"Cutting"

Updated on May 22, 2008
M.B. asks from Kathleen, GA
15 answers

I'm looking for information on "cutting". I have a 19 year old son who is cutting and has been doing so off and on for the past 3 years. He has started counseling about 6 months ago and I'm not seeing much improvement. I feel helpless in this situation and don't know how to help him. Has anyone experienced this type of situation before.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thank you so much for each of the responses. I am very grateful for the information and insight that you have provided. I do feel encouraged to know that we are headed on the right track to get him through this. He is seeing a counselor, Psychiatrist and a general physician. Thank you again and please keep him in your prayers for I do believe prayer also helps.

Featured Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

I.C.

answers from Atlanta on

Well M., I am not an expert but I am a special education teacher and have seen more and more of this type of behavior in teenagers. From my experience, cutting is a sign of depresssion. Cutting relieves the stress and anxiety of the child. If you are not seeing improvement with the counselor, maybe he is not matched up with the right one for him. Maybe you can find a new counselor for him and look for group therapy centers, such as Tanner Medical Center the deals with teen behaviors and group counseling. Hope this helps!

More Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.S.

answers from Columbia on

I don't have the answers to this type of behavior. I don't understand it either except that they do it to "release" feelings or emotions. Our church has a "Teen Club" and one of the girls there was doing this. Our youth pastors spoke with her, spent time with her, and it seemed to help that she could talk with them and get things out in the air. I pray that your son would overcome this, and I'll be remembering you and your family in my prayers. God bless.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.J.

answers from Atlanta on

My niece had the same problem and went through lots of counseling before things really got bad. She finally saw a psychiatric team that was able to help her more.

If you're just seeing a regular counselor that doesn't have psychiatric training and an understanding of the biochemical aspects of mental illness, you may need to switch to a psychiatrist.

Don't be afraid to ask your counselor for a referral to a psychiatrist because if it is a mental illness, there are some medical interventions that he may need, in addition to therapy.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.D.

answers from Atlanta on

I don't have experience with this personally, but I know my son's psychiatrist (he's 9) was helpful in getting us to respond properly to certain behaviors that he said could lead to "cutting" when he got older. I think the most important thing is having the "right" therapist / psychiatrist. We happen to go to Eric Fier - he has offices in Stockbridge and at Windy Hill. Good luck, I know how difficult it must be. DD

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.H.

answers from Augusta on

Well there's has to be a point in time that he started cutting and something that stressed him out enough to make him resort to that.Try back tracking and find out what happened to him that might have made him do this if he hasen't already spoken to his counsler about it.The best you can do those is to try and give him any and all support and let him know that you are there for him.Don't be afriad to ask questions.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

V.M.

answers from Augusta on

I am sorry that you are walking through this. I know he must really be struggling with liking himself.
When I was younger, I am now 40, I tried to cut myself, it hurt too bad but I would hit my head into things especially when I "failed" or messed up. I never felt I could do anything right. Some of that was b/c of constant message received by my mom, but also it was inside me, my dad left when I was a baby and I thought he didn't love me there were many things that caused neg. feelings about myself.
I have since grown close to Jesus and He has brought a lot of healing to me, yet when I "mess up" I still feel the struggle to hit myself and I fight that b/c I know it is not good. But I do feel for your son. My nephew and niece and my younger sister all have struggled with cutting and it BREAKS my heart. All of their situations were feeling like life is overwhelming.
I would pray really hard for him. If there is a place where you live that can offer some healing of past hurts or something like that I think that would be good for him. For me personally a relationship with the Lord has helped. My younger sister went through anger management classes and that helped her.
I don't know your son's name but the Lord does and I will be praying for him and you as his mom I know it has to hurt to see one you love do this to himself.
I am now a mother of 4 and married 13 years to a very kind man I this has helped me to overcome my bad feelings too.
I pray for hope for you both!!!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.C.

answers from Augusta on

Hi M.,
cuttng is like a drug, very addictive! It is very hard for him to stop because now he does it because he has to feel that rush. Some people do it for addrenaline, others do it for sexual satisfaction. My 15 year old sister cuts herself, what started off as a suicide attempt, turned into an addiction and she did it for about 2 years before anyone found out about it, and when I did ofcourse I did what anyone would do and freaked out, and thats when she said "it gets me off" what do i say to that i ask myself. All I told her was that she might be doing it for sexual feelings but she might cut to deep one day and it might not turn out the way she wanted it to... Well she hasn't cut herself in about 6 months now, and the reason why is because she is now preganat, she will be 16 in a month and she is bringing a baby into the world, And I know alot of people look down on her but the way I look at it is that god gave her antidrug, he gave her life, and now she appreciates hers. I wish you the best of luck!! all you can do is be here for him J.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.J.

answers from Atlanta on

I don't know if I can offer any real wisdom here... but please know that you are not alone. My stepdaughter was doing this a few years back. Her teacher had said something to my husband. Of course at the time she denied it. She later admitted it was true. She was also exhibiting what I thought were signs of suicidal tendencies so I had to tell my husband what I thought and that we shouldn't leave her alone. She would want to stay in her room and not come out. At her age it had a lot to do with the people she was associating with at school. We took her out of public school and started home school the following year. She has grown so much since then in regard to maturity and wisdom and we have also had many discussions about how to choose friends and knowing that the people you hang around have great influence over you. Cutting is a form of expression (unhealthy of course) and is a big sign that someone needs help and is also seeking attention. Everyone wants to be loved and accepted no matter who they are. Have you talked with the counselor?

