And so this is Christmas...

and what have you done?

Am I the only person on this board who is actually dreading the approach of the big C thing.

There was so much I was going to do this year; the year has gone by and I haven’t achieved even half of it. I know that beating myself up about this isn’t productive - I’m just ventilating.

I am so angry and frustrated with myself that I haven’t been able to find a way to stop my daughter cutting herself. I recognise the futility of those emotions, but I still feel them. Intellectually I know there isn’t a great deal I can do about the situation; emotionally, the “shoulds” and “if onlys” are inescapable.

As I said, I’m just ventilating, but all I want for Christmas this year is for my daughter to realise how pretty and smart and valuable she is. I’d like to have one day when I don’t have to keep track of where every single knife in the house is.

I know I’m being self-indulgent here; I do understand that whatever impels her to cut herself is far more important and significant than my “where did I go wrong” concerns.

But please Santa, if only for a day, can I have the happy, smiling, funny kid back? Please.

I’m not looking forward to Christmas and New Years either, but after reading your post, my reasons seem very petty.
<all the usual advice> I’m sorry I don’t have anything useful to say.
Normally I abhor hugging strangers, but {{{{{reprise}}}}}. I hope your daughter is better soon.

Oh God reprise, I am sorry to learn about your daughter. I really hope that things work out for you both. The holidays are an awful time for any kind of family crisis, because you are so bombarded by these hokey, idealistic family images- how can you not feel inadequate and frustrated?!

My heat goes out to you both. Please, take care, for both of your sakes.

I hope your daughter and you both get and feel better. Keep loving her and all that motherly stuff is all you can do.

I was once in the stage your daughter was. One of my best friends died when we were both 14. I never actually cut myself but I was very tempted by it and suicide. It’s been a little over 2 years now and with support from my family, friends, and church, I’ve gotten a lot better. Valentine’s Day will probably always be a bad day for me though, because that was her birthday. I just can’t tell you enough how my heart goes out to you. Once again, {{{{{reprise}}}}}

Is your daughter in counselling? If not, please look into it. It really helped me.
I wasn’t a cutter, but I was a “jabber”, I suppose. I would take a nail file and just jab it at my arms…didn’t break the skin, only left tiny little puncture marks…
I could’ve killed that bitch at Taking Children Seriously who said that the child should just be allowed to do it, and that there’s nothing wrong with it…and the shrink was the problem.

Please don’t take this an “inquisition” type question, but would you mind sharing with me what made you feel that way at that particular point in time. I just can’t get inside my daughter’s head where this stuff is concerned and it is frustrating the hell out of me. I feel like I “should” have the answers to this, and I’m not even sure that I’m asking the right questions.

I understand that you might not want to post personal info on the board - my email addy is and my ICQ number is 47522297.

I do know that I am over-reacting to this, and I’m trying hard not to be the “Girl, interrupted” kind of mum, but it is so scary to watch the children you would die for harm themselves. If someone else was doing this kind of shit to my child I would physically hurt them. I just don’t “get” the headspace that my daughter is in right now. The reason why I’m asking you and Welfy to “please explain” is not because I am judging you in any way; it’s because I have found you to be honest people who might be able to give me some kind of insight into a situation I pretty much don’t know how to handle. I am so very scared of doing the “wrong” thing and pushing my daughter over the edge…

No, I don’t mind sharing here. I do NOT feel judged AT ALL-in fact, I want to help, and I don’t think you’re overreacting.
I guess it was just a kind of numbing thing…I was hurting so bad, so scared, (major flare up of my Obsessive Compulsive disorder), just in so much pain, that I had to react…I had read about cutting, and I was too “chicken” to try it, so I grabbed a nail file and just started jabbing at my arm. It felt-I hate to say it-good, in a way that I felt like there was novocaine spreading over my soul, I guess you could say.

With me, my mother basically would NOT allow me to mope. If I went up to my room, curled up in bed with the lights out and cried, she would come in, turn the lights on and drag me downstairs and FORCE me to sit with her while she watched tv. Even when I BEGGED her to just let me stay there.

Whew! I cannot believe how bad I was and now, I can see just how far I’ve come.

The best thing to do is look into therapy. I’m NOT being patronizing. But that was the only thing that saved me, and I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t gone.



what professionals do you have supporting you and your daughter? Are they any good? I’ve finally after 5 years of looking got people involved with my son who do not drive me to desperation with their fucking stupidity.


I HATE the TCS people! My current peeve is the advice to leave a kid with tourette’s unmedicated because ticc’ing is a choice! Yeah right, what a shower of shite! There’s a couple of them who come onto a list I belong to and share their special way of viewing the world. They make me ill. An autistic child without speech is making a choice and it is wrong to seek help for the kid unless the kid asks for help. Well, hello? If a child is without communication, then how the fuck do you ask? I’m all for respecting kids but the TCS shite just goes too far. It’s full of slippery slope arguments.

