How to Help a Friend who Self Injurers...
Below, in their own words, those who have self injured have expressed the Do's and Don'ts when dealing with someone who injurers themselves. I thought it would be best to come from the individuals who do this...because who knows better than we do? But also being a researcher and therapist myself, I have checked the content for appropriateness. If you have anything to add, please email or leave me a message and let me know.
In Their Own Words
If they tell you that they are cutting believe them don't brush them off as looking for attention
If your child/friend/loved one is ashamed by it, be respectful and keep your distance if they don't feel like talking...don't force them into it People have to understand that just TELLING them what's bugging us can be extremely relieving....and by actually talking about it....for some of us, that's a big step...and it can be really discouraging and invalidating to ignore or shrug off how we feel.
If we say we haven't SI'ed...for the most part, believe us. It can be really annoying when people don't believe you when you truly haven't.
If you think something's up, just mention it casually...because if we feel pressured, it can be really hard to open up. If you now someone who is cutting and you don’t approve of it (most people don’t approve of it), try very hard to accept that person anyhow. It is ok to express that you don’t approve of it, or don’t understand it, but back that up with saying, "I will not judge you and I will accept you for who you are!" Try to find out what's really going on. Most people SI for relief of emotional pain, anger, etc. Maybe by helping find the underlying cause, you can help stop the destructive behavior. Above all, be kind and gentle, don't criticize
Make jokes or tease them about it. that can really hurt. Tip-toe around a person or not say certain things when they're around (unless they've specifically asked you to) Freak out over the injury. the reason behind it is much more important than the wound itself. if it clearly needs cleaning or stitches, make sure that gets done, but don't get overly upset about it. Never, ever cut a self injurer for them, it may cause permanent emotional and mental damage. (may cause damage of the same matter to yourself as well) Don't get angry at them if you find out they slip, slipping happens Don't tell them to stop and expect them too and that's it, it is a long, hard struggle Don't think 'you' can make them stop, only they can Don't blame it on yourself Don't ask them if it's your fault Don't invade their privacy by searching their room Don't threaten to cut yourself every time they cut Don't make assumptions Don't - say you give up on the person because they slipped up Don't tell them you don't or won't trust them Hide stuff from them Hover over them Act like they have the plague