Self harming: cutting for control
It starts with something minor, a sewing needle or a pin. Just something to take your mind off whatever pain, anger or hurt you are feeling, but can’t control. It’s all about control, isn’t it? One pain replaces the other pain, I suppose. You may not even know that what you’re doing is wrong or that it can lead to much worse things. All you know is that you are hurting and you want it to stop.
Have you ever known anyone who intentionally hurt themselves? Or have you ever taken a blade to your own skin? The thought of it is beyond my comprehension, but then again, I’m from a different generation and we had our own ways of dealing with anger and heartache. It’s a different world today.
Cutting can easily become an addiction for young girls. And it needs to be taken seriously from the very first time someone notices the signs. I’m amazed when I hear girls say that their counselor says they are just trying to get attention or their Doctor looks at the scars and says “they’re not too bad yet”. Some say that the people who were supposed to be supporting them made the cutting seem almost normal, or at the very least, not dangerous. Like it was just a phase they were going through.
So the cutting continues. And after a while, it doesn’t really make a difference anymore, so the cuts start getting deeper. And the blades get sharper. Anything to make the “real” pain go away. But then people start to notice the scars and the bullying starts. The self esteem that was already bad hits an all time low. Kids in school call you worthless and stupid. Your parents freak out. And so the cuts get deeper. Sadly, these girls are looking for a way to numb their emotions and eventually it just takes more and more pain to get there.
The ONLY way to stop this dangerous cycle is to listen to these girls…to see them as humans instead of just attention seekers. They have a real problem and they need real help and support. Here is a quote from a self harmer that ended up in a full crisis situation:
“If people like teachers, doctors, parents and even my friends had seen it as a problem that needed dealing with, rather than seeing it as something not yet at crisis point and choosing not to waste time with it, because by the time it did get to crisis point, it felt almost as though there was no turning back.”
Her friends could have helped her. She would have listened to them. She would have listened to anyone who would have taken her problem seriously. But nobody did. Everyone failed her – the system failed her. So what can we do to change the system?
What can you do to help your friend??