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

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My parents were really angry at me, i was 14. Now im 24 and they understand more about it so theyre alot more supportive when it happens.

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My parents were really angry and upset (although to be fair, I think I was more angry at them than they were at me). I was 13 at the time.

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my mum got really angry at me and demanded i stop right away, which only made things worse. i was 13, and i am still struggling with SI 6 years later. i think my mum understands now that it isn't so easy to stop.

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Before I begin, I should mention that bipolar runs prominently in our family, so my parents weren't totally blown out of the water by The Big Reveal.

That said: I was fourteen, I think? Fifteen at most. At that time, I had been successfully hiding my scars from them for at least two years. When they told me they knew, I felt violated and exposed; they suspected I was in a great deal of emotional pain but I wouldn't open up to them, so they read my journal and discovered the self-injury. In retrospect, though, I think they handled it about as well as a person can: We sat down as a family and they told me what they'd done and why, and then they asked what kind of feelings I was having, why was I cutting? Could I stop? I couldn't verbalize an answer very well, so my mother--with my consent; we talked about it at length--arranged for me to start seeing a therapist. They were very supportive and I'm lucky to have such compassionate parents.

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uh, i was 9. and the school saw some of my marks. they called my mom, set up an emergency conference, and i had to go see a psychiatrist. she was confused. she was kinda mad. sad. 

later on, she would just get mad or upset. then apologize, because she only does it because she cares. i hid it from her very well. but when she did find out, i always felt like shit. sometimes when we'd argue, she'd say mean things like, "Just go cut yourself, then." And just to prove a point, I would. And then she'd feel terrible, and I'd let her feel that way because I felt like it was her fault.

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i'm not a cutter.  I'm a skin-picker.  Been struggling with it for 25 years.  I'm covered in scars that probably won't ever go away.

 

My mom and dad knew about it when it started at age 13 because my mom is the one who started it.  She would come at me with a needle to pick at them telling me that boys would never find me attractive if I had those on my body.  This lasted until I move away for college at 17.

 

So, yeah, I still have some issues.  :)

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Like A208B, all manner of mental illness runs very prominently in my family, so my mom wasn't too shocked when she found out my mental illness or my self harm.

 

However, she also wasn't very supportive. She basically just said "Oh... okay..." and we never talked about it again. On the other hand, my sister, very dramatically, showed my mom her cuts and my mom flipped out on her and told her to stop. 

 

So, mixed reactions from my mom.

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i'm not a cutter.  I'm a skin-picker.  Been struggling with it for 25 years.  I'm covered in scars that probably won't ever go away.

 

My mom and dad knew about it when it started at age 13 because my mom is the one who started it.  She would come at me with a needle to pick at them telling me that boys would never find me attractive if I had those on my body.  This lasted until I move away for college at 17.

 

So, yeah, I still have some issues.  :)

 

Hoooold the fuck up, skin picking counts as self harm? Because I asked a tdoc about this and was told it was just a habit, and that's how I've always thought of it too. I've been picking the skin on my lips for as long as I can remember and I used to pick the skin around my finger nails. And I mean I do this until it bleeds and hurts. When I did it as a kid I didn't even register the feeling as pain, it just felt nice. I've never really thought of it as self harm though, it's not like I consciously thought I'd do it to make myself feel better, it just feels nice when the skin peels off and when sensitive layer of skin underneath comes to the front and I can taste the blood.

 

I think it depends on the motivation behind the action. 

 

But, I do think picking at yourself until you bleed is a form of self-harm. I pick at my lips too, but I don't consider it self harm the same way I consider my cutting self harm. Just cause my cutting is done to punish/sooth myself, whereas picking at my lips is just a bad habit I have. At least that's how I view my lip picking. 

 

But hey, I guess we could say: Self harm is self harm, no matter your motivation. 

 

Bluechick is definitely struggling with skin picking as a form of self harm. It's officially called dermatillomania. 

 

Hopefully someone wiser than I will chime in. 

Edited by Parapluie

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My dad made fun of me. I was 16. :(

Mine did too, though he made fun of me all the time over basically everything I did. I was 14 when he found out. My mom just got really angry with me. She made it seem like the only reason I was doing it was to make her feel like a bad mom.

 

Of course, neither of them have any idea that I continued doing it off and on right up to age 22. And the wounds I gave myself at 14 have nothing on those from 21-22. So on the rare occasions I see them these days, I make sure to never wear shorts or T-shirts. My dad's reaction now would probably be the same as it was then. But my mom would probably just have a massive fit.

