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Don't Judge People Who Cut Themselves.


Lilith666
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http://m.buffalonews.com/story/?story=12&sec=lf

 

John Rosemond's latest article on dealing with teenage emotional turmoil mentions self-mutilation, calling it a "fad" and "emotional narcissism." I liked most of the article--I'm not ripping on him here because I hate him--but this sweeping assumption is too much.

 

Cutting is not a fad. It may be simply a way for some spoiled kids to get a little more attention, but the reason most adolescents cut has nothing to do with being self-absorbed. They are trying to distract themselves from emotional pain by causing physical pain.

 

Rosemond's generalization isn't just incredibly judgmental; it's dangerous. By pronouncing all cutters to be attention-seekers, he is encouraging parents to think that what their children might be going through is just a phase that can be fixed with a "the world doesn't revolve around you" Reality Check. There's this thing called depression, and people who have it need support. Ignoring the issue and calling it "immaturity" pushes them further away from getting help--not to mention convinces them that their parents either don't care or are too far removed from them to make an effort to help them. If Rosemond's own children or grandchildren harmed themselves, would he be willing to take the risk of avoiding the issue on the chance that they might be following a trend?

 

I know someone personally who used to cut herself. She lost so much blood that she had to be sent to the emergency room. If she had been ignored as another case of adolescent selfishness, she could have died. Apparently, kids these days are so crazy about the in-crowd that they intentionally cause themselves severe pain, just for a little more time in the spotlight.

 

Please don't ever overlook someone who could be intentionally harming himself or herself. Get help immediately. You might think cutting is only another overly-publicized way to get attention, but someday your child or best friend could be the one in the ICU because they were assumed to be looking for attention.

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In some ways it is to get attention, as in things have got so bad for this person that they feel the only way to call attention to it is by physically hurting themselves.Just because people are calling for attention doesn't mean they don't need it!

Obviously it's a complex issue though and people cut for many different reasons. I agree that with most of these reasons it's not because it's 'fashionable' or whatever, I think people underestimate the massive metal leap it would take to actually deliberately hurt yourself. It's not a fad and it's not something that's going to disappear any time soon, no matter how much self-harmers choose to be open about or hide it. It needs to be addressed with compassion and understanding! Which is sad because it's a very difficult thing to understand if you haven't been through it yourself (as I haven't, but one of my best friends did when we were younger and I felt terrible for not knowing what the heck was going on in her head to make it seem like a good solution to things)

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Even as a believer I never judged people who cut themselves negatively. I know the reason why they do it, though I don't really understand how it helps exactly, probably because I've never been in a situation in which I was depressed badly enough to do it. I've always felt sad for the people who cut themselves to distract themselves from their emotional pain and still do. Anyone who would dare make the accusation that all people who cut are doing it for attention is absolutely despicable. They don't have all the facts, but yet, make assumptions about a person's behavior, despite not knowing what is going on inside of their mind.

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They are trying to distract themselves from emotional pain by causing physical pain.

 

Rosemond's generalization isn't just incredibly judgmental; it's dangerous. By pronouncing all cutters to be attention-seekers, he is encouraging parents to think that what their children might be going through is just a phase that can be fixed with a "the world doesn't revolve around you" Reality Check. 

 

Too many memories right there. The distraction from physical pain, watching yourself heal only to repeat, having a mom who thinks you should "just get over it" - yep. 

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Even as a believer I never judged people who cut themselves negatively. I know the reason why they do it, though I don't really understand how it helps exactly, 

 

Well, for me it was therapeutic to watch the healing process. It was also something I could get away with - wear long sleeves to cover it up or do it strategically. Even now a healed over scar symbolizes a past crisis overcome. 

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I never cut but I did use a belt.  Most people who self harm do it in a way so that it doesn't show.  Why?  I did it to suppress emotions.  A little sting and suddenly you don't feel all the horrible emotional trauma that is wrecking your life.  If the emotional pain gets worse you gradually apply more physical harm.  That is how they can put up with so much of it.  It's easy to build up a tolerance to physical pain.

 

When I learned to stop I had to work though a massive amount of emotional pain that I didn't know how to handle.  That was very difficult.  Chalk this up as yet another thing that Christianity could not save me from but I conquered on my own as an ex-Christian.

