Jump to content

Do your family members know about your self harm?


Recommended Posts

   I cut on my hips and thighs, and it's becoming very hard to hide the scars since it's summer and I usually wear shorts, especially to bed. I think my older sister knows, because I've seen her taking glances at my legs when I get up from sitting. I can tell that it may be annoying her, too. My parents: I think my mother knows (she was aware that I was doing it a year ago) but is trying to ignore it; my father, on the other hand, is oblivious. (Thank God.)

 

Does your family know about your self-harm and, if they do, does it bother them?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, my family knows. My parents both passed away not knowing, but all my siblings are aware. I don't hide it at home.

It was awkward at first. My siblings each reacted differently. My older brother and his wife were very low key about it. They asked me if I needed anything from them, and they would ask for an update from time to time, but they didn't give me a hard time. I could actually buy first aid stuff when they were around and they didn't say anything. On the other hand, as I've stopped, they've both commented that my scars are finally beginning to fade, and they're happy I've stopped.

My oldest sister doesn't talk about it and changes the subject if I try.

My middle sister took it very personally. She told me at one point that she wasn't going to start cutting herself just so I'd spend time with her. She also gives me the third degree if I put a bandaid anywhere but my fingers. But she also, at other times, has made crass jokes about it and brushed it off.

My younger brother doesn't talk about it, but, like my older brother, he's helped me out even when I was in a bad state and struggling a lot.

The important thing I want to impress, though, is that they've all adjusted over time. There have been a few times when I've had to tell my middle sister that it's not about her, and that it's not her business, but even she has let it go for the most part.

I'm not sorry I told them. It's allowed me to be more comfortable, physically and emotionally, which is great. You shouldn't be uncomfortable in your own home.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My parents knew when it first started (I was 15), my mom told me I'm stupid, my dad never said anything, just looked sad.

 

When it came back in 2010, my husband found out, he didn't say much, just said he wished I didn't do that. He was supportive as much as he could be.

 

It's been 2 and a half years since I last did it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a somewhat unique family situation. Everyone in my immediate family self harms. That includes my mother, father, sister and brother. And me. We all seem to use cutting to communicate our pain. Mental illness runs in my family, obviously. 

 

I have never seen fresh cuts on my mother, but I've seen them on everyone else. No one has seen fresh cuts on me, just my scars. Actually, I've witnessed my mother banging her head against walls and punching herself in the head, so I guess I have seen her self harm. 

 

I don't hide my scars because I'm too lazy, and well, everyone else shows theirs so why not show mine? 

 

I try to be supportive of my sister, who has recently started self harming, unfortunately. But otherwise, my family is not very supportive. My mother makes jokes about it. I think she's just uncomfortable. It's basically the elephant in the room for my family. Despite that we're all obviously crazy, we don't really talk about it. We accept each other though. No one judges each other. We just don't talk about it. 

 

It's been almost 15 months since I last cut, and I've told my family that I stopped. I told them it's a symptom of depression for me. 

Edited by Parapluie
typos
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only recently have I told my sister, I would never be able to tell my parents I don't think... I tell them quite a bit about my mental stuff, but that's one of the many things I don't think I'll ever share with them. I truly don't think they'd understand, and I think it would hurt them a lot too, whether or not it should, I just know how guilty it would make them feel... and nobody needs that. 

 

I showed/told my sister because she was having a unique issue with her fiance (who was having a hard time), and I was also having a breakdown simultaneously, so I think I was giving her a bit of a view into the world of "being crazy", and explaining what was going through MY head at the time, in case it helped her see into his head a little bit better...

 

Generally speaking, I think she doesn't really know what to do about my mental stuff, except just tolerate/accept it and let me be "me"... she knows that I've generally got a pretty good handle on what's going on inside my own head, and seems to assume that I know better than her anyway about what to do regarding my mental quirks, so she doesn't really do anything or say anything or try to intervene in anyway... she just kinda just lets it be, good or bad.

 

One of my other cousins knows, because she has gone through similar issues as me, and has cut her arms up like crazy, so she can't even hide her scars. No one can see mine, thankfully, or at least if they do, they're subtle enough that it would be sort of weird to draw attention to...... 

 

Few people know about my cutting. My sister, my cousin, one of my best friends (not the other), my psychiatrist and my therapist. That's it. Not sure how I'd handle it if a Significant Other were to ask about it. (Only SI'd once recently, in a crisis, otherwise had been almost 5 years since the last time...)

 

(edited to fix a spelling error...)

Edited by lostinthoughtandjaded
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I told my mom (and I think she told my younger brother...that's all the family I have really) when I went to day treatment for the first time when I was 18. I somewhat stopped hiding it around her, but now I hide it just second nature (on my wrist mostly/a bit on arms).

