand it won't be easy but just do the best you can to try and be understanding towards her if she does self-harm. A calm response could mean a lot to her and remind her she doesn't have to lie to you and also that she can go to you for comfort.

You can print out a page of the self-harm alternatives (here) that she can try out when she gets urges. You can suggest that she try to write out her feelings as well to have an emotional outlet (which she may also find in creative writing, art and music along with other things.) Going for a run in the sunlight could help as well because both exercise and sunlight releases endorphins just as self-harm does. You mentioned that she is close to getting medication so I assume she is getting professional help for her issues? Do you know if she's open about her self-harm and urges? Perhaps they could give her extra advice on how to cope in healthier ways.

I feel empathy for you because from your post, it seems like you're a caring boyfriend to her and that it really hurts you to know she self-harms. And your current ways are the only way you know how to make her "stop". I'm sorry your girlfriend self-harms. Obviously it must be hard for her, but it can't be easy for you to see her go through this. However, I advise against making pacts or making her promise not to self-harm/get angry at her if she does as that is likely to make her feel worse. Recovery has to be a choice she makes but you can help support her and remind her she is strong. Supporting her, listening to her and being there will do a lot more than you might think.

Hope this helped and that your girlfriend starts feeling better soon. Take care and hang in there.
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