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How did your parents react when they found about your self-harm?

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had all my supplies in a tin box that... i'll just say i didnt keep it very clean. one day i came home from school and everything in the box was gone and it was cleaned out. it was just me and my mom living together so it had to have been her unless some ghost or something did it. a few weeks later my mom bought me razors because she wanted me to shave my legs for prom. guess that took priority for her

 

at a doctors visit she grabbed my arm and said "what did you do to your arms," even though at that point id been doing it for years and it was just scar tissue on my arms

 

i was wearing shorts and learning to drive with my dad, he pulled my shorts so he could see the scars on my thigh and then looked at the ones on my arm, asked what it was about. i just said i didnt want to talk about it. never actually had a conversation about it with a family member, hopefully i never will given the way they shut down those topics

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Honestly, I can barely remember their first reaction. It was years ago (when I was 13.) They were upset, that I know, but what stands out my memory is more what happened when my mum walked in on me once. I'd been doing it for hours, and I was about to describe the scene here before realising it's rather too graphic and unnecessary. Anyway, she screamed that I was insane. Honestly I can't very much blame her, and overall her reactions have been reasonable and understandable, in comparison to some others' that I've heard of. At times she became angry at me and told me I was ruining her life -- most of the time though, she wanted me to stop but unlike many knew that trying to get me help was of more use than telling me how horrible I was.

 

Oh, they did take and hide and lock away all sharp items at first, but most here can imagine just how effective that was

Edited by amianthus

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When I was an early teenager, my parents saw that I had cuts and they didn't care. They confronted me at first, but then they left me to it because they were too caught up in their own struggle. Both attempted suicide at one point or another. Nowadays, I feel that I would have been better off emotionally if they cared about me at least a little back then...

Now, I'm closer to them and speak to them a lot, but I don't speak about my MI or anything related to it because I know they would not get it. I told them, but all I'm told is to get over it. It's insulting, so I pretend it's all good.

Edited by Eyre

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When my parents found out about my self harm, my stepmother and I were in a store. I went to point to something on a shelf with my arm covered in cuts. She grabbed my arm and kept repeating, "what is this?" "What IS this?" I looked down because I didn't want to start crying and I knew that if I kept looking at her face I would. She sighed and bought me a big bandaid to cover the majority of them. When we got home, the first thing she did was tell my father (in the nastiest voice possible may I say). He got mad and started yelling while I cried and he told me to "get out of his face." To this day they still bring it up in a joking manner. I hate it.  

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I'd just turned 12. My mum noticed I was writing in a diary a lot and wanted to know what I was writing and so she read it when I was at school. I came home to find my dad waiting for me and he took me for a drive, pulled up in a carpark in the middle of the woods (scared the shit out of me) and threw the diary on my lap and said "let me see your arms". They started by grounding me, and said they'd put me in therapy if it happened again. Needless to say, it happened again. My mum walked in when I was getting changed and saw the cuts, and called my school who referred me to CAMHS. They were massively unsupportive at first, but have gotten a lot more accepting and helpful over the last two years. (I'm 16 now)

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my friend noticed my cuts told the school counselor, the school counselor told my dad, my dad sat me down, said he loved me and told me (in a nice way) to stop. we've never talked about it since. that was about 5 years ago (give or take).

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When I was 20 I came over to my parents house with my then-boyfriend, drunk. My mom helped me change out of my clothes into something else to get more comfortable, and saw the many many scars on my upper thighs/hips. She exclaimed, "What the fuck is this?!" and I was pretty defensive. However, I'd had scars on my arms for some time, and my dad had questioned me about them. I just brushed him off by saying it was nothing and running away.

Today, I choose full body swimsuits that have skirts to cover it up.

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I didn't start cutting seriously until I was 22, and my mother noticed right away. I tried to blame it on my dog, but she saw right through it. She was PISSED. I tried to hide it, but when you are cutting nearly every day for about 2 years, it can be kind of hard to hide, especially when you have to have some of them stitched. Nowadays I cut once every 6 months or so, but I can't do it again because if my parents have said that they will kick me out if I do. The last time I cut was at the end of May of this year.

