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What help can we give a teenage cutter?


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I would like to hear from people who cut etc. about what they feel is the right way for someone to support them.

My 19 year old niece has been cutting for over 3 years now. When her parents were still classed as her legal guardians i.e. when she was under 16 they tried to get her help. They had her admitted to a children's hospital, had her assessed by a psychiatrist brought her to a counsellor. She was very resistant to these interventions - she said she could sort out her own problems. The psyc. said that there was no illness , such as depression or disorder.

It was a huge effort to get her to complete her schooling - she did drop out at one stage. She is highly intelligent. She dropped out of college after one year. She has no income though she would be entitled to benefits, but won't apply for them.

Her cutting is not so bad as to be a danger to herself. She has huge anger issues, can be violent and very verbally abusive. I have just come off the phone with my sister who has locked herself in her bedroom because her daughter has threatened her.

Now at 19 she is an adult, so how do you support someone who does not want any sort of intervention?


Edited by goose
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Her sister can call the police , because that is a direct threat to her safety, to do bodily harm against anther individual. In the U.S it is Battery. She would be arressted for that.

Suggest to your sister that she needs to lay ruled down for her daughter , in order to live in their home. Now that she is an adult, she needs to behave like one. Your sister should not tolerate her behavior for on minute . Also, I do believe the daughter needs to agree to mental health counsling. Self injury is a form of coping mechinsim. Not a healthy way to cope , however a way to cope that many people to towards . To me it looks like , your sisters daughter has chosen to turn her anger towards herself, at least some of it. In my opinion , a professional needs to help her sort all this out with her.

She has also learned that she can bully her mother. When your mother runs into the bathroom and hides , this tells her that she is very scared of her, and this gives the daughter power over her mother. Making the daughter feel totally in control and thinking that she can get away with treating her mother anyway she wants , ruling the house and continuing to terrorize your sister . This is why I suggested having your sister call the police. Is there a father figure ? Or uncle? How about any male in the family? If so this will help because he can be a stronger influence on a out of control teen. Your sister does not need to tolerate her daughters behavior one bit, and needs support . Counseling for the young woman , and a uncle . or father figure to intervene when she is acting out , or before she starts , will shape her up quickly.

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Thanks for that mscat.

My sister seems to be in denial. This is the second time this week that her daughter has become abusive. I would be of the opinion that she should ask her to leave. I asked my sister if she would put up with this behaviour from her husband, and she said no.

Her husband is partly disabled, but when he is in the house the abuse is not as bad. Their daughter tries to play one off another - they need to show a united front.

This girl is my god-daughter, and I do feel for her. She kind of reminds me of my 16 year old son, but he does have a diagnosed behaviour problem and has learnt to express his frustration in words - he now talks about his problems, instead of acting out. His anger can be explosive (now quite rare) but is not directed at people (mainly walls etc).

Maybe they should give her an ultimatum to either go for some sort or counselling or leave the house. I also want my sister to go for counselling for her own self-esteem, but she too is reluctant.

Thank you for your advice.


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