Help - a cousin of mine cuts herself

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by MikiAndoFan#1, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. MikiAndoFan#1

    MikiAndoFan#1 Well-Known Member

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    My 16-year old cousin opened up to me today and told me that she's been cutting herself since she was 12. Her dad is total jerk and she has a crappy relationship with him. She's also been dealing with some problems at school. She's one of my closest friends and I'm very worried about her. :( What can I do to help?
     
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  2. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    Don't freak out. This is extremely common, and most people hide it really well. It isn't done for attention, it's a stress reliever- diverts the internal pain. It doesn't mean they want to injure themselves, or are suicidal. It does mean that she has a lot of difficulty dealing with emotional pain, and she needs therapy to deal with her problems.

    There is a lot of information on the subject on the internet.

    It's very very difficult to be the supporting person trying to help someone with this problem. :(
     
  3. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry, MikiAndoFan#1. :( That's rough. I hope and pray you can encourage her to get to a good counselor.
     
  4. judiz

    judiz Well-Known Member

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    went through same thing with family member, let your cousin know you are there for her but encourage her to speak to a therapist ,social worker or school guidance counselor. Let her know they are there to help, not judge her.
     
  5. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    I am glad your cousin has told you. That is a probably a big step for her. Hope you can guide her into counselling.

    Have a look at Jenny Kirk's blog. She wrote quite candidly about the issue of self-harm.
     
  6. made_in_canada

    made_in_canada INTJ

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    (((MikiAndoFan))) Just being supportive and non-judgemental is huge. If she hasn't already looked into professional help I'd also encourage her to find some.

    For her to open up to you about this speaks volumes of how much she trusts you. You don't have to have all the answers just be there for her unconditionally and if you can, help guide her to some good help.
     
  7. paskatefan

    paskatefan Well-Known Member

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    So sorry to hear this news about your cousin. :( Please encourage her to get professional help. Continue to be there for her.
     
  8. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    I agree with everyone here. Please encourage her to get professional help. Hopefully, her father will not roadblock her (since you say she has a poor relationship with him). I agree with rjblue, that this doesn't necessarily mean that she intends to do herself serious harm. However, if not treated, these kinds of disorders can become worse and she can develop more self destructive behaviors. Another concern is infection. While she may not be cutting deep enough to cause real damage, any open wound can become infected (especially consider that her cutting tool, of choice, may not be sterile). She can be causing cuts that leave permanent scarring. And, she could possibly cut in the wrong place, with more pressure than intended, and accidentally seriously harm herself. It is really important that she get help, ASAP.

    (((for you and your cousin)))
     
  9. MikiAndoFan#1

    MikiAndoFan#1 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so much for your help. I really appreciate it. :) It's such a scary situation. I had no idea she was doing this to herself. :( I will follow your advice and talk to her about therapy.
     
  10. Simone411

    Simone411 aka IceSkate98

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    (((MikiAndoFan))) ITA with what others have posted in this thread. I can tell you love your cousin very much. Let her know that you're there for her, and encourage her to get professional help.
     
  11. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    That she trusts you with this speaks volumes about you.
    (((((hugs)))))

    Encourage her to get professional help.
    Let her know that you love and support her; and will continue to do so.
     
  12. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Last night on a current affairs program on Australian TV there was a story about this exact same issue. I hope people will be able to watch it as it could be blocked but there is a transcript of it underneath the video. The girl in it was very brave as she does show her injuries and what she has done to herself which is quite horrific. And I think really drives home what a serious problem this is.

    http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3554593.htm

    At the end there is a link to a study on the topic as well.
     
  13. Dragonlady

    Dragonlady Well-Known Member

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    I would add that if your cousin doesn't get help and soon, you should tell a trusted adult about this - her mother, her minister or guidance counsellor. This is not something you should be trying to deal with on your own. Don't blindside her or go behind her back. Tell her if she doesn't get help, you will tell her mother about this. You are not breaking her trust, you are helping her overcome behaviour that is out of control.
     
  14. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Good advice.
     
  15. quartz

    quartz it's just love, and miracles out of nowhere

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    I went through this when my daughter was 15. Scary as hell, and I have a scar on my heart for every cut on her body. She refused counselling or authority figure help of any kind, and so we had to resort to some tough love tactics. I continued to tell her I loved her no matter what, even though I hated the behavior, and continously encouraged her to focus on all the blessings and positives she had going for her, and tried to get her to find more healthy outlets to express her anger stress and pain. Eventually she overcame her cutting on her own, but I know that most people will need the help of a professional counsellor.
    Keep on loving your cousin, show her you will never, ever, give up on her, and really stress the need for professional help.
     
  16. quartz

    quartz it's just love, and miracles out of nowhere

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    And be prepared for a long journey. My daughter took us on a 3 year roller coaster ride. I have a niece who had self-injury issues as well, along with OCD, and it took 8 years before it was under control.
    My daughter is now studying for a Bachelor degree in nursing, and working at a nursing home. My niece is a social worker specializing in teen behavioral issues and has adopted 2 special needs children. They are fabulous young women, and my heroes.
    With support and love, you can help your cousin to achieve a great life and be an inspiration to others.
     
