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October 21, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Mental Health

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How Do I Stop Cutting?

Question:

For as long as I can remember my mom has been threatening to divorce my dad and her main reason for staying with him is me. This is very hurtful to know that I am causing my mother pain. The other day she yelled at me right in my face for half an hour, telling me what a selfish little b**ch I was and that I was ungrateful for everything that I had. I began cutting over Christmas break 2000. On the New Year I rang in it slicing up my arms with a tack. Now I have graduated to razors.

I started cutting over my Christmas break. The first time I cut it was like two days before Christmas. I started using tacks but now I use razors. I want to know what I can do that is actually realistic to help me stop. I don't want to hear the usual stuff about how I should go see a therapist because that is out of the question in my family. I want to know the real reason why I cut. I know this is probably unrealistic, but hey, I tried.

Emily (15 year-old girl) Indiana, U.S.

Answer:

Dear Emily,

The first thing I want to say to you is that in thirty years of working with families I have not once found a couple that really stays together because of their children. Many of them say that, but the real reason people stay in unhealthy or unsatisfying relationships is that they are scared to death to be on their own and have tremendous dependency and abandonment issues. Therefore, your mother is either lying to herself or you. By the way calling their children "b**ches" is verbal and emotional abuse.

Unfortunately, children will love and honor their parents and be as loyal as a dog is to a master who beats them. Instead of getting mad at the parents, which would be natural and healthy in this situation, if you are describing it at all accurately, they turn on themselves and act in self-destructive ways. One of the litmus tests for abusive in a family is whether there is a child who harms themselves. It almost guarantees that some form of abuse has occurred.

Finding the reason you cut is not difficult. However, changing the behavior is difficult once your self-concept has bought the idea that you are a bad person or responsible for someone else's pain. I know that you do not want to hear this, but someone with this kind of serious behavior really needs to be seeking professional help. I understand that your family might not believe in it and being under age you do need their permission, but the facts are that force of will by you probably isn't going to be enough.

The danger is that often families with these types of problems don't seek out help until something serious happens and the law steps in. At times it is too late. I would hate to see anything really bad happening to you. Cutting yourself is serious business. I hope you try and talk with your family. They might surprise you. If that is too scary you might try and talk with a trusted teacher, friend, or religious leader that you are close to. They might be able to help get your family to look at the seriousness of the situation.

If none of that works or seems possible then I hope you hang onto the idea that no one is bad enough do deserve this kind of punishment and you are not the reason your parents are still married or if they get divorced. Often parents who say this wait years after the last child leave before they make a move if they ever do.

Emily I hope this has been a bit helpful to you and wish you the best on changing the self-destructive behavior.

Jef Gazley, M.S. www.asktheinternettherapist.com

This question was answered by Jef Gazley M.S. Jef has practiced psychotherapy for twenty-five years, specializing in Love Addiction, Hypnotherapy, Relationship Management, Dysfunctional Families, Co-Dependency, Professional Coaching, and Trauma Issues. He is a trained counselor in EMDR, NET, TFT, and Applied Kinesiology. He is dedicated to guiding individuals to achieving a life long commitment to mental health and relationship mastery. His private practice locations are Scottsdale and Tempe, Arizona. You can also visit Jef at the internettherapist, the first audiovisual mental health online counseling center on the net.

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