We are living within a pressure driven society! There is a myriad of social pressures that are imposed on one to make them feel the need to fit in. This can at times cause undue stress and result in unfavorable behavior. These behaviors are not readily discussed but are becoming more prevalent! Fitting in is not easy and makes it harder to transition through the stages of youth and early adulthood development. For some it is much more difficult than others. As a matter of fact we have a growing number of individuals that are self mutilating themselves in order to relieve intense inner pressure. Self injury is on the rise!
What? Yes, they harm themselves; they are a part of the growing number that leans towards cutting themselves. Growing up can be painful and difficult! Did you know that not being like everyone else really is okay! Once you accept this you won't have to cut yourself to feel okay! Everyone still on this side of Heaven is here to learn and grow... You are like a beautiful flower waiting to bloom!
What is cutting?
Cutting is when someone takes a blunt object, pin, paper clip, scissors or a razor blade and proceeds to make cuts on their wrists, arms, legs, thighs or torso to the point that they bleed. Some will even burn themselves or harm themselves in some other way. This is usually done in a place that is less noticeable! It is becoming an increasing reoccurring behavior that can become addicting. It often goes unnoticed because the self mutilator will make excuses for the cuts and bruises or try very hard to keep them hidden by making excuses. Oh the cat scratched me, or I fell in the bushes, i slipped, or I scraped myself on the… Cutting is considered an impulse – control behavior reaction!
Who cuts themselves ?
Cutting is something that is done by both genders. It appears that female teens and younger women are primarily the predominate participators. However there are a growing number of guys who cut themselves as well. There are a number of reasons why they result to such drastic measures. Some cut because they know that their friends cut themselves. One viable cause that jumps out is the need for inner, “relief!” They are tormented and driven by thier pain. These individuals feel and enormous amount of pressure!
Someone who is cutting can’t always freely express themselves and they often feel as though they are emotionally knotted up. The need for a release is why they begin cutting. Some like the way the cuts look and when they begin to heal will reopen the cuts. You can’t really force someone to stop cutting. So what do you do? Lend a listening ear and let them know that you care! Yelling at someone who is cutting is not very helpful. Approaching them with patience and concern is a much better method if you really want to help them. Be firm in letting them know that they need to get some relief; but in a healthier way. Allow them some time to vent... Encourage them to seek help!
Signs of Cutting
There are a few signs that you might notice such as scars or wounds on the wrists or they may tend to keep a sharp object handy. They tend to spend a lot of time alone or make excuses to cover the cutting with little awkward mishaps. They may become irritable easily or bang their head. Wearing long sleeves in hot weather may be a cover up as well. Cutting can be a momentary phase or a one time occurrence, but for some it can become a repetitive habit!
Peer pressure, relationship pressure, the need to achieve and the desire to grow up faster than needed becomes a struggle. The need to be successful, getting too involved in a relationship at an early age, not feeling pretty enough, handsome enough, thinking they are too thin or too heavy, simply not beng really comfortable with who they are and not having confidence in oneself. Any of the above can factor in to some degree! It is also thought that possibly some early childhood suppressed trauma, neglect or abuse can attribute to its onset as well. It is important to know that the behavior is harmful. Why are they are cutting themselves remains to be an increasing growing concern! The healing process can be lengthy because cutting carries the stigma of shame. This is why it is usually done discreetly and secretively. It is a self destructive behavior. The individual that enlists cutting is desperate or close to panicking. They can possibly be masking rage, anger, pain, frustration, sorrow, rejection, hurt as well as low self esteem. Growing up can be tough! They really need help. They need a good healthy support system!
Seeking a professional as well as having someone to talk to who is attentive and has good listening skills is a wonderful idea! The temporary relief found in cutting is minimal in contrast to how they are feeling. The person who results to cutting is in distress and needs to be assured that they should not be ashamed of how they feel, but encouraged to instead “reach out” and share how they feel! They need to have their feelings validated. Whenever they begin to feel pressured, anxiety or shame and begin cutting it is an indication that they need immediate help. Praying with them is also helpful. They do not have the usual level of coping skills that would help them override their need to feel a release that make them result to cutting! They tend to spend far too much time worrying and dwelling on unpleasant episodes, what they can't do, what they can't change and negative emotions that make them fall short can pull them into a downward spiral! Cutting is usually an impulsive response!
If you know someone who is cutting or suspect they are cutting encourage them to get help or seek out help for them if they are a minor! If it is your child you need to take them to a professional. Cutting can be dangerous because they are usually using an unsterilized object and can cut too deeply. This can result in an infection or serious injury. Don’t bury your head in the sand, or shake it off as not being so serious! Either way the problem needs to be addressed! Gently and firmly point them in the right direction. Give them encouragement and listen more. If you are a cutter tell someone or write a note if it is too difficult for you to talk about it! Tell your parents, friend, teacher, counselor, doctor, neighbor just tell someone who you feel safe with! Keep asking or telling someone until you get the help that you need. How you feel is important and learning how to deal with how you feel is even moreso important!
We are living within a society in this 21st century where just about anything goes. Families are being torn apart and many children, teens and young adults are feeling displaced... Many uncertain as to what will be? Our children, teens and young adults need guidelines. They are our future! Too many young people are coming up feeling all alone, in unstable envIronments and left unattended! They need support, balance and help developing better coping skills. They also need better consistent role models. They need to be nurtured, hugged more and they need to have a secure stable home environment! It is important that you encourage them to share however it is they are feeling. It is important to become more aware of the stresses and peer pressures that they are encountering on many levels. Too often they receive poor advice from their peers that further hinders them from getting the proper help or reaching out to their parents.
Communication is important!
As your child or teen grows so should the way in which you interact with them grow? Your level of communication with them should grow as well! Give them responsibilities where they can accomplish and develop self esteem an become automonous. This helps them to feel a sense of accomplishment! If they are struggling in their academics get them a responsible and appropriate tutor! Give them good boundaries to make them feel safe! Encourage them to share however it is they are a feeling. How they feel is important. Ask them how their day is going and freely share with them as you spend time with them. Look them in the eyes when you talk to them.
Look for signs of pain and reach out to them! Let them know that you are there for them and they matter. As a parent you have a responsibility to be there for them if they want you to or not, it should not be the other way around! Let them know that they are loved! If you are an over indulgent parent back off and let them breath! The point is the relational dynamics need to change for the better. It is important to continue to develop and or improve communication with them. On evenings and weekends check in with them or they with you, when they are away this makes them feel your care and concern. Have them call when late or delayed… This makes them become more responsible! Being a good listener is also a part of good communication!
There is Hope!
Life is precious and you want to spend the majority of it discovering how beautiful it can be. No doubt that life can also be very difficult, stressful and complex. Everyone has difficult moments! It is how we go through them that matters. There is a way through this… You can rise above cutting! There is an inner strength within you that you can discover and develop! Reach deep within and begin to let go of your pain! Begin to move towards taking responsibility for your personal wellbeing! Instead of hurting yourself to relieve inner pain and pressures in an unhealthy way you can get stronger and override the impulse to cut yourself.
You can begin to discover and release that stronger inner you! You can learn to nurture yourself and become stronger and secure within yourself. Stop comparing yourself with others... No one can be a better you than you! You can share how you are feeling & discuss “Why am I cutting myself!” You can also get better just know that YOU MATTER & GOD LOVES YOU!!!
Books on "Cutting"
Christian healing music for today's youth - Jus-B-Cuz "Balm In Gilead"