So young, no control, feeling stressed and upset with no avenue to turn to so sometimes it turns to self harm, other drinking/drugs/s3x.
Everything seems like the end of the world - things devastate young girls that we can now as adults just shrug off. It's only as an adult and eg when you have children that you realise this, that those things didn't matter. But again to a girl her age- they seem huge. As friends, looking nice, boys etc are everything.
I hope she's ok.
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21-10-2012 10:53 #11
*trigger warning* Advice dealing with self harm
21-10-2012 11:04 #12
went through anorexia at 15 for many years - and pp's are right, it is a response to stress and taking control.
do some research online - find out more about it, local groups in her area (self help groups) so you are armed with info when you approach her.
i do think online might be better as kids feel less threatened.
(i used to speak at high schools about ed's and got a lot more emails than face to face conversations)
she probably feels alone, isolated and that she has no control over her life. she needs to speak to other people (especially her age) that feel the same so she knows she is not alone.
and therapy - she really, really should speak to a counsellor.
even suggesting something like yoga or meditation so she can start to learn alternative ways of dealing with the anxiety that causes her to cut.
it's a hard line - you don't want to be overbearing but you do need to keep checking in so even if she doesn't accept help at first, she knows you are still there when she does want it.
and she is very lucky to have a sil that is so caring
21-10-2012 11:22 #13
I know when I was a teen I would deny it if anyone asked me about, even if I knew they probably did know, I'd lie. Many a time I had adults reach out and try and coax it out of me but it was no use. Punishment doesn't work, just makes everything seem a million times worse. The best thing? A teacher gave me a notebook and wrote a letter to me in the front - which at the time I told her I thought it was stupid - but in fact, that letter helped big time. It was basically telling me that maybe no one will ever know what's going and that's my choice but things won't always feel like they are on my shoulders, things will eventually settle down. Maybe I didn't want to talk to anyone about what I felt ever, and that was okay, but I could always write it down, express it to myself and maybe that would take some of its power.
That was actually the most helpful thing. As a teenager I think it's a tricky line because you want someone to notice and help you but you also don't want to be bothered or accused of anything, regardless of whether its true. I only got rid of that book recently and it really helped.
I wrote a bit of a novel there lol sorry, but seriously, that's my advice. I think your FILs approach to the situation will have made things worse and so a friendly ear but also not intruding. You never know, it might be the just the thing that does get her to talk, she might open up after that. Its like a non-threatening gesture.
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21-10-2012 12:56 #14
Is it also possible to educate FIL on self harm? Let him know that you are concerned that she may accidentally take it too far and end up killing herself (which can happen). Possibly then he will rethink his solution to the problem.
21-10-2012 15:04 #15
Yes, please do talk to her. Its a little distressing that your FIL's reaction is to treat her as though she's being 'bad' and threaten to punish her. Poor girl probably feels in emotional pain, and very alone and misunderstood. Is this your DH's sister? If you understand the psychology behind it, could you talk to your DH and get him to talk to his dad about it too? His family may not discuss emotions but its a habit they need to change. And this should be a giant red flag that its time to make some changes and start talking with their kids about how they're feeling.
She may not show it at first, but it *will* make a difference to know you care, and aren't angry with her, and are someone she can talk to. Good luck with it.
21-10-2012 16:15 #16
firstly, i'm sorry to hear about your sil.
i don't think there is enough information commonly out there for people to understand all the different ways of self harming. and so it's hard for parents, friends, teachers to know how to 'properly' deal with it.
for me, i was bullied all through school, my parents divorced (mum cheated on dad), my dad was diagnosed with cancer, my 'friends' were s**t, a few of my boyfriends were abusive, physically and emotionally and i felt very 'out of control'.
i started with an eating disorder because it was something i could control and i liked the positive comments i got about weight loss (because western society likes skinniness... .... and thoughts comments were what i heard growing up)
inside i was full of emotion... sad, frustrated, angry, out of control, lonely, hurt, confused and these feelings became sooooo overwhelming and i didn't know how to get them out.
cutting became a release. like the blood coming out was the actual emotion leaving my body and for a brief moment, those overwhelming feelings were gone.
some people cut only for attention but no matter the reason, it isn't nice and shouldn't be a 'normal' way of dealing with what ever is going on. no one wants to feel like this.
when my dad found out he threw me in the car and drove to the hospital saying "someone help her!!!" then i went to counselling. he was very supportive and tried to make sure i went to school (checked with my teachers that i was going... which i wasn't) he also sat down and explained how he had once before been suicidal and how things aren't always good but that some things in life are amazing. having my dad open up to me was amazing and was a huge part of me getting better. i didn't feel so alone. he wasn't angry, he was just worried.