Have you heard the one about it being better for a parent to piss their pants than to coerce a child into entering a public toilet? What planet do these idiots live on?

And yeah I have been informed that I am the source of all the difficulties my kids face. If I just stopped coercing them, they would do just fine. In a pig’s arse they would.

yep, heard that one. And it’s better to allow a kid to have sex with a pedophile than to force them to stop being friends.

WHat other list are you on? I’d LOVE to see their arguments when they’re faced against opposition.

And is it just me, or is it like a cult? They practically offer up sacrifice to Miss Sarah Lawrence and that pin up his ass man David Douchebag.

I am going to say to you what I wish I could say to my mother; don’t let your fear override your caring for her. Every time I try to tell her how bad I feel about myself, she cuts me off with ; “That is stupid talk”, or “You are trying to cop out”. She is so afraid, she does not want to face up to my feelings along with me. I do not have her support.
Maybe without knowing it, she has taught me to feel deeply ashamed of the bad feelings that lead me to hurt myself. I hide them all, because I think they are shameful, and I want to protect my mom from them. So I face them alone, because my mother is scared. She is terrified of her own feelings of inadequacy, seeing them mirrored back to her in me is too much for her.

If you want to help your daughter; tell her that you want to understand how she is feeling. Tell her that if she needs to talk, you promise to listen right through until she is done, and give her whatever support she needs. Promise that you won’t force her to do anything she doesn’t want to. Do not show fear - she might be hiding because she wants to protect you. Also, tell her that you love her every day. Tell her that she is important to you. Tell her about things she did when she was little that delighted you. I wish I could hear my mom say those things out loud. It would mean so much to me.

Please understand, I am not trying to tell you what to do, but what you have said strikes a chord with me, and I am telling you my experience in the hope that you might get some benefit out of it… if none of it applies, I understand, and you might have to modify some of it, whatever. I am only sharing my experience on the off chance that some little grain of it might help you.

well last time we all decided it was Chinese water torture… they just go on and on and on with their silly stuff. And of course the fact that the cult forbids them to share any personal info about their kids while they bottom feed off info shared by others, makes them real popular. I think they mindfuck. They spout theory when the rest of us are trying to do the best for real living kids.

You are not alone in thinking it is like a cult. There’s several likenesses - redefining the English language is my personal favourite - YK when they start losing the argument, they say X means Y. Coercion means something different to the general understanding. I do find it alarming that SL gets to go to conferences and crap on endlessly about her theories.

But Guinastasia? WTF are you doing letting these people annoy you? ;). Are you subbed to their list? If so, unsub immediately, life is too short.

I’ll let you know when we head back into another cycle of TCS

I am so sorry about your daughter. I am assuming you both are getting counseling, but is she on medication as well? I ask because from age 13 to approximately age 33 I was very depressed – self destructive, but not “cutting”, more suicidal. What snapped me out of it was the one time I was sleepwalking (something I never did before) and was trying to take my roommate’s entire stock of pills. When she knocked them out of my hand, I walked (still asleep, mind you) into the kitchen and got a paring knife out of the drawer, preparing to slit my wrists. Again, she managed to break my grip, inflicting some pretty nasty bruises in the process.

That scared me more than anything. That I was so prepared to die that I would do my best to do so, without my own knowledge. That’s when I decided living was better than dying, and went into counseling.

After two years, I was much better, but still not “well”. That’s when I discovered the depression was chemical as well as psychological, and I went on Prozac. A GODSEND! Now I’m “myself” again.

If only I could do something about the SAD I’m fighting at the moment. Seattle is a lousy place to live if Grey weather gets you down.

Anyway, I’ll keep a good thought/prayer for you both. Best!

I probably shouldn’t post when I’m totally sleep deprived but I just wanted to let you all know the power of this message board.

Last night my daughter and I laughed and cried and laughed and cried until 4am. This is due in large part to the bravery of the young women who have posted their personal experiences on this board. I thank each and every one of you and I want to assure you that just because I’m having a ‘happy dance’ kind of day doesn’t mean that I am no longer interested in what is happening in your lives.

Please - if any of you guys (well OK, girls) need someone to just listen, contact me. It’s the only way I can think of to repay the kindness, concern, and honesty which you have all shown me over the last few days.

Your rock, people :slight_smile:

Damn it - I’m gonna have the mods to remove this thread from the pit…

Oh, I’m just on it for kicks…I like saying stuff on there sometimes to rile them up. They don’t ANNOY me in a bad way, but more in an amusing, fun to laugh at kind of way. I don’t have much of a life, you see.

{{{Reprise}}}} THAT is wonderful. I also want you to remember, and remind your daughter as well: take each day ONE AT A TIME. Don’t start getting scared about the future. Just try and make through each day.
Good luck!