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" I think people underestimate the massive metal leap it would take to actually deliberately hurt yourself"

 

So true. Our brains are wired for self-preservation. Every tried not blinking when someone you trust is faking a punch to your face - even when you know they are faking it? You always blink. Overriding your self-preservation instinct to deliberately harm yourself takes  a seriously dark mental state. Sure someone could cut themselves once to try prove a point, or copy peers, but if they are mentally healthy they would not then go on to do it again and again. It really angers me when people use public forums to spout this shit. It can be the same with actual suicide attempts; they say if you didn't die, or almost die, you were just 'trying to get attention' and not really unwell. There is still way too much misinformation and stigma surrounding mental illness. Thanks for bringing this topic up Lilith

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Guest r3alchild

Now for something completely different.

 

Q. How many self mutilators does it take to screw in a light bulb.

 

A. None because its just a fad.

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Guest Babylonian Dream

I'm a former cutter. I wouldn't cut in places where it would be visible, and no it wasn't for attention. It was because the pain was a distraction, it hurt alot less than the pain I was feeling inside. Instead, I would for a while use ice on my hands to similate the same pain without the physical damage that cutting causes. It's not a fad. Though some may do it because they see others do it, some may do it because they want attention, but its by no means everyone.

 

Yeah, sure... they had to learn about it from somewhere. I saw my grandmother do it. Though I took it on because I was always trying to find ways of inflicting pain upon myself, like taking pins and poking into my own skin with them. That I didn't learn from anybody. I still have the scars from it. It's a form of release.

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I don't try to cut out my emotional pain and I feel so bad for anyone who does. I store my emotional pain in my body and it's creates all kinds of havoc.  When I'm in a fibromyalgia flare up, I can guarantee you that I am full of resentment and anger.

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Guest Babylonian Dream

I don't try to cut out my emotional pain and I feel so bad for anyone who does. I store my emotional pain in my body and it's creates all kinds of havoc.  When I'm in a fibromyalgia flare up, I can guarantee you that I am full of resentment and anger.

Holding it in ain't any better for you. I've known people who've had strokes because they'd bottle shit in, and it probably contributed to that risk.

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Guest ThereIsNoGod

It's the basic "Harden Up!" response. I guess in one quick move you can make a person realize that nobody is ever going to give a shit about their problems so they might as well just start bottling it up, like you do. Then one day they just go and kill someone.

 

There are parents out there who are more concerned about any shame that a child might cause his family by appearing in public with cuts on his arms, than any pain and suffering a child might be going through, which causes him to cut in the first place. Shit, if a kid is willing to inflict pain on himself in order to get attention, you'd think the kid might actually have some important need for the attention don't you think Rosemund?

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Guest Babylonian Dream

It's the basic "Harden Up!" response. I guess in one quick move you can make a person realize that nobody is ever going to give a shit about their problems so they might as well just start bottling it up, like you do. Then one day they just go and kill someone.

 

There are parents out there who are more concerned about any shame that a child might cause his family by appearing in public with cuts on his arms, than any pain and suffering a child might be going through, which causes him to cut in the first place. Shit, if a kid is willing to inflict pain on himself in order to get attention, you'd think the kid might actually have some important need for the attention don't you think Rosemund?

That's an interesting perspective. While it seems like kids are more likely to do other,  equally unhealthy things to get attention. I do see your point. I do agree though, instead of looking down on the kid for wanting attention, maybe see what the child's needs are.

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Instead of judging or assuming, it seems to me that a more productive response is to ask "why?" and then listen to the response with an open mind. Even if one can't completely emphasize one can try to at least try to understand. Sure it may take some time to wiggle out the root of the problem, but at least its a start. 

 

Speculation is a natural thing to do and we all judge, but the important thing is not to do so by minimizing or over-reacting to the situation..

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I don't try to cut out my emotional pain and I feel so bad for anyone who does. I store my emotional pain in my body and it's creates all kinds of havoc.  When I'm in a fibromyalgia flare up, I can guarantee you that I am full of resentment and anger.

Holding it in ain't any better for you. I've known people who've had strokes because they'd bottle shit in, and it probably contributed to that risk.

 

 

So the safest way to deal with emotional pain would be to get some boxing gloves and a punching bag and beat the crap out of it until you feel better. It would also be the least damaging, but it is probably not available for a lot of people.

 

However, for me, the way I dealt with emotional pain didn't really hurt me all that much, but it probably hurt and frightened other people. Usually the way I dealt with it was to purposefully hurt others so they would feel the exact same thing I felt, the pain always being emotional. Sometimes I would say generally evil things, not directed at anyone specifically, but some of the things I would say would make anyone who heard it think that I belonged in a rubber room somewhere and I would happen to agree with anyone who said that I did belong in one. The terrible things I said usually came in the form of dark humor laced with seriousness. I'm surprised I never got in trouble at school for this stuff. It absolutely amazes me that no teachers called my parents and told them to find a psychiatrist for me.

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Guest Babylonian Dream

 

 

So the safest way to deal with emotional pain would be to get some boxing gloves and a punching bag and beat the crap out of it until you feel better. It would also be the least damaging, but it is probably not available for a lot of people.

 

However, for me, the way I dealt with emotional pain didn't really hurt me all that much, but it probably hurt and frightened other people. Usually the way I dealt with it was to purposefully hurt others so they would feel the exact same thing I felt, the pain always being emotional. Sometimes I would say generally evil things, not directed at anyone specifically, but some of the things I would say would make anyone who heard it think that I belonged in a rubber room somewhere and I would happen to agree with anyone who said that I did belong in one. The terrible things I said usually came in the form of dark humor laced with seriousness. I'm surprised I never got in trouble at school for this stuff. It absolutely amazes me that no teachers called my parents and told them to find a psychiatrist for me.

 

I'm still looking for the best way to deal with emotional pain. Though my coping skills now are better than they've ever been. It's hard to have to deal with that. I get the dark humor part, its been and still is a way for me to cope. Though I'd use dark humor in my journals.

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I hate it when people say stuff like that. I always say that if you don't 'self harm' (hate that phrase) and never did then you don't understand, I didn't understand why it helped until I started.

 

I do know that there are some people who may cut for attention, a friend of mine told me he and his friend did it because they thought it was 'cool'. Naturally I ripped into him big time and he's changed his views.  (or pretended to, he knows better than to say stuff like that to me now!)

 

However, for the vast majority, it's not an attention thing. It's a distraction, a form of punishment in my case, whatever, it's different for everyone.

 

Stupid journalisty people *sulky face*

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I'm still looking for the best way to deal with emotional pain. Though my coping skills now are better than they've ever been. It's hard to have to deal with that. I get the dark humor part, its been and still is a way for me to cope. Though I'd use dark humor in my journals.

 

 

 

Since putting down the belt I've taken a zen approach.  When the emotional pain gets bad I take a deep breath and look around.  When I see a blade of grass I remind myself that the blade of grass does not care about any of these troubles.  I do the same for several more objects I see.  Then I remind myself of just how small I am in the universe.  But it's not just me our whole world and all of our problems are just as small in the universe.  

 

I don't know why but it helps me.  

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I don't try to cut out my emotional pain and I feel so bad for anyone who does. I store my emotional pain in my body and it's creates all kinds of havoc.  When I'm in a fibromyalgia flare up, I can guarantee you that I am full of resentment and anger.

 

I bottle it all up, too. I've known a few cutters in the past. I always felt very bad for them. I could never do it myself as I tend to get dizzy and have even fainted at the sight of blood so I'd be found out pretty fast. 

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It's not for attention, at least not in most cases. I found that out when my daughter did it - she hid it from me.. and her friends for almost a year. It was a way to release her pain and anger. Or sometimes to actually feel something when she felt numb.(disasocciated)

 

Do I understand the pain and anger that precipitated it? no. Did I overreact when I first found out? yes. All I could hear was my grandpa's voice in my head.. he said, "You want to hurt yourself?.. here, I can help you with that" and head for the belt.... hahahaha... no, but that was how it would have been handled when I was a kid.

 

She hasn't done it in quite a while..(yay) I got her into therapy as soon as I found out.... but at least if she does it again I kinda get it now... and have learned to help her with harm reduction and non-judgementalism. (taking care of the wounds to prevent infection.. and to talk to her counselor when she feels like doing it first, and asking about thoughts of suicide).

 

I don't remember seeing anyone doing this when I was a teenager.. but maybe it was just another of those well-kept secrets.. like child abuse that was kept behind closed doors in those days.  sigh.

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Guest Babylonian Dream

 

 

 

I'm still looking for the best way to deal with emotional pain. Though my coping skills now are better than they've ever been. It's hard to have to deal with that. I get the dark humor part, its been and still is a way for me to cope. Though I'd use dark humor in my journals.

 

 

 

Since putting down the belt I've taken a zen approach.  When the emotional pain gets bad I take a deep breath and look around.  When I see a blade of grass I remind myself that the blade of grass does not care about any of these troubles.  I do the same for several more objects I see.  Then I remind myself of just how small I am in the universe.  But it's not just me our whole world and all of our problems are just as small in the universe.  

 

I don't know why but it helps me.  

 

I've been getting into meditation more myself. Though lately, I've also been taking up some unhealthy stuff like impulse buying. I'm trying to curb it. I've grounded myself from spending any money until I make up for the $50 I just wasted yesterday.

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