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My sister is Cutting Herself, what should I do?!


purplebot
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My sister, a 30 yr old professional is cutting herself on her wrists. From what I know this just started recently. The first time I noticed, the cuts were not that deep, and then a few days later they were deeper and scabbed over, as if she went over and cut the same area again.

She has been complaining and crying a lot lately about not being in control of her life and that I am too involved in her personal business and causing her a lot of stress as a result.

I want to respect her space, if I am the cause of her stress. However,I am seriously concerned that her cutting is escalating and feel like I should force her to see a psychologist. What should I do?!

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Guest ASchwartz

Purplebot,

There are those times when it's important to respect a person's space. However, there are those times when it becomes necessary to take direct action even if the other person thinks you are over-stepping your boundaries. This is that case. It is my strong opinion that you need to directly talk to your sister about this and about getting serious help from a licensed clinical psychologist. After all, even if she tells you that you are intruding, she is your sister, you love her and she's rightly scaring the daylights out of you.

Allan

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The thing is that nobody is going to be able to force her. You can talk to her and tell her how you feel, and encourage her to seek professional help. But it is going to be up to her to stop and talk to a professional . Typically a self harmer is not trying to kill themselves. They are trying to cope with everything in their lives and feel that they are losing control. It is nice that you care so much about your sister. However if she feels like you are being too intrusive she will either try and pull away or cut even more. If you talk to her about cutting make sure she is the one doing most of that talking. you want her be honest with you and trust you. Self harm is complicated so try not to judge her . Be patient with her and tell her how worried you are. She needs to feel like she can talk to you and have your trust.

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Hi mscat,

How are you doing? I always think of you (and always in a good way:) ),

Allan

Thanks Allen! Things are ok right now. I still stay inside all the time because it is safer and peaceful. And a lot cooler. I am starting to get ready for my sons 18 birthday! I cannot believe he will be that old. It seems like yesterday he was born. He will start a program for the developmentally disabled adults on the 17th so I am preparing for that transistion for him.

I've been keeping up with therapy and have not self harmed in a good whule, although the thoughts can creep up , i cannot becasue my son is home. Plus I know when it starts agian it is hard to stop.

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However, there are those times when it becomes necessary to take direct action even if the other person thinks you are over-stepping your boundaries.

Someone's ability to act for themselves is an unholy and dis-scared thing for mankind that shouldn't be violated. You can't force anyone to do anything, and if you are too controlling, even if out of concern, it *might* be having an effect, but the fact of the matter is she is 30 and can make her own decisions. "Forcing" her to do anything will only reinforce her sense of no control, and will not help her. When she is ready to deal with it she will. You can't force a cutter to stop, trust me on that one. If you do you will make her into a martyr.

It sounds like in this situation, it might be best to back off *for a while* and see if the scars stop showing up. Even if they do keep showing up, wait a little while before suggesting she see a professional. I'm no expert, but it sounds like she needs some space first before she can get the help she needs.

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I am no expert either, however I have done my share of self harming. For me, I would not want a friend or loved one to back off . But, I would not want them to be in my face about it either. Show her you care and let her know if she wants to talk about anything that you are here for her. Sometimes when a self harmer does not talk about what bothers her she is more inclined to self injure. Sometimes i really do not have the words to express myself. And their are all kinds of emotions going on. Self harmers want to hide the marks and can be ashamed of what they did to themselves. It is ok to tell her you know she is not feeling too good and let her know your there for her. Try not to make a big deal over the cutting, keep that to a min. She will more then likely be embarassed or want to shut down about it.

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