Home > Self Harming > Family and Friends of Self Harmers

Family and Friends of Self Harmers

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 19 Sep 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Self Harm self Harmer self Harming

Self harmers or those who engage in self injurious behaviours such as cutting, burning or even poisoning their own bodies, are almost always secretive about these unhealthy behaviours. Rarely will an individual admit to self harming behaviours when (s)he is confronted about his or her activities, even when presented with evidence such as cuts, bruises, drug or medical paraphernalia, unnecessary or hidden objects such as knives, razors, scissors, matches or cigarette lighters. Also rarely will a self harmer ask for help on his or her own. Instead, it often falls to parents, relatives and friends to notice the warning signs of self harming and seek professional help for their loved one.

Warning Signs of Self Harming

Self harming includes any number of different behaviours. Cutting, intentional overdosing, head banging, burning oneself and other acts of self injury all come under the umbrella term of self harming. Warning signs for specific behaviours may be particular to that behaviour, though common signs of self harming include:

  • Unexplained cuts and bruises on the body.
  • Wearing long sleeves and pants, even in warm weather.
  • Secrecy, such as keeping a specific drawer locked or hiding specific items.
  • A breakdown in typical communication.
  • Mood changes or mood swings.
  • Changes in eating patterns.
  • Changes in sleeping patterns.
  • Changes in socialising patterns.
  • Evidence of drug or medical paraphernalia.
  • Evidence of carrying unnecessary sharp objects, matches or lighters.
  • Poor performance or results at school or work.
  • Loss of interest in favourite hobbies or sports.

Seeking Help for Self Harming

Those who engage in self harming behaviours usually need to be convinced that they need help, rather than making this decision on their own. Often family and friends must do all of the research and present all of the facts to the self harmer, and even then the individual may not agree that (s)he needs help. If a self harmer needs medical attention, it is important to take him or her to the GP or A&E as soon as possible. Very often the medical professionals involved will also be able to offer information and advice for further treatment. If a self harmer has never needed immediate medical attention, it might still be a good idea to have him or her checked over to make sure that any old wounds or injuries are healing properly. Once the individual’s physical health is in the clear, having him or her attend one-on-one counselling sessions or group support meetings is important to help address the mental or emotional causes of the self harming behaviours. GPs and school nurses will have details of local resources, as does the “Services” section of the National Children’s Bureau’s Self Harm website (www.selfharm.org.uk).

Support for Family and Friends of Self Harmers

Watching a loved one injure them self can be very emotional, and stressful, for family members and friends. Taking care of your own health during this time may not seem important, but it is imperative. Unfortunately, finding successful treatment for a self harmer can be a drawn out process, one that saps your energy and leaves you feeling overwhelmed, and often underappreciated, as well. Contrary to how you may feel, it does not make you a bad person to admit this. Instead, combat these negative emotions by attending your own counselling sessions, or look for a support group for those affected by self-harming in your area. The National Self Harm Network (www.nshn.co.uk) can provide further information and support to those affected by self harming.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Someone message me on face book I need help I wanna die so bad!!!!!!
baby girl - 19-Sep-15 @ 7:18 PM
iv just found out my 12 yr old girl is self harming theres no majorcuts n its only just started iv sat and explained everything to her and i understand thats shes going through some things but im not sure which way is best to deal with it aby advice shes a bright well adjusted happy girl most of the time so it has come as a big shock
whoooops - 17-Jul-14 @ 3:30 AM
As a self harmer i know how difficult it is i made the resolution to try and stop for myn and my frie ds sake because i could tell it was affecting my friends as well, once you start self harming stopping is incredibly hard i was rather silly and attempted to just stop straight away, bad idea, all it took was a few mean words from kids in school to push me over the edge and now my self harming is worse then ever and i dont feel like i am strong enough to stop but i really want to because my friends think i have stopped i am having to keep this to myself now, not wanting to upet my friends even more. Any advise
Genes - 7-Jan-14 @ 11:37 PM
If you think somebody is self-harming, don't dismiss it as a 'teenage fad' or 'fashion' - it could be a lot more serious. At 14, I am already scarred on legs, arms and hips. It is addictive and so difficult to stop, but it IS possible. If you self harm, please try to stop. You don't want to end up like me.
ghostofarose - 30-Nov-11 @ 3:24 PM
Personly this is 100% accurate, being a self harmer myself, the signs and one-on-one support comments are what people belive to be true, however I believe the 'won't want help' statement is compleatly true, as I don't want help, and I hate one on one, also I hate talking about this, but am willing to give advice and support to others that are considering to self harm.
swiftie - 20-Jul-11 @ 8:58 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • JoB
    Re: Warning Signs of Self Harming
    @Leanne 75 - the objective is to get her treatment. Only wearing long sleeves will cover self-harm scars :(
    16 July 2018
  • yan
    Re: Questionnaire: Are You Addicted to Social Networking Sites?
    I am a grade.12 researcher, can I ask for your permission to use your questionnaire with…
    15 July 2018
  • Leanne 75
    Re: Warning Signs of Self Harming
    Hi my niece self harmed she stopped .but last night I have saw she has done it again . Lines up her arm and put fat and…
    15 July 2018
  • KelN
    Re: Losing Your Virginity
    @Syd - you don't have to ask your mum to be put in the pill. You can ask your doctor confidentially. It is the best form of contraception…
    12 July 2018
  • Syd
    Re: Losing Your Virginity
    I’m 15 and I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost 1 year. We are both ready, especially me. However, I’m just nervous of the risks,…
    11 July 2018
  • TeenIssues
    Re: All about Abortion
    Secret - Your Question:I am 17 years old and I had sex with my 16 year old boyfriend we have done it on and off as I have been very skeptical…
    9 July 2018
  • Secret
    Re: All about Abortion
    I am 17 years old and I had sex with my 16 year old boyfriend we have done it on and off as I have been very skeptical about doing it as I’m…
    8 July 2018
  • Pran
    Re: Beauty Tips for Boys
    I want fair and glowing skin which glaze like a clear so plz suggested me some tips which was really proven
    6 July 2018
  • BoiBoiBoi
    Re: All about Abortion
    I’m pregnant. I can’t speak to my GP, because I don’t know who it is. I can’t tell my parents know. Can I go to an abortion clinic and request…
    1 July 2018
  • Lonz
    Re: Questionnaire: Are You Addicted to Social Networking Sites?
    I am a research adviser of our Grade 12 students. I am asking permission to use your…
    29 June 2018