  17. Twilight1

    Twilight1 Well-Known Member

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    Usually the best way to solve this issue is to address the stress she is trying to get relief from. In my area, there are support groups for teens/ young adults who are going through this.

    The counsellors eventually get the kids to start looking at substituting this behaviour with some kind of artistic outlet. (It could be art, music, writing, etc) They have pretty good success with it.

    Like it was pointed out above, it is a long road with a lot of relapses along the way.
     
  18. fenway2

    fenway2 Well-Known Member

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    I'm so sorry to hear about your cousin and the situation with her father. I'm so glad she opened up to you. That is a very important first step toward recovery. Many cutters keep the practice hidden and would never dream of opening up to anyone. It's obvious she trusts you dearly and wants help. Those are two things that should help her greatly on her road to recovery.
    For the record, my sister was a cutter for over 20 years of her life. I had no idea, none of us did, because she did such a great job of hiding her wounds from everyone. Eventually though she got help and even wrote a book about her struggle and recovery. She even won a literary award for her work. Let me know if you'd like the link to the book and I will post it.
    Good luck to your cousin and you.
     
  19. Kelleys6th

    Kelleys6th Active Member

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    From my memories, I totally agree with rjblue:

    I went through this period during my divorce - I was soo angry.....
    Therapy helps! A good connection with a therapist is so important. Be honored she revealed this to you, and accept her with unconditional love.

    :cat:
     
  20. Alex Forrest

    Alex Forrest Banned Member

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    I do not mean to sound XXXX, but have you seen these scars? Are they for real or is she just trying to cry for attention. I know exactly cutting and stabbing and all that. But there is a total difference between someone who WANTS to do that and IS doing it. I'd demand to see the marks and scars.

    Start with that first. She might just be a drama queen crying out for help. Look under the armpits. No one who cuts goes right to their hands or forearms. I think you should investigate first. She's probably just crying for help.
     
  21. Hedwig

    Hedwig Rarely here anymore but I try to be better!

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    I don't agree with your post at all. Even if she is "just" crying for attention she should not be labeled as drama queen. Even if it were the case that she had not cut herself it is a serious issue and shows deep inner trouble and should be treated with concern and respect.


    this behaviour is associated with people diagnosed with borderline. It is an illness that is quite difficult to treat and was deemed virtually untreatable until recently when Marsha Lineham devised a therapy that proved to be quite effective.
    It will be a scary step for your cousin to seek professional help. And even if she agrees to it it is sometimes difficult to find a good and able counsellor. So I agree with the notion of including a trust-worthy adult who can help with the process of finding the right professional help. If at all possible she should look for someone specialized in treating borderline patients and even better if specialised in dialectical behavior therapy. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectical_Behavior_Therapy)
     
  22. l'etoile

    l'etoile New Member

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    (((MikiAndoFan and your cousin))) Hope your cousin gets through soon.
     
  23. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Hedwig. Even if this girl is not actually cutting herself, to make these sort of claims, to need attention that much, indicates a very serious problem. This is an illness that is typically done in secret. As others have said, it is a way of feeling physical pain to offset emotional/mental pain. And, if she is not yet, actually, cutting, she may be on the brink. FTR, girls do cut their forearms, I've seen it. It is more common to cut in areas that are less likely to be seen - stomach being very common, but arms do get cut.
     
  24. MikiAndoFan#1

    MikiAndoFan#1 Well-Known Member

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    That would great! Thanks!

    Yes, I've seen the scars. She has them on her wrists.

    Thank you for your support! :) :) :)
     
  25. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

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    All self-harm is a cry for help and should be taken seriously.

    Your post disgusts me.

    (((((MikiAndoFan#1, cousin and family)))))
     
  26. Kelleys6th

    Kelleys6th Active Member

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    Alex Forrest,
    I hate to point this out, but my first serious cutting experience was to my forearms. I wound up with 16 stitches, and lied my way through the ER - doctors, nurses and my family.
    Underarm cutting is almost impossible to do because of the difficulty actually doing it - mostly with a straight box cutter razor - and the difficulty of hiding it. Also the result of it would be too painful. Cutting is to get rid of immediate pain, not pain doing it, then more pain recovering from it.
    My favorite spot was my upper thighs - Since I never wore bathing suits, and shorts were my outfit for the summer, no one would notice if I cut there. And no one did.

    Once again, I would like to stress how important it was for your cousin to tell you Miki fan. I'll keep her in my thoughts and prayers.

    :cat:
     
  27. taf2002

    taf2002 flower lady

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    What support?
     
  28. MikiAndoFan#1

    MikiAndoFan#1 Well-Known Member

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    Moral support. :)
     
  29. Hedwig

    Hedwig Rarely here anymore but I try to be better!

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    I think (hope ;) ) she meant the general support in this thread and not the (IMO) disgusting post from a certain poster.
     
  30. MikiAndoFan#1

    MikiAndoFan#1 Well-Known Member

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    That's exactly what I meant. :) I'm a he, by the way. :lol: