Have you ever observed cuts on your child that look like they were purposely done? Have you tried to talk with them about this? If you have run into what feels like a verbal and/or an emotional roadblock, that response is normal. The cutting is not. Your child may be going through something they are not able to express outwardly. Self-harm is a symptom if trauma. Their trauma could be something you don’t even know they have experienced, so you may be confused or unsure as to why they are harming themselves.
You may be asking why anyone would cut or harm themselves on purpose. When individuals turn to self-harm, it is usually their way of controlling their feelings. They may be feeling out of control in another part of their lives and the pain of self-harm is all they can control. It may be away for an individual to focus their pain into one location for the time being. This is hard for many to understand. The person hurting themselves may not even understand it. Self-harm can happen in many ways and on many levels. Cutting, for example, can be very superficial, or can go to the level of stitches or needing life saving measures.
There is a way to ease the pain. While it may be hard, it is necessary to find the “why” behind the behaviors. Even though it could and more than likely will be an uphill battle, it is one that will turn out to be well worth the fight. Therapy will help your child find tools to fill their toolbox, or add to their list of coping skills so they are able help themselves when times are tough and those negative feelings are all around. They will also be able to identify ways other individuals can help them in times of crisis or before a crisis happens. There are many alternatives to self-harm. One of the first steps is finding self- worth and reasons to keep living. Safety planning is imperative for individuals who have lost hope. Maybe you or your child are too embarrassed by the physical aspect of the self-harming and don’t want to seek help. Know there is no judgement in therapy, there is a place to heal and a place for help. Self-harm could be a small step to a much larger problem and it is very important to seek help as soon as possible. We are here to help. Call or make an appointment online today.
Kristi Quattrochi, MSW, PLMHP, PCMSW
1001 South 70th St. Suite 225
Lincoln, NE 68510 Phone: 402-325-0117 Ext. 14