Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Self-harm: Parents' experiences

In this section you can find out about the experiences of parents and other family members of young people who self-harm by seeing and hearing them share their personal stories on film. Our researchers travelled all around the UK to talk to 39 people in their own homes. Find out what people said about issues such as why young people self-harm, discovering that a young person is self-harming, how they helped their young person, living with self-harm, support and treatment, and what helped them cope. We hope you find the information helpful and reassuring.

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I’ve never told my parents about my self-harming issues, though they might have caught sight of scars peeking out my shirt sleeve at some point; if so, it was (thankfully) never mentioned.

My mother is afraid of sharp knives, so she’s probably never been a cutter. My father, however, has a deep, long scar on his face that he’s had since before my mother knew him and he’s never told her how he got it so… He’s always had a psychotic temper; maybe he did attack himself once in the past.

Thank you for this one a lot… I have been trying to hard to come to terms with this issue. This is one thing that never grabbed hold of me personally. Thankfully.

I did cut my finger open once as a child because my imaginary friend demanded blood to become real. I did try to actively leave this life… those are the only two on purpose incidents that have caused me to do this.

But I’m an outsider looking in and need advice. My kid sis of all people… she’s the one who has been fighting this one on top of anorexia. Sometimes I feel I should step in. But other times I think I should let her just work it out by herself. I don’t always know what to do. I find the cuts on the ankles or mid arm… sometimes many weeks later.

It just baffles me and makes me very sad. She’s been going to therapy, she’s tried the red markers and the rubber bands… she tried the decompression… I’m still left feeling unsure and I’ve been hiding the knives… especially the exacto knives.

She’s even been sneaky and made it look more like an art carving and not just straight cuts. But when she does describe the motivation and how… I’m still to upset to really understand why.

It scares the heebies out of me when I read people glorify the euphoria of cutting. I think the therapy is helping my sis… But how does one step in…

I do feel a little better reading this article… there are others just as confused as I am.

I have a friend in my life who is surprised that I’m not more understanding… just because I understand the head circus I fight off… doesn’t mean I understand other’s mental health issues. That sounds mean I know… but I really don’t always understand problems in others… not due to lack of trying.

Hi guys,

rather than going into the details of a personal experience with self harming behaviors my daughter engaged in I would rather go into what might be helpful for someone who has this tendency.

Therapy is great, and awesome and I’m a big fan, but sometimes it takes more than talk therapy, or a variety of therapies in combination before a person can experience real progress, CBT and DBT are two of the therapies which has been shown for many people to be especially effective. Erratica, if you haven’t had the opportunity for this treatment, especially DBT and Surprised J if your sister hasn’t had this it might be worthwhile to explore. Also trying to replace the desire to self harm with another behavior, especially one that is therapeutic and “good for you” may help somewhat. Finding another coping strategy other than self harming! I guess the best strategies depend on people’s goal in self harm, because it varies-for some people it’s about replacing an overwhelming emotional pain with a physical one, and for some people it’s just to feel something. There also seems to be some ‘control issues’ tied up in this behavior, so finding opportunities to recognize the control we all have over our lives and exert that control(and we all have some control over our lives-there are always choices even if we don’t like them) is good. It’s not an easy problem to solve, and not one anyone should have to try and solve alone-I hope people either have good support or reach out to someone in mental health or advocacy groups that can get someone help. I hate to think that on top of the emotional pain people are in they add the shame that comes with repetitive self harm to their difficulties. That is creating a vicious cycle of negative emotions. I am probably not saying anything helpful here, but hang in there, take one moment at a time to deal with this, and for those supporting someone doing this, keep them busy if you sense they are struggling with this at that moment until the moment hopefully passes, and show your love and support for that person.

Everyone ignored my cutting until after a number of years I gave it up myself. I’m glad they didn’t try a lot of therapy on me.
Just my perspective.

Well most my self-harm was due to one of my voices (lena) telling me to. It relieved so much stress. Like when you are in a manic state, it helps unwind you. I haven’t self harmed in years since before my hospitalization, but I still occasionally wrist bang or pop a ponytail against my wrist. its usually nothing personal with schizophrenics, as Ive read. Mostly just an unusual urge that seemingly comes out of nowehre.

Self harm was very distressing for me as a parent, and can be physically dangerous, as well as was not the most beneficial method for my daughter to deal with her distress.

I believe my son burned himself with ciggarettes ( was never sure ) but he was always telling me he couldn`t feel anything anymore. He did a few other things as well, but i am assuming he was just trying to feel something-anything.