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SI From Very Young? *MAYBE TRIGGERING*


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Hello,

I have been knowingly inflicting pain and injury on myself since I was a teen, (in my mid-20's now,) but things I am told that I did when very young, make me wonder if SI was just kind of always a part of me, if that's possible... ? I started to test things, and had to learn everything the hard way. For instance, when I was 3, Mom told me to stay away from the stove because it was hot. I looked at her defiantly, and reached up and stuck my whole hand right on the hot burner. My hand was burned and blistered badly from that. Then a little while later, I did a similar thing by putting my hand straight onto a hot iron. Got burned badly again. I apparently did things like this, those were just a couple examples. And always growing up, when I would get hurt, I would go to Mom and cry, and refuse to tell her what happened even after repeated asking. Then I would say something like, "Watch, this is what happened...." and then I would make her watch me while I actually fully reinacted the injury, which once again would hurt me, and I would start crying again.

Has anyone ever heard of a child doing anything like the things I did? And would you consider these things to be self-injury? Is a child as young as 3 even capable of SI?

Just trying to figure some things out about myself. TIA.

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I think this needs discussing with a pdoc or a tdoc, really.

I don't see it as SI as I traditionally see it most often manifest. I see it more as you trying to test your mother and have her care and attention, note, I haven't said 'attention seeking'. But children do dangerous things out of defiance and out of a desire to test and prove that their parents will care for them. If you had badly burned yourself and then showed her, without her intervening once she realized what you were about to repeat, I'd also say that is indicative of some level of abuse on her part.

But at the end of the day, my opinion is not going to be helpful in the way that a professionals is.

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Guess I never really looked at this from the angle you presented before. And it does seem strange that my mother would not stop me when she knew that I was about to repeat an injury. She did, shall we say, tend to "overpunish" sometimes, but never thought of this as abuse. I am seeing my pdoc Friday, I will consider maybe bringing it up. Kind of nervous to, though. But I will think about it.

Thanks for responding, interesting to see an outsider's view on this.

I have been thinking about this for quite some time.

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i dont know, i'm just saying.... maybe you did it just out of curiosity... children are like that sometimes...

when i was about that age, i would stick my fingers into the electric plugs until someone had to pull me back

i remember touching the hot iron repeatedly too

i loved to play with scissors, but i only cut my hair

like i said, i dont know....i think it's a good idea to comment about it with your doc.

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Funnly enough I was thinking the same thing a while back. I remember when I was about 5/6 I would get into these TOTAL tantrums if I was upset and would snap plastic coat-hangers and scratch my arm with it or bite my little finger right on the cuticle really hard in a temper.

I moved to a different city when I was 7 and at school would either refuse to eat or make myself sick afterwards on purpose so that they would send me home.

I think kids - even very little kids - can develop self-harming behaviour as a means to an end but don't fully understand what it is that they are doing.

Did you speak to your doc about it yet?

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The thing is, a lot of what is being described here, is about childhood attention seeking behaviour. It requires an adult to watch it, that is the point. As a general rule, self harm is not usually about someone else seeing it and validating the pain, though it can be. Most self harmers are horrified and scared of people noticing and prying about their habit, and can be very private.

I think we need to distinguish between hurting yourself in the middle of a tantrum when you're five, and cutting yourself in your late twenties alone in your apartment. One is much more likely to be based around shock tactics and co-ercion of your parents to capitulate to what you want, the other is more about coping with pain and stress.

From the little I know of child psychology, childhood identity and concepts of self are developing and so self harm might not be as aware a process as it is for us now. I also know that self harm rates in children as young as eight have soared it the UK, so I'm not denying that it happens. I'm just interested as why a lot of examples here were specifically for adults to see when the adults here who self harm go to great lengths to hide it.

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Thats an interesting point Karuna.....although my "tantrums" when I ws 5 were not in the presence of adults...they were a way of ME calming down and getting frustration out specifically by myself.

It is intersting tho---the question of the different functions of SH when child or adult. Statistically,most long-term SH starts from a young age. I'm a psychologist and have worked with kids who have attempted suicide as young as 8.

Guess there's no answer really....more research needed.

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