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My mom confronted me last night, said she and my dad had known for a few months but were waiting for a good time I guess? I don't really understand. She just said that she thought she'd done the right thing, always, which I really don't agree with, and then she asked if there was anything she could do. I said no - I told her I had stopped a few months ago (I haven't cut my wrists for a while so it was pretty believable). Then she started joking about it, and so did my dad today, which really pissed me off. At least they didn't tell me brother, he would be weird about it. I guess we're just gonna ignore it from now on, since I've 'stopped'. They've had me seeing a counselor for some time now for other reasons, so that's going to continue, but I don't really care. I'm still cutting, just my belly and my thighs now. Unfortunately arms are off limits now, so I guess I won't cut there, at least until I move out. Now I just have to live with two years of them casually referencing it and making jokes. Yay. So now life goes on, I think I'll try to be much more careful about hiding my fresh ones because they still think I'm mentally unstable. 

Looking at a lot of the earlier posts I realize they could have reacted a lot worse, but for me the worst part was my mom saying she didn't regret anything, when she was a lot of the reason that I started. She still thinks she's a perfect mom, and I don't really want to burst her bubble, but way off there. 

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My dad walked in on me doing it and just roughly told me I should "finish it off". 

When my mom found out (I reached up to get something and my burns showed when my unbuttoned sleeve fell back).  She kind of thoughtfully noted that she used to do that too. No judgement or anger or urging me to stop even... just a nostalgic note on her past like it was the good ol' days.

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My mother was far, far more upset when she noticed my first tattoo than she was the only time she noticed I'd been cutting.

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I actually have no memory of this moment, but it must have happened. I wonder if that's good or bad. 

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I opened up to my mom about it last year and she said she knew. Just thought it was a phase or something like that. Yup........

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When they first found out that I was cutting myself, they immediately took me to see a psychiatrist to get evaluated. Turned out I was heavily depressed and got prescribed medication. I decided to go against it because I enjoyed the feeling of having a gash come up from out of me. That was my problem, I enjoyed it. It took me a good getting kicked out of the house and learning that if I died that would be it for me to know that I was messing up badly. Damaging my temple. It literally took me a while to have that sink in me, but it did and I'm glad I went through it all.

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The moment they found out was about 2 years after I had started to use razors. I had taken to wearing those emo-style arm socks to hide my cuts and scars. They worked well during the school year, since the building was always so cold, but they were pretty out of place in the middle of summer. I had earlier in the week really gone at myself, not in quality but in quantity. So the damage was visually pretty shocking, but was quick to heal. 
My mother yelled at me to take off the cut-off sleeves/socks I had made myself one day, then chased me around the house trying to physically remove them. It never progressed to all-out running, just awkwardly moving from room to room as she grabbed at my clothes and tried to slide the sleeves up or down. She thought I was hiding offensive tattoos. In the end, she was kneeling on my back with my arms twisted behind me so she could pull them off.
She cried.
I lied and tried to make it go away.
My dad didn't look at me for a week, then suddenly insisted I accompany him every time he had to go to the store. He tried to make it better with CDs and clothes and junk food. Looking back, I know he was totally lost, but at the time I felt very insulted that he was trying to buy my sanity.
Growing up, he always favored my sister and was very cruel to me, so I didn't trust that he wouldn't hold this over my head. After this, he started being cruel to her and treating me with kid gloves. So I feel a little responsible for how she grew up. Had I dealt with my shit better, maybe she wouldn't be the walking stereotype 'lost girl' she is now..

My mom blamed everything she could for my problems, and refused to believe that it could have been an organic problem. She threatened to send me to therapy like you would threaten a misbehaving kid, tried to keep me away from the few friends I had, and just generally did everything "very wrong" (her words). She actually fought the school and my GP against getting me treatment (despite threatening me with therapy), because she felt attacked as a parent. In her defense, her own mother spent most of my childhood telling her she was a bad mom and that she could do a better job raising my sister and I herself, so this wasn't wholly unexpected. It was all handled really poorly, but I'm not sure I would have reacted well to any confrontation. 

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The first really incriminating time (14), my dad grabbed my arm, which had a p nasty burn scar on it, and demanded "What is this?" I didn't really give him an answer, but that was mostly that. He forgot about the incident and interrogated me about it again later. At one point he got weird about some paint that I'd had on my hand bc that's where my first SI scars were. 

My very first time SIing, though, (12-13ish?) i actually showed him the fucking cuts- they weren't that bad and not obvious SI stuff on my hand, just 3- and was like "this tiny one hurt more than this one!" and when he asked me where they came from i made a noncomittal "iunno" shruggy noise, and his response was "So long as they're not on your wrist"

 

So. Basically, he noticed. He knew. He told my therapist. He did jack shit else. 

