I read a lot of the blogs from Mums or Dads worried about their children and I read the responded comments from other Mums and Dads, but none from the other end. I’m not a Mother with a child that self harms, I am the daughter who SI. Let me tell you that my Mother finding out felt like the worse thing in the world, because your Mother is the one that gives you life and creates your body and here you are destroying it. Its hard and I know it is, but you have to be careful. Sometimes acting the wrong way could drive your child even more underground with this addiction. Parents, I saw my Mum fall apart all the time, because she was so upset over my SI, and it didn’t really make me feel like someone cared it made me feel like I should have hidden it better to save her the heartbreak, it makes me feel guilty, and feeling guilty is one of the main triggers of SI. But you cant just brush it off either and hope it goes away, there is an in between in there and you know your child best to be able to find it, even though you may think maybe you didn’t know them at all but truth is how can you know them when they probably don’t know themselves. Being active in a SI recovery can be very important, but over bearing can have the opposite affect. For example, if you child goes to therapy, sometimes its better to simply ask “how you feeling after that?” instead of “what did you talk about” “was she/he good?” “do you think you’ll get better” “can I speak with them?” it can make them feel abnormal like they cant have a normal life now that you know.
The hardest part I suppose is before all of that. Confronting someone who SI will always be difficult. No matter what you say they are going to feel caught out, like there secret is gone, especially if its your parents. My Mum did not react well when she noticed my scars for the first time, she screamed and called me stupid, told me how dear I do this to myself, why am I so attention seeking?! Shes not a bad Mum, she was shocked, scared that her little girl could hurt so much, and why? Its important to remember what you feel effects your child, if you suddenly notice something or become suspicious don’t yell and blurt it out, THINK before you approach the situation, maybe when did you start to notice a behavior change, how long ago did it start, what could have triggered it, sometimes you wont know, you would have no idea because your child has seemed perfectly normal to you, this is really not uncommon. I hid mine from my Mother for 7 years. When you appraoch the subject, maybe start with a “how have you been feeling lately” rather than blurting out that you know, maybe say something like “Iv noticed you have been acting differently or dressing differently and the other day I noticed scars, I’m not mad, are you OK?” Softly spoken, these words wont be EXACTLY what you should use, and I’m not saying your child wont still get upset, but they may feel less like its an interrogation and a stand off and more like you are actually concerned for them.
Denial. In a perfect world they would break down tell you everything and go to therapy and be cured. But we don’t live in a perfect world. They may deny it, get angry at you for even suggesting it. I know I did and that can be very upsetting for a Mother who knows and has been basically told to bugger off. Don’t yell at them don’t scream at them that you know so don’t deny it, cause they still will and then they will go to even bigger lengths to hide it from you. Just state firmly but fairly that you know and that you are very much there for them because that’s what you care about, them. How your child will react is based solely on your child and like I said, you know them best. Be gentle with them, is my advice, be loving as I know you parents are.
I hope I helped at least a little or gave you some insight on what its like to be on the other end.
I’m always here to talk? If you have any questions 🙂