...I don't know if actually *anyone* I know or meet notices I never ever have a left wrist free of, clichely, bracelets.

She has not asked about it since in the four years that followed. I have no idea what she thinks of it, if it ever crosses her mind. I think she is very much in denial of the past and continuing severity of my MI.

Sometimes I wish that, just once, she'd ask how I'm doing with it. I've stopped for some time except for a recent relapse, but it really would be nice to feel like she even cared a tiny little bit, you know?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My immediate family knows about my history of self-harm.  They found some bills/insurance paperwork from medical visits, and I decided not to lie to them about why I needed medical care.  They were initially devastated but have come to accept it as a part of my depression/MI.

 

My mom even lies and tells me that my scars aren't that noticeable, which I think is sweet.  She tells me that "all scars fade with time," and I really do appreciate that she's trying to make me feel better about it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sometimes, I am lucky to be able to hide my self harm.

 

Othertimes, I have been caught. My parents sometimes know when I do it, if they check me. When I get caught, my dad shakes his head and slams his door shut. My mother screams at me so loudly that she loses her voice. I get so scared that she is going to hit me or something. The first time I got caught self harming, my father tackled me to the floor, ripped the scissors out of my hand, then he dragged me to the bathroom to clean up. This is why I have gotten smarter and I have found better ways to hide it. 

 

The last time I couldn't stop self-harming, my therapist forced me into the psych ward. She wouldn't let me leave day program. She said if I tried to leave, she would call 911 and the cops would get me. All this for self-harming when it wasn't even suicidal self harm.....

 

No wonder I hide things and lie to people. I pretend to be ok so that I don't get punished. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't harmed myself for a couple of years now, but I have some very obvious scars, especially on one of my forearms. It's winter here now, but during summer I don't bother to wear longsleeves; I just let it all show and go on the basis that most people will be too embarrassed to ask.  If they do, then I fob them off with some or other "I fell" story.  

 

As far as my family goes, my sister and her wife know the truth, but they haven't referred to it for a long time.  I never felt misunderstanding from them, only love and concern, especially when I was burning myself regularly.  A huge part of that had to with the fact that my sister used to punch walls and hurt herself in other ways when she was younger, so she knew where I was coming from. My brothers haven't a clue, and my parents have never raised the topic - I think they're too scared to.  I wouldn't know how to begin to discuss it with them in any case.. 

Edited by miab
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been self-harming since I was 6, but my parents only found out in recent months - I mistakenly wore low-denier tights, and some old scars showed through. I suspect, however, that my mother knew for a long time, looking at the suspicious bruises, cuts, and scratches I'd have upon coming home from school, and simply thought it better not to bring it up. It's a relief that i no longer have to conceal anything from my family.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My parents knew about it when I was a teenager and living at home, and did not react well. My mother was livid and my father was mostly amused. He laughed about it and made fun of me for it a lot, usually in front of extended family or his friends. They have no idea that I started doing it again when I was 21.

 

My little sister (nearly a decade younger) knows, because I talked to her about it and told her if she ever felt bad enough to do it, that she could talk to me. I've tried to be open about my MI with her since it clearly runs in our family and she's approaching the age that my own illness started to fully show itself, and if she does (god forbid) start showing signs I want her to feel more knowledgeable and less blindsided than I did.

Edited by hagar running
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My parents don't know as they have enuf on their plate as I have an extremely ill sister, but my husband knew and one or two close friends. It's not something I like to talk about infact I get really embarrassed about it, it's private something just for me I wouldn't want ppl to know they'd flap and worry and I wudnt want that at all

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nope, not at all. At least I don't think so. My mum saw cuts twice and my sister saw scars that I had thought weren't noticeable anymore but I made up excuses each time. I try not to do anything that'll scar and don't self harm much any more so it's easy enough to hide. I'll only ever admit it to friends who have their own mental health crap and to doctors and therapists. And even then only if someone asks me directly.

 

I'm sure they'd be supportive but they'd also be very alarmed, upset and possibly angry. (Not so much because of blaming me but maybe as a reaction to being confused and scared.) On balance it doesn't make sense for me to let them know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No one in my family knew until I was 24 and a suicide attempt left me unconscious in the hospital. While trying to treat me the doctors of course found all the scars and the fresh cuts. They then told my family.  I had been doing it since I was 15 but had done it in places usually covered up. If anyone knew about it before this time they never said anything.

 

For awhile when I was living with my mom she literally did daily body checks of me. I know she was trying to showed she cared but it got annoying after awhile. No one ever says anything about it now unless they see the cuts (they are usually covered up). My sister was the most supportive but my dad & brother have never addressed it directly

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I kept it a secret for years!

