Emotional Cutting?!?!

Updated on May 10, 2011
M.M. asks from Plano, TX
10 answers

Good Morning, I coworker confided in me about her finding out her teenage daughter is cutting herself on her arm! I didnt know what to say becasue this is shocking and scary to me.. Does anyone have any suggestion on how I can help? I wouldnt know where to begin!

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

Featured Answers



answers from Dallas on

She needs to get her daughter to a therapist. You can't really "help" other than being supportive. My sister, who is 40, has been doing this for a few years. It's a sign of emotional pain and it can be their way of feeling something, or releasing pain. Daughter needs professional help to get through this.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Dallas on

I am turning 35 this year. From the ages of 18 to about 23 I used to cut myself. I did it because I was deeply sad. I felt worthless and trapped. The mental anguish became too much to handle, so it was cathardic to express those emotions physically. In other words, the physical pain was something I could control and feel better about rather than the emotional and mental pain which I could do nothing therefore making my worthlessness even worse. It's such an awful path of self destruction because there is so much out there pulling you down that the last thing someone needs is to turn on themselves. I didn't want to feel this way, I didn't know how to stop it. Cutting becomes like a drug because the only way you can find relief or release is to cut, and this is going to sound crazy, but as soon as you make that first slice and watch the blood stream down your arms, a sense of calm and peace comes over you that was not there before.

My advice would be to sit down and talk with this young woman and tell her what you see about her, in her. Tell her you know she is sad, tell her how you can see it. You have to start a conversation where she knows you are competent enough to go there with her. And do not pussy foot around for lack of a better phrase. Do not fluff things, most people who do this spend far too much time thinking and can see through just about all of the bull*hit.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

I use to cut. To say the least. when I was 12 I started. Shallow cuts. what they call superficial cuts, because they barely drew blood. As I got older(19) I began cut deep enough to need to go to the ER. If I wasnt sopping up blood with paper towels it didnt count. then I started burning. Burns bad enough to leak green pus. GROSS I KNOW! but you need to understand how bad it can be. First of all if I had been that teen and I found out my mom was telling her co-workers (no matter how close) I would be VERY upset. Finding her a therapist is important, but her mom needs to listen to her if she doesnt like her therapist. Being comfortable with your therapist is very important, if she isnt then they need to find another one. Something that helped me quit (this was sugested to me by another cutter) is to use a red felt pen on your arms when you feel like cutting. you are not really hurting yourself but it give the illusions of blood, and you can press as hard as you want and your not going to break the skin.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Cutting requires professional intervention. It's a disorder based on causing physical pain to take away emotional pain, and on taking control of situations where the teen has none. Encourage your friend to speak to the family doctor and get a referral to a competent therapist experienced in these issues. There is nothing in your background, or your friend's, or mine, that likely qualifies us to deal with an issue of this complexity and magnitude. Support her and encourage her to get expert support before this situation gets worse.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Oh jeese. This is NOT an easy answer.
I had a friend growing up who did this.
From what she told me, the adrenaline of cutting helped ease her emotional pain. It is a very scary and upsetting thing.
Your friend needs to find out what it is that is hurting her daughter so much that she is cutting herself.
Believe it or not, there are a lot of people that do this. It just is usually something that is kept hidden.
She really just needs to confront her daughter and start a conversation about it. She has to be able to listen, Not preach, or be pushy.
She needs to find the source. She needs to try to be understanding and not accuse her daughter of being "mentally ill"
If she does it right, her daughter should open up, even if it is just a little bit.
Did your friend say HOW she found this out??
If her daughter told her, than that means she wants to talk about it. That is a GOOD thing. If she spied on her, it will be a little bit more difficult to bring up.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I used to be a cutter. Started at 12 and stopped at 19. The only thing that is going to help this girl is therapy. There is something going on with her emotionally that is making her want to do this. As you can read from some of the responses this is a very common thing- it is just kept hidden.

Point blank nothing is going to help her unless she wants to help herself. She wont stop because her Mom wants her to, or even if she promises she won't do it again. She will. Until she is "fixed" so to speak.

When my Mom figured out I was cutting, I told her I had stopped. But really I had just moved to different body parts. My ankles, hips, stomach. Places that could be hidden more easily.

She (daughter and friend) will need your support through this because it is going to be a long long process.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Cutting is a serious issue because one wrong move and she could cut too deeply. A good place to start might be with the school counselor or the daughter's pediatrician/general physician. They are the link to resources in the community that can help this child. Depending on the level of severity, the child may need to enter an inpatient hospital program to deal with the emotional trauma she's experiencing (hence, why she cuts). Typically cutters do not want to die; they just want their 'pain' to be released or find serenity in the compulsive act of cutting. The problem is that the activity is dangerous and potentially life-threatening, so a cutter needs a lot of help finding other ways to deal with their compulsion or issues in a healthy way. They also need to be able to figure out what triggers their cutting, how to avoid the triggers, or how to stop a thought process from spiraling to cutting. At any rate, to best support your co-worker, be a good listener and open your ears and heart to her and let her talk.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

She needs to take her daughter to therapy. Nothing you can really do other than suggest that and let her know you're there to listen. Hopefully you didn't show her the reaction I'm getting from your post because she surely would have felt judged. Cutting is not uncommon but definitely needs to be dealt with by a professional.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Does your company offer a benefit like LifeWorks that can help find a therapist in your area?
This girl needs professional help asap. I hope she gets it.



answers from New York on

There isn't much that you can do to help, aside from listening to her and letting her know that there is no shame in discussing her daughter's illness. If she has not already done so, please stongly encourage her to get her daughter into therapy immediately.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions