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Daughter self Harming - how to manage my own feelings about it?

Daughter self Harming - how to manage my own feelings about it?

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Casual scribe

Daughter self Harming - how to manage my own feelings about it?

We recently discover my daughter (12) has been self harming. We've been to the gp and have an appointment with camhs. Today we were supposed to be going shopping to look at alternative coping resources (journals, relaxation books etc). It was a disaster. Even my attempts at regular chat just kept getting shut down. When we got home I gave her her things and told her I wasn't going to have the chat with her today (she only wants us to check in about it twice a week, not in the car) and I burst into tears. I told her she wasn't the only one who has feelings. Prior to today I have been trying so hard to keep communication open, focus on connection and empathy. I feel like I failed her today and I am really struggling with my own reaction today. I am going to access EAP through work. I just feel like I am getting no where. Any advice would be so welcome.
Frequent scribe

Re: Daughter self Harming - how to manage my own feelings about it?

Hello,

 

I can’t begin to imagine your situation, it seems that you are overwhelmed and you are right, you too have feelings and you are a person that also needs care.

 

If possible, make sure that your daughter can be with someone where she is safe, even in the house, in another room for a few minutes, it is good that you take these few minutes to yourself to do your meditation, your breathing exercises to ground yourself and get back on the game ready to use your wise mind and not your emotional (Which understandably is very high). Nothing wrong with crying, it doesn’t mean you are weak, don’t feel bad about yourself.

 

You seem to be doing what you can. I imagine its hard to wanting to communicate and being shut down. I hope someone can give you a better advice, I just needed to reach out to you as many times I felt the same way.

 

 

 

Mod

Re: Daughter self Harming - how to manage my own feelings about it?

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Hey @Le-cheile, I am sorry to hear that this is something you are going through. It is so hard when the people we love (especially our children) start to harm themselves. You sound like you have been really proactive in seeking help for your daughter through coping resources, the GP and CAMHS. It is also really important that you are looking after yourself at this time, as it is difficult for you too, so EAP may be a really great way to get some extra support. It can be so challenging to have tough conversations with our kids as we hate to see them in pain or struggle and we can feel it through them. This may be a very reasonable explanation for your reaction and in recognition of your want to change this, how do you think that is to be achieved?

 

Here is an article on supporting a teenager who uses self harm, let us know if you find it useful. Every situation is different although connection, empathy and communication are awesome. Sometimes if you are unsure of how best to help your daughter, just ask Smiley Happy 

 

Safety is paramount, so if you ever feel like medical attention is required or thoughts of suicide/suicidal behavior is present, please call 000. 

Super frequent scribe

Re: Daughter self Harming - how to manage my own feelings about it?

Hi @ Le-cheile it's devastating to hear when your child is self harming it sounds like you are doing all the right things. My daughter has been self harming on and off for a couple of years. It's something I find hard to speak to her about. She is seeing a psychologist and psychiatrist and is on medication but I'm not sure how much she has discussed it with them. I found some things she had hidden when we moved recently. Unfortunately if I speak to her about it she feels ashamed. I will have to speak to her psychologist about it and get her to discuss it. It's very painful for me knowing I can't help her.
Parent Community Champion

Re: Daughter self Harming - how to manage my own feelings about it?

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@Le-cheile I can only echo what others have already said - thank you for opening up with conversation though, it's a really important one. Looking after yourself while you navigate the complexities of your teen's mental health is crucial. 

@Tulip that's a really difficult situation too - that feeling of not being able to "do more" must be really painful. 
Like you've said of @Le-cheile , it sound's like you're giving your daughter all the right supports, with a psychologist and psychiatrist - that in and of itself will show your daughter that you care, and are supporting her. 

 

You might both be interested in a discussion we had over here about self-harm with other members of the forum a few weeks ago. You'll find that it's a really common concern for parents on this forum. People have shared really valuable insights and skills  - please feel free to add your own as well. 

 

 

 

Super frequent scribe

Re: Daughter self Harming - how to manage my own feelings about it?

Hi @gina-Ro thanks for your support I will have a read.
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Casual scribe

Re: Daughter self Harming - how to manage my own feelings about it?

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful and helpful replies. There's some comfort in not being alone in this type of situation. I will check out the suggested link. As has been said, I hope everyone has support to turn to and takes care of themselves. Thank you again
Mod

Re: Daughter self Harming - how to manage my own feelings about it?

We're always here to listen and share experiences @Le-cheile Heart

Active scribe

Re: Daughter self Harming - how to manage my own feelings about it?

I am reading this tears. 

I also discovered my 12 year old self harm, looks like she started 3 weeks back at a sleep away camp. She has always been shy and nervous since she was a baby. She is academic very advanced and very good at emotional writing. I always associated her emotion like artist, it will always be her big obstacle in her life. 

She has always been very close to me and my husband. My husband is the nicest person in this world. They are very close. They are connected in a playful ways, they play video game, read the same books, and daddy is listening all the songs  she is listening to.

Whenever she has emotional problem, she comes to me, we do a lot of girl talk.

All this sounds good. 

There is one problem, I am 95% perfect mom, close to her heart, 5% I can be very short tempered, when she is under pressure and under stress, I can not handle. 

Whenever I break down, I am very frustrated, feel horrible I failed her and this happy family. I always tell my husband she and I are the same. 

So when I saw her self harm( I have not found a plan how to go about helping her yet) , I always feel most likely it is caused by me, by me adding her pressure that she is bad at dealing with in the first place. That feeling makes me really sad.   

Active scribe

Re: Daughter self Harming - how to manage my own feelings about it?

after this 3 weeks sleep away camp, she came home with a big change. She is on the chat all the time. She had this problem before, but it was problem only 1 or 2 hours a day. Now she is on it all the time. It is like she is obsessed. 

After I found she self harm, I feel so sorry for her, so I changed my approach dealing with the on line chatting. Even she was on it for 1 hour, I would still patiently said to her, last 20 minutes, I hugged her 100 times a day. I made her to tell me what is bothering her, and told her my suggestion. That one afternoon, she was happy as she was 10. I was so happy. 

But she still chat a lot. If I stop her too many times ( she is on it so long, I already only stop problem 1/10 times that I wanted her tell her), then I realized that totally annoyed her. She harmed herself, telling her online friends that " she is yelling, now I am doing it" Now I am facing this dilemma "should I stop her phone usage or not?" 

Anybody spent that much time chatting in the virtual world, it is hard to stay mentally happy. 

If I stop her, I am adding her stress. 

 

I am also not sure if I should start limiting the phone usage( remove the dataplan), shut down the WIFI at some hours. If I did not find her self harm, I probably would interfere already. 

Now I am struggling to find a way that I can limit her online time, at the same time not add a big fight. 

I registered her as many sport activities I can. Try to change her ambitious online math class to a human tutor. I know it will be a long battle. 

 

Anyone has good suggestion about limiting online chatting?