It only came out when I ran into some trouble with education and that the self-harming stopped me progressing, LONG STORY, everyone in my family knows now.

My mum is very uncomfortable and tries not to talk about it but when she sees anything fresh she kinda huffs and goes "Sarah please for the love of god dont tell me THOSE ONES are new!". So not very supportive.

 

My brothers know and are sorta supportive, give me an ear if i need it to talk, or a shoulder if i need a good sob.

 

My sister knows, and even though being through similar depression and trouble with eating disorders kind of seems disguisted by it and believe I should not be in training to be a nurse or even think about children until I've lost the crazy.

 

Besides that I am the families dirty secret, I am not allowed in my mums work place with my legs or arms on show. None of my extended family know even though we're really close. My mum just won't let me tell anyone. Which is stupid I'm almost 20 for god sake.

 

Tbh, I am happy my brothers know, they can help but overall it was easier to have it a secret to everyone, rather than to a select few to uphold our family standing.

 

Bleurgh

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

No. I did it for about a year when I was 18 or 19, cutting on my left arm only (the capillaries on my right arm never closed up properly, and so I have a much higher risk of bleeding on that side), and nobody ever noticed my cuts, even when I started wearing sleeveless tops in the summer.

 

Now that I've started to do it again, I always do it when nobody's home or when they're otherwise occupied. Only my boyfriend and my doctors know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My family has no idea. They live about 200km away, so I only see them every now and then. And when I do see them, I make a point of usually wearing jumpers. Luckily we originally come from a warm climate, and now live in the south, so I can get away with saying that I feel cold when the weather is warmish.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My family knows that I self harm. Mom forces me into the hospital for self harm. I don't like that at all. There are many times that I want to self harm but afraid that my mom will take me to the hospital. She doesn't understand that its not a suicide attempt. I mainly self harm when bad things happen in my life and for other reasons as well. Besides cutting I also bang my head against the wall and when psychotic I use a hammer to hit my head with. I recently went to my neurologist and he noticed the scars on my arm and asked if I am a cutter. That was so embarrassing. Long ago I used to cut everyday but now its every few months or when a big stressor comes. I also self injure when I am psychotic. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 months later...

My father never knew. My mother found out when I was a teen and she told me it was stupid and I should stop to which I replied that I would and it was never brought up again. No one else in my family has ever found out. All the friends I've ever had knew because I feel like friends are people who should know the whole truth. If they aren't trusted that much they shouldn't be friends. Thats just me. Some reacted with support and others said they couldn''t handle it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My family has no idea that I cut. I have been very careful to keep it hidden all these years. I don't think I'm ever going to tell them, I know they will react negatively. My first girl friend saw my cuts, she insulted me and called me a coward for cutting. She would often use it against me during our fights. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just my husband. I can hide for awhile but he eventually sees. It's kinda hard to hide your body from your own husband.

I haven't had to hide anything for awhile, and I'm very glad. I still get urges though.

Edited by Teacup
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My family doesn't know.  I would hate it if they knew or found out.  Most of my emotional struggles have been beyond their control or influence, but they would feel guilty.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My brother doesn't know cos he's on the other side of the world and I know he'd panic.  I hide it from my boyfriend as much as I can but it's pretty difficult when you live together.  He doesn't understand why I do it, and why would he because I can't even explain why.  He supports me as much as he can though, and every little helps.  I'm 46 and still doing it, in fact I didn't start cutting until I was in my 30s, though I used to rip the skin off from around my nails from when I was about 5 due to my shitty home situation.  I wish I could stop, but the meds just aren't cutting the mustard any more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I started at age 12 now I'm 51 and still doing it. My family chooses to show a blind eye and not discuss it because I should be strong and able to just snap out of it....NOT!!! Friends know and try to supportive but even they are at wits end as to why I keep doing it. My arms, legs, belly and breasts are all cut up or scarred. I'm out of control and fear I will go too far sometime and no one will find me till I'm dead. Maybe it's better that way I just don't know any more.

 

 

 

DX: bipolar II; BPD w/self harm; Major depression; PTSD; Psychosis now and some I can't or don't remember

 

Meds: Geodon 320 mg; wellbrutrin 400 mg; Xanax 1mg ( I take 6); Risperidal 40mg ( don't wok); Klonipin 2.5mg ( a waste of time); morphine 90mg(chronic pain)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From family only my sister knows, she noticed once some years ago when my sleeve got too up. Now I can wear short sleeves while only she's around.