Edited by psychobabbling

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When I was 13/14 I was playing with my dog and socializing with my family, which was rare, and my sleeve slid upwards. The sliding sleeve seems to catch a lot of us... My mom asked what was on my arm and I was super defensive. She isn't get a closer look but at that time I think she was suspected something was wrong. I don't remember when my parents actually found out "formally". I asked to see a therapist and I told the therapist I was self harming. I think she probably told my parents, because they weren't surprised at all when they saw them in the hospital a week later. My parents tend to look at the scars on my wrist with this weird ass look on their face that I can't decipher.

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It was the shit ton of blood that made them realize. They over reacted because I was depressed as well. 

They took me to a white-coated man, he gave me prozac and then after a week, I started talkin to god and sayin shit like how much I'm an omnipotent omniscient being who happens to be immortal. When I was challenged by my grandmother, I shoved a knive to my leg to prove her wrong. Next thing I know, she calls the popo, I made a run for it (yes with a knife in my leg, I didn't even feel it) ,popo finds me, I punch the copper in the face 

I got tazed then I was taken into hospital and got treatment. Then they said they are takin me to a special place (I thought it was just built in my honour)

Next thing I know 2 weeks skipped like that without even noticing them or have any recollection of them. And I felt like crap...oh and don't get me started on the drool.  

Fluaxatine is murderous for me ..literally.

Edited by StJimmy9151

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My mom knew but I can't for the life of me remember how she reacted. I wouldn't even call it a confrontation, it was that quiet. I don't even remember if I confessed to her or if she saw. That was when I was 14. We were vicious to each other back then and there was some sort of weird schadenfreude thing going on. Besides, I had already been shuffled into therapy because of a particularly nasty divorce so I think she just thought it would get handled. Or she didn't have the energy from working all the time. I was the definition of a latchkey kid.

One time when an ex-boyfriend saw scars on my arm for the first time he said something stupid like "hm, you like to slice and dice? lol!" Then it never got brought up again. In my experience, people didn't know how to handle it, so they just ignored it.

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My parents didn't find out until i was 27. They took it well. Little upset that i was doing the cutting but over all took it very well. 

My mom asked me while I was I the hospital this past week if I was cutting again. I was more upset with it then she was. I felt like I failed them and myself for relapsing than her being upset for me cutting.

I had different stages I went through that got me to the cutting. It started with the pulling out of the hair between 6-8, random bald spots, pony tails i learned young covered those and "oh got my hair caught in the swing set." got me past the questing. Once i really got into hockey all things kind of stopped. still did the scratching with the paper clips and staples but nothing too bad. Cutting came back into play again when i was 24ish. Playing hockey 4-5 times a week then also stopped as well too. My parents didn't find out until I was hospitalized when I was 27 for basically losing my shit with my depression and anxiety and wanted to kill myself and had really bad cuts all over my upper arms. My dad didn't know what to say and my mom  was really supportive. 

Edited by mentalhazord

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I was 15 when I started actually cutting (I'd been self-harming long before then, but never cutting), and my parents were actually pretty supportive when they found out. Worried, sure, but they weren't angry with me, by any means.

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I've recently started cutting, and my parents don't even know about it. I'm thirteen, and I've started a few months ago and my legs are already full of scars. I remember that when I told my mom I was depressed, she yelled and screamed at me about how stupid I was. She made fun of me for it and totally forgot I even told her, everything is back to normal where my life sucks. If my mom reacted to me saying I was depressed in that way, then I'm scared what she will say when she finds out that I cut. 

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KK, it super sucks your mom didn't have a helpful response.

Who are some other adults in your life (school counselor, teacher, school nurse, your doctor, aunt/uncle, etc) who would be supportive of you and recognize that depression and self harm need professional treatment instead of yelling?

Here's a list of resources one of the moderators rounded up that might be more appropriate for your age, especially around dealing with unsupportive parents:

http://www.crazyboards.org/forums/index.php?/topic/72182-please-read-if-you-are-under-16-years-of-age/

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I had been seeing a counselor at college for a couple of months and he encouraged me to tell my parents when I felt ready. It was really upsetting and weighing on my mind that they didn't know.

So we sat down and had a difficult and frank conversation in which I explained what was going on, and that I was getting help for it. They were really concerned, but not as freaked out or controlling as I had feared they would be. We all had a meeting with the counselor together, and I think that really helped.

This was just the beginning of a multi-year battle with bipolar disorder, with multiple hospitalizations. My parents were very supportive, to the extent that their emotional skills allowed. So cutting was  really just the tip of the iceberg.

I think the fact that I chose to tell them when I was ready made a huge difference. They didn't just see the cuts or happen upon it.

 

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