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    Love My Child
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    PPTORR posted:


    I have just discovered that my 12 year old daughter has been cutting. Is there anything somebody can tell me that will help me help her? Things my wife and I have already told her are:


    You are not alone.
    We will get through this together.
    We don't see you as different.
    We love you.
    We are here to talk to.


    I'm currently deployed for a year. My wife is the only one home? I've been reading about this almost all day. I'm saddened that my little girl feels so alone that she does this. I really care and want to help.


    Sincerely


    Paul
     
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    An_254311 responded:
  • * TRIGGER * * talk of self injury * *

    A bit more info on Self inflicted Violence (SIV) for those interested.


    Intense emotional pain is hard to deal with. You can't see it, you can't put a bandage on it, you can't fully explain it to anyone else. The pain is personal and well, excruciating. Some people have learned not to show pain, or lack the ability to effectively communicate pain.


    When the tension builds internally to a point that feels like..."I'm going to explode, I am going to go insane" people who self injure...injure themselves. This act does many things...says many things....


    1. It transfers the pain to the surface, where you CAN see it, you CAN heal it. You can't bandage the soul, but you can bandage your arm.


    2. The blood speaks volumes as to the internal pain. Think of the cut as a red mouth screaming the pain. (this maybe the only way a person can express the discomfort they are in).


    3. The act itself will literally cut the tension one is feeling. You are left with a calmness, a dissociating "high", you feel back in control now that the energy is released. This fact makes SIV a very addicting act. You are positively reinforced each time you injure.


    SIV is very alarming/disturbing to people who don't do it. What you need to know about us is this. We are not trying to kill ourselves with the injuring...think of it more as self medicating.


    SIV does not = suicide attempt. Suicide is an another category all by its self. Suicide = taking action to ends ones life, while SIV = taking action to ease internal pressure, so one can keep on functioning.


    It is in fact often used to stop one from reaching that point of seeking fatal means to cope. The number one most common denominator to SIV is a history of sexual abuse...we are talking about deep deep issues that need a professional touch here, the healing journey is a hard one. Deep issues must be faced, a commitment to healing and working towards learning and using healthy coping skills must be there.
  •  
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    An_254311 responded:
    (cont.)

    One doesn't have to have any abuse in there background to learn SIV as coping skill., it works just as well no matter the reason behind it. SIV is about control too...controlling ones emotions and feelings and destiny.


    Cutting can give a sense of control. I CONTROL WHEN AND WHERE I FEEL THE PAIN.


    We are NOT crazy for injuring ourselves. We are just in pain, and have lost the ability to communicate any other way.


    Think of it this way...the SIV is a fever. Its a symptom of a deeper infection that needs to cleared up before the fever goes away. You would never tell a sick person...just stop having a fever. We do medicate the fever away, but does the cure the infection? nope. There is deeper work we need to do.


    Things that are not helpful...


    1. giving ultimatums You may not cut. I won't be your friend if you injure yourself.


    2. "Stop it for me." "promise me you won't cut for me" - We need to stop for ourselves.


    3. "just don't cut" - if it were that simple don't you think we would do it?


    4. Non injuring contracts. SIV is a coping mechanism. It may very well be there ONLY coping skill. Until there is a new skill learned-practiced-implemented, the SIV will continue. (We don't ask babies to be born and get up and walk the same day. they learn to use there muscles first, roll over, crawl, stand, then walk. it is a slow gradual process.)


    Re-learning/learning healthy coping skills is hard work. It is not an overnight process, expect the SIV to continue as we work in therapy. In the cases of past trauma, it might actually increase as the past is dealt with.
     
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    An_254311 replied to An_254311's response:
    (cont)

    Welcome to the board Paul, glad you found us, but so sorry you have need of us.


    You are doing the right thing, just take it up another step.

    Counseling is a very helpful tool in learning to change this behavior. Seek that for your daughter. If she is suffering from anxiety or depression seek medical help and see if medication will help her.

    She is young. This can be stopped with the proper help.

    Just ask her, "what are the scars/wounds saying?" and then close your mouth and listen. She maybe able to vocalize things better if she is speaking for the scars/wounds.

    Don't treat her like a prisoner. No hiding the knives/razors. etc...self injures can and will use anything. It will freak her out and is guaranteed to increase the SIV. She needs to replace the old unhealthy coping skills with new healthy ones before she can let go of the old one.


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