I live on my own now, but neither of my parents know, actually only my sis knows, I haven't had the guts to tell even my pdoc or therapist.

 

She reacted like alot of people do, thinking it as attention seeking, and that cutting must stop immediately.

To give her peace of mind I told her that I would stop doing it, but have relapsed several times afterwards.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From family only my sister knows, she noticed once some years ago when my sleeve got too up. Now I can wear short sleeves while only she's around.

I live on my own now, but neither of my parents know, actually only my sis knows, I haven't had the guts to tell even my pdoc or therapist.

 

She reacted like alot of people do, thinking it as attention seeking, and that cutting must stop immediately.

To give her peace of mind I told her that I would stop doing it, but have relapsed several times afterwards.

It always annoys me so much when people say it's "attention seeking," even after you've taken every step possible to conceal it from everyone around you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

My family doesn't know.  I would hate it if they knew or found out.  Most of my emotional struggles have been beyond their control or influence, but they would feel guilty.

That is exactly how I felt. My mom found out anyway though, because I was being so recklessly self-destructive and stupid.

I SI'ed, overdosed, and washed it all down with a lot of vodka. Was found bleeding through my sleeve onto the carpet. 

Clever fucking me.

She can range from supportive to angry (calling me sick and threatening to throw me out) to condescending. 

Thankfully, right now, she's mostly supportive. 

 

 

 

I'm out of control and fear I will go too far sometime and no one will find me till I'm dead. Maybe it's better that way I just don't know any more.

amicyco, I can relate to that so much. It's painful. 

But I guess suffering and ending up dead because of it is never the better way. No one on here would agree that you'd be better off dead because of this horrid, hellish thing. Nor would those who love you. 

Times like these, it's so easy to slip into thinking like this. Being so trapped. The want to give in, give up.

Hope you get through this, hope you take care. 

...Sorry if I'm sounding silly, arrogant, condescending? I don't mean to, really really don't mean to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have extensive, odd looking scars from excoriation and another method on my arms and hands, so I suppose they probably suspect. I don't volunteer and they don't ask.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

My mom saw the scars on my legs once when I wore shorts, and she freaked out and called my dad and both of them started giving me the third degree. I'm still not entirely sure how I got out of it that day. But I just kept laughing it off, blaming it on sharp edges of beds and tables, etc. The stupid thing I did was cut exactl neat lines above the knees on both legs.. so it was quite obvious that it was deliberate. They let it go for that moment, but my mum does keep glancing whenever I wear short clothes to see if there are anymore. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Im thinking how to tell my pdoc and tdoc, I have seen them almost 2 years now, and every time I see 'em I think now its time, but I freeze and flee from this thought.

 

My problem is that what I feel inside, doesn't show up outside.

Like couple of pdocs have said to me "You sit there like a statue, showing no emotions at all, yet telling what kind of personal hell you have been going through" I hate this, I want them to know.

 

Im afraid its too much for them, and they will send me to another workgroup, or hospitalise me, and would I have to wait months to get to new doc, and would I get treated and, and, and......

 

I've had this feeling, my doc will do this asap he gets a reason, because he specialises in young people/young adults and I'm 19 now. We have talked about this, and if my meds/other stuff would be ok, then I could stay, but this stuff, I think it would be the breaking point.

(My doc for example refuses to try some meds, only because he specialises in young people, though these boundaries have been stretched in my case a lot)

 

What comes to other people I would be ready to tell/show my scars, except my parents. And Im going to do this in near future.

 

Not so much about family, but didn't want to make all new thread when going this close by.

 

Ps, What means giving someone "third degree", english isn't my first language :P

Edited by Stronghold
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Third degree=interrogation like?

 

My family knew/knows. My husband was the only supportive person. My kids both have done it in the past as a reaction to anxiety. I've spoken very bluntly to them about my struggles and it has helped them I think. They can come to me with anything and all I want to do is help, but I never know if they understand. I hope so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

My sister knows,i didnt really tell her she just saw it and caught on. We both had are own way of dealing with stuff she struggled with anorexia/bulimia for a while. My mom and dad dont know and neather dose my other sister or brother.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, mine know and they didn't really seem phased by it. My mom didn't even ask me to show her until maybe a week later after I told her I replased into it. It's only been one month since I've last self harmed and my stepdad thinks it's been a year though he knows I scratched when I had an urge to do it the other day and broke the skin on my arm.

Other than that...they don't seem bothered by it, I think they don't know how to react though. What to say or what to do -- so they kind of drop it all together. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

I'm visiting my father next week.  He doesn't know.  I'm currently weighing the options of either letting him know or coming up with some lame excuse for why I'm always wearing long-sleeved shirts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...