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i'm not a cutter.  I'm a skin-picker.  Been struggling with it for 25 years.  I'm covered in scars that probably won't ever go away.

 

My mom and dad knew about it when it started at age 13 because my mom is the one who started it.  She would come at me with a needle to pick at them telling me that boys would never find me attractive if I had those on my body.  This lasted until I move away for college at 17.

 

So, yeah, I still have some issues.  :)

 

Hoooold the fuck up, skin picking counts as self harm? Because I asked a tdoc about this and was told it was just a habit, and that's how I've always thought of it too. I've been picking the skin on my lips for as long as I can remember and I used to pick the skin around my finger nails. And I mean I do this until it bleeds and hurts. When I did it as a kid I didn't even register the feeling as pain, it just felt nice. I've never really thought of it as self harm though, it's not like I consciously thought I'd do it to make myself feel better, it just feels nice when the skin peels off and when sensitive layer of skin underneath comes to the front and I can taste the blood.

there is a big ass difference between you are describing and what I am suffering from. What I have done is to pick at zits both real and imagined. When they pop I just keep going, trying to force every last molecule of puss out of it. This leads to tremendous bleeding and then the formation of horrible scars.

I used to pick in the car, while at work, in the shower, on the toilet, in social gatherings, while sitting in class, while showering my kids, while brushing my teeth, while on the phone, while watching t.v., while watching the kids, in the movies, on the dark while in bed falling sleep. I once even picked during sex. You name it, I was picking during it. I would get a rush from it. , I would talk to the puss that came out of me, even congratulating myself on a job well done. I would thank the zit for popping. There were even a couple from my teenaged years that were so magnificant that I have named them. I can remember every detail about them. Touch, texture , size, consistency. How they felt when they popped. The sounds they made when they popped. The adrenaline rush. And even the distance they fired.

This most definitely qualifies as a SH disorder

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I think that its really important to not generalize in this way, bluechick.

 

Skin picking is not a form of self harm for everyone.

 

To say that it is is misleading.

 

I can honor that for you it is a way that you self harm, but that's more about your *method* of self harm being skin picking... which is different that dermatillomania.

 

This is partially why we don't diagnose on CB. We're not qualified, for one, and for two, there are many contextual factors that make symptoms mean different things.

Edited by Wooster

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I was 13. My parents made me an appt. with a psychologist. They weren't overly emotional about it either way, they just handled it by getting me some help, which was really the best reaction I could have asked for, looking back on it. I rarely cut now, 14 years later.

 

I am also a skin-picker. But I think mine would fall under "habit." I can certainly understand how it could be self harm, though.

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I think that its really important to not generalize in this way, bluechick.

I was generalizing?  Where?  I focused solely on myself and how I define self-harm.  It is clearly a deep-rooted obsessions that causes scabs and permanent scarring.  In fact, I'm pretty darned certain that I got myself a blood borne illness as a result of this disorder.

 

Point being that I don't think I was saying anything about whether skin-picking in general is a form of SH.  But mine most definitely is.  I get the same dopamine rush.  The same intense urges to harm.  The same need to harm when under stress. 

 

But that's how I define MY SH and nobody else's.  As you said, we do not diagnose here. And I would definitely never venture a guess as to the diagnosis of others who are skin-pickers.

 

Oh, and I have been diagnosed by a psych doctor as having a self harm disorder.

Edited by bluechick

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Ok... generalize isn't the word I was looking for... I was mis-remembering from some other threads you have posted on recently.

 

My apologies for misspeaking.

 

What I'm trying to say is that for you skin picking rises to a level that could be reasonably equated with self harm (but I'm deferring to your providers on having made this determination with you), though I'm not sure how that's possible yet because "self harm disorder" isn't being introduced until DSM-V, which isn't out yet.

 

HOWEVER, for many and most people it is not.

 

ETA: If you want more conversation with me (which I would welcome), we should take it to PM so as not to derail the thread any more from the OP's question about how parents found out/responded.

Edited by Wooster

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My parents found about my self injury when I was 18. I was got pulled over by a cop for speeding and he noticed the cuts on my arm. He asked me about them and I made up some lame excuse. He then followed me back to my parents' house and told them. They were pretty confused and upset and immediately made an appointment for me to see a psychologist. Looking back I think they handled it pretty well and this event was what initially got me into treatment although it was several months later that I was correctly diagnosed and put on an antipsychotic.

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