my mum on the other hand was ashamed. we had a distant relationship and are still trying to re build what we have left. knowing she was ashamed and wanting to ignore the actual problems was very hard and not having her support made me feel worse.
i hated talking about it to people faces because it made it real, it made me feel ashamed, like i wasn't normal. i often said i had a pet tiger named shu shu who had sharp claws... my teachers knew i was lying and i guess they then went easy on me at school so i had less pressure.
i stopped cutting when i had people to be accountable to. i mean, i could cut in places my parents couldn't see so it lessened but didn't stop after they found out. later i did stop when i started dating someone who actually cared about me and who i didn't want to upset. i also worked with the counsellor to talk about how to deal with emotions... to be honest, at the time, i felt she didn't help, but i think back now and still use some of her theories even today. so it proves that she laid some foundations to changing my thinking.
i guess the reason i am saying all this, is that, i hope it is an insight to someone else who has gone through this. your sil should not be punished.
it is so good that you care and are reaching out for help. she is lucky to have you. i think contacting over facebook is ok. it allows conversation without face to face confrontation and those awkward looks. when she knows she has people who care, it at least is a starting point to being accountable to other people and not wanting to disappoint.
other options for helping, are finding ways to get those emotions out in a positive way. eg: kick boxing or something physical. meditation is good BUT sitting quietly with your own thoughts are often the worst thing you can do... i could never do it back then.
perhaps you could offer to go to the gym or a boxing/self defence class with her? that way she can get out some energy and anger, and learn some self confidence (if for eg, you went to a self defence class), physical exercise also encourages endorphins which can lift her mood aswell. going with her can also help build a bond between you. and having positive people and positive relationships is a huge part of feeling supported and healing.
i hope that in time, she learns better coping strategies and her battle scars just become a reminder of where she has been and what she has overcome.
goodluck to you and your family aswell.
21-10-2012 16:20 #17
Thank you all for the advice, very apprecited.
DH has called his mum earlier and told her we'd call them later. He's told a white lie at my request that i had a friend who self harmed so i learnt a lot about it. The truth, that I've read half a library and am interested in how the mind works, would lose their attention entirely. So Im going to try to offer them some advice on handling it better and on what she may be feeling, and try to talk to her too.
On a positive she's being sent to the school counsellor apparently, which might help.
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21-10-2012 16:27 #18
everyone responds in different ways and needs different ways for healing so finding what is right for her will be the challenge. but you are taking the first steps which is great
ps. i also write (or scribble angrily) in a journal to get my issues out of my head and paint pictures as a form of meditation.
21-10-2012 16:48 #19
*trigger warning* Advice dealing with self harm
Just wanted to offer hugs. I agree with PP that being held accountable makes a difference. I use to cut every single day n the trigger was a close death in the family. I was devastated that the world could go in while I had lost the most important person in the world. Whenever I spoke about this person, people minimalised my feelings saying 'that's life' etc. so I just stopped talking n cut to release my emotions-mostly hate for the world. I stopped sleeping, started throwing up n it became a vicious cycle.
I went to a counsellor n he had no idea what to do with me, this made me even worse. My mum set up a doctors appointment for me n he said I had 'an addictive personality' therefore couldn't offer any help!
It come to a head for me when I had a booty call who treated me like ****, I would drink loads n if he didn't want me that nite-I'd cut. One night I couldn't stop, I wrote **** on my arm n just kept cutting in fury. I fell asleep with blood all over me n couldn't go to work the next day. I decided then I couldn't live like that n took my **** to the hospital n text my best friend so I had someone to be accountable to. I presented at the hospital n showed the nurse who exclaimed 'wow, that's not normal' n my GP came to clean me up. I was tired, hung over n sore. I'd hit rock bottom. We had a good talk n I just checked in with him every week. I rarely cut now. As in its been years n this year something triggered me n I did it twice but I owned up to it with my GP.
I don't have advice, just trying to tell a bit about my story n how I cut back (no pun intended). I've never spoken to my family about it. I don't know why, but if anyone tried to confront me I would just lie. I still do. My DP has been really good for me n that's helped immensely.
Good luck OP!
21-10-2012 19:18 #20
*trigger warning* Advice dealing with self harm
You say you aren't close, but is that just because of the distance? Is she close with your DH?
I would offer for her to come stay with you guys for a few days if appropriate. Perhaps being away from school and the bullies may help her open up once she is comfortable around you?
The poor girl needs help, not a father punishing her. But be kind to him, he is obviously freaking out and perhaps has no idea how to deal with it.
I hope she's ok and you are wonderful to be trying to help.
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