Strength, Courage, Confidence

Strength, Courage, Confidence

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Cutting

Cutting is serious and should not be ignored.  Below is information that I obtained after a great deal of research as well as speaking to teenagers who cut.  If you, or someone you know cuts, please talk to an adult and get help immediately.

What is cutting? Cutting is exactly what it says, it is the act of cutting oneself using sharps objects such as glass, razor blades, scissors or a knife.   They cut to the point of bleeding or scarring. Teens who cut themselves are usually not trying to kill themselves, but instead they choose to harm themselves until they get a certain emotional release from their pain.

 

 Is cutting trying to get attention ? Typically not.  Cutters are usually ashamed  of cutting, and they try to hide it.  They usually cut in places that are covered by clothing such as their thighs, chest, stomach and inner arms.  That way it can go undetected for years.

 

Who typically has this kind of behavior ? Females are more likely to be engaged in cutting because, in most cases, males go out and do violent/aggressive things, while females tend to do violence against themselves.  A common phrase: "Men act out and Females act in".  According to various reports that I have read through, most teens that are drawn to cutting have had severe childhood traumas and lack the ability to regulate emotions.  For example, if a 16 teen year old that is used to getting good grades, gets a bag grade on their exam, they could cut themselves because they do not know how to deal with difficult problems or feelings.

 

Why do teens cut ? 
     - They have emotional issues they cannot put into words.
     - They try to gain a sense of control when other things in their life are out of control.
     - They feel the need to punish themselves for having troubled thoughts or acts.
     - Some find the act calming.
     - (rarely) To get a reaction from other people.
     - (rarely) Because their friend is doing it.
  No matter the reason, cutting is a very serious and dangerous behavior that could be a hidden sign of another, more serious problem.

 

What do you do if you suspect someone is cutting/or know they are ?
     - Ask them.  This seems obvious, but it's a step.  They may get defensive but your their friend and will appreciate your help.
     - Listen.  Once you asked the question, stop talking and listen to what they have to say because they may reveal why.  Listen carefully for hidden clues.
     - Notice behaviors.  May become more quieter and more defensive than usual.
     - Dress code.  Prior to becoming a cutter, the teen may wear tank tops or short sleeves, suddenly they are hearing multiple bracelets, long sleeve jackets in the summer, etc.
     - Manager your emotions.  Listening to someone who cuts, explaining to you why, or even how, can be rather upsetting. You may feel overwhelmed, sad, confused or even angry.  Concentrate on how you can help them, not on your own emotions at the time.
     - Seek a professional.  Talk to a trusted adult such as a preacher, parent, teacher or counselor.  Ask them to seek the help of an adult because cutting is a major illness and can lead to worse problems down the road without the help they need. 

 

If you are cutting, please tell an adult as soon as possible.  There is a lot of help available to overcome this.  Cutting isn't something someone can deal with on their own.  There are so many therapists and support groups who can help you work through what makes you cut.  All it takes is that first step "I'm a cutting myself and I want to stop".