Reading a thread like this makes me really glad to be some small part of these boards. Hang in there Reprise. Clear and open communication is the key to so much of what you face. It really tore me up to read of you having to worry where every blade in the house is.

All of this behavior was so totally unknown when I was a child that it is hard to comprehend what a parent goes through these days. Not having children of my own, I can only recommend what would have helped a lot when I was a child; always tell your child how much you love them, never be afraid to hug and hold them. Do whatever you can to be a part of their lives.

I know that all of this probably comes off like some cheap glurge, but I stand by it anyway.

Warmest wishes,



the behaviour was there all right. I can remember girls who cut, girls who starved themselves and went to hopsital. The difference is now we talk about it.


I'm certainly glad to see that things have gone all right. When I was a teenager, I felt miserable and alone and yes.....cutting was a release for me.....did that a few times. Basically, the theory was the exchange of emotional pain for physical pain and maybe the idea of "bleeding out" the pain. Of course, now I realize that was just an escape from the misery and didn't come close to dealing with it head-on.

My recommendation is that since Christmas is coming up, buy your daughter a nice leather journal, and make her promise that whenever she has thoughts of cutting herself, that instead she'll sit down and write what's bothering her (and you can promise her that you'll never look at it). First of all, that will pass the emotional time at which she's most liable to do damage into a time when she can more rationally think about the decision to cut herself (and when you look at it from a rational point of view, it certainly makes little sense and I'm sure she'd realize that) and secondly writing is an excellent catharsis and a lot of emotions can flow out of that pen!

I would also recommend a few books by the American self-esteem expert Dr. Nathaniel Branden. The one I would start off with is * How to Raise your Self-Esteem * which is more action-oriented and less theoretical than the others. In it, Dr. Branden suggests that through accepting ourselves (which doesn't neccessarily mean loving right off the bat, just accepting......and then once we accept ourselves we can work on the path to loving ourselves much more easily), living consciously (dealing with pain and reality head on instead of sneaking into a self-imposed haze), properly dealing with guilt (realizing that guilt is mostly self-imposed by trying to live to the standards of others), dealing with younger subselves (forgiving the child within us), living responsibly, and living authentically (doing as we say inside).......basically through the use of sentence completion (a sentence fragment is placed out there and it assists in helping express one's self). It may be difficult to explain in a short post (the website is at   It's certainly helped me accept myself and take responsibility for my own short, it did raise my self-esteem.......and I would recommend it to anyone!! The book was 7 dollars US at Borders so I imagine you could find it easily at any bookstore or order it online.

I wish the both of you luck and if I can be of any more assistance, please feel free to ask!!!

Thank you–that’s a great phrase!! As I’ve mentioned before, I compulsively overeat and am definitely in a haze when I am planning a binge and carrying it out. (It’s also similar to the “novocaine for the soul” provided by cutting as described above.) It’s so hard to face the emotional basis to this self-destructive behavior and takes a lot of work–the journal idea is great because it helps you work in stages. I wouldn’t be able to articulate, because I didn’t consciously know, the reasons for my behavior but in thinking about it over time (when I have the courage to) I have unearthed little bits of it and am getting a fuller picture of why I am like this.

Another resource recommended to me by my therapist at one point was “Wherever You Go, There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It’s about mindfulness of where, who, what you are right now, not worrying about the future or dwelling in the past. It was recommended because I said how I lose time when I eat and everything is a haze. It teaches you to be mindful of every moment and what you’re about in the moment.

I’m so glad you and your daughter were able to connect. Best wishes for you both.

For the last two years, I’ve been calling in whatever resources I can but my daughter remains stubbornly resistant to participating in counselling. A couple of the counsellors have been able to offer me support and encouragement, others have pretty much implied that I’m just wasting my time until my daughter sees for herself that she needs help.

Medication is an option I’ve considered, but difficult without her co-operation - she also has a tendency to take whatever tablets she can get her hands on (I don’t even keep headache tablets in the house because of this).

I’ve managed to organise some activities for her during the holidays, and I’m hoping that she may talk to the youth workers who co-ordinate the programmes. Boredom certainly seems to be a trigger for her self-destructive episodes. Is may also give both of us a little respite from this being an issue which dominates almost every day - I think we’re both pretty much emotionally exhausted and feeling like we’re going around in circles.

I’m curious whether anyone who has now stopped cutting or jabbing has discussed the issue with their parents since they stopped, and if so, were your parents more able to ‘be there’ for you once the immediate threat of you doing yourself harm was removed? Also, were any of you getting some kind of validation from your peers for what you were doing, because in my daughter’s case this seems to be an issue.

I did try the journal option at one stage and it didn’t work. However, that was over a year ago and it’s well worth seeing if it may work now that she’s a little older.

You’ve given me some great suggestions of options to run with, and onc again, thank you.