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

F.N.

answers from Savannah on

O.K. I'll bite. What is "cutting"? Using a scissors???

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.O.

answers from Savannah on

My husband also did that when he was 19. He talked to me about it once and said that he was hurting so bad on the inside that when he cut himself it took him away from his inner pain and redirected it to physical pain, which he said hurt much less than the inner pain he was dealing with. I would recommend a psychiarist. He needs someone (other than family) to help him deal with the inner pain he is feeling.
I hope everything works out!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.F.

answers from Athens on

Hi M.

I am so sorry for your situation. It is so hard to help those in that way. I know a little and have a few suggestions. And please know that I am not attacking you or your son, just suggestions. First, if you are able, maybe you could start a therapy session also. This will help you deal with your emotions and concerns for your son. Even if it is with the same counselor, and find out if your son likes his counsleor. Before any improvements can be made, you son has to gain trust in his counselor. This can take a lot of time. He has to feel that he can open up to them. It typically takes me a few months to a year to learn to trust a new friend, so imagine how hard it is for a 13 year old to trust not only an adult, but someone he is forced to see.

Second, take a good look at his friends, habits, and living environment. There is something he feels guilty of, ashamed of, doesn't understand, trust, or some issue along that path. There are many issues at hand I am sure and not just one. Perhaps he feels inferrior and this is his way of attention or is ashamed of something he has done or does not measure up to and this is his punishment. There are many possibilities. Be open about it and allow him to express his emotions and feelings. Most importantly, give as much love as you can. Remember that discipline is still love and respect is love. And my last suggestion is to hang in there!! Make sure you are able to trust the counselor. There is nothing wrong with getting a new one if you are not satisfied with this one. Not every counsleor is great just like doctors.

I wish I could help more!! If you need to vent, please email me and I will listen. Sometimes that helps me when I am angry, scared, and all those emotions rolled up into a ball. Good luck!!

M.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.S.

answers from Atlanta on

Read everything you can get your hands on regarding Sensory integration problems (also associated with autism spectrum behaviors). My understanding is that mild sensory problems starting young tend to lead to this very difficult situation later. What you may find is that your son is about 10 years ahead of the really direct literature and articles that are coming out by the dozens now. You may have to step out and try some things in this area because my sense is you may not be able to find the one article or book to tell you try diet/immune rebuilding activities that influence the nervous system...thus connecting it to the cutting behavior. I have found complementary and alternative medicine very helpful with families dealing with sensory problems (almost completely recovered my incredibly sensory seeking child only 8 now). Email me if you would like more info on that: [email protected]____.com. I will be praying for you and your son. J.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

P.W.

answers from Atlanta on

I have observed this behavior to be an unhealthy coping skill among teens. Tanner Medical Center in Villa Rica has done some great training for staff on this. After six months with no improvement, I would change therapists and consult a psychiatrist. Some anxiety disorder or depression may be an underlying issue. Whatever you do stay very involved to help your son deal with the underlying issues to develop a healthy lifestyle and healthy relationships.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.F.

answers from Spartanburg on

This might seem strange, but I have heard that cutting can be an addiction, just like drugs, to cope with problems. I know a great ministry set up to help the whole family of the addicted. You could contact them and at least talk with them and see what they have to say. It is free.
www.wisdominlivinglife.org
I hope that is helpful.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

H.T.

answers from Columbus on

I am not sure how much I can help, but I have experience with "cutting." I have been guilty of self mutilation (cutting skin mostly with nail clippers, scratching, digging,and similar activities) since i was 14. I stopped completely in my early twenties. For me, this was a coping mechanism to help me deal with my emotional pain. It took a long time for me to learn to use other means of coping. It helped to have a loving supportive relationship with my husband (married since I was 20, for 13 years now) and to get away from the environment that helped trigger my need for this form of relief. I also actively sought self help methods of learning about my behavior and new ways to cope (music, journaling, art, exercise, talking to friends, breathing). Sometimes cutting was a concious act(intentional - as punishment), sometimes it was an unconcious reaction/reflex to stress. Rather than getting angry, upset, or violent, I would release my pain through cutting - it was a form of pain I could understand and deal with unlike the internal mental anguish which was harder to identify and work through. It took me about 4 years to completely resolve my cutting/self mutilation issues on my own. I still have scars, but they are very small and are slowly fading. It is good that your son is in counseling. Part of my problem was learning how to deal with depression and trauma that had happen when I was young without professional treatment. It helps to have a good match as a counselor though. I attempted to talk to some individuals that were not qualified to deal with my issues and that set me back somewhat. My best advice is to provide a loving supportive environment, continue with counseling and/or other treatment that makes him comfortable and helps deal with whatever underlying issues there may be. My aunt is also a self mutilator (excessive digging - craters in her skin -arms and legs), and continues to do so (now in her 40's). She has been in counseling off and on for over 30 years. Her biggest problem aside from genetic predisposition to depression and compulsive behavior is lack of a good support system (no stable family or friends)and she has not learned other positive methods of coping to replace the digging - even with the everyday issues in life (she also has been diagnosed with social anxiety, depression, ptsd). Many of my firends also had this issue. I think this is an issue that can be overcome with support, with patience and time. Healing takes time, perspective, and love. I wish you the best in this effort. I am sorry I dont have a lot of advice to give, but I understand how this can affect someone and how difficult it is to remedy. God Bless.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions