She felt so much emotionally, she would say, that a physical outlet - physical pain - was the only way to make her internal pain go away. It was the only way she could control it.
Is Your Child Cutting?
If yes, take heart - there is help available, and self-harm can be treated effectively.
First, know that this is not a death wish. Your teen is not thinking about suicide; it’s more a question of power and control. Cutting gives a sense of control, as if for at least this aspect of their lives, they have some control over it. The physical pain of cutting is helping to release some of the emotional pain they are feeling.
The Key Is ...
... finding out what that emotional pain is, and not focusing on the cutting itself.
Shaming or blaming a teenager not only doesn’t help, but can actually cause more harm.
We must work through our own sense of shame and frustration with the situation before we attempt to discuss it with our children.
Second, Truly Know That This Is Not Necessarily A Reflection On You Or Your Parenting
Sometimes, bullying at school or taunts by peers inflect much deeper damage than we suspect. (Quick – think back to a taunt you may have heard at middle school. It still hurts, even after all of those years, right?)
Third, Don’t Brush Away The Seriousness Of The Issue
Self-harm can lead to more serious injuries, and is often linked to other issues like eating disorders, depression, addiction, and impulse control.
If you suspect your child or another child is practicing self-injury, remaining quiet and hoping the problem will go away is not a good course of action. In fact, most adults who self-harm started the behavior as an adolescent.
Kathleen Dwyer-Blair, LCSW, BCD, Director.
My wish for you today is that you and your child find the help you need.