Teenage Cutting - What It Is and How to Get Self Injury Help

teenage cutting

"Battle Scars"

by Melisa Steele

"When I shove you in my vein you suck out all the pain…" This sad and painful quote was found on a self injury help message board. But with teenage cutting and to the teenage cutter, when their body hurts it allows them to forget how much their heart hurts. And that’s not how God wants you to feel. You are a beautiful, wonderfully made child of His and "you are precious and honored in His sight and He loves you!" (Isaiah 43:4) He is always shining in our darkness, although sometimes “the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:5)

What is Teenage Cutting?

Teenage Cutting is a form of self injury that involves deliberately inflicting wounds and cuts on ones body. It is a serious issue and its victims are held captive in a very dark and lonely cell. Most people who self injure are not trying to commit suicide and are not crazy. They just don’t know how to deal with what’s going on in the inside of them, where as a physical wound is something they can see and gives them something to tend to. They see the physical pain as easier to cope and deal with.

Teens that self injure will feel as if they are nothing, that they don’t matter and that no one cares for them or what they are going through. They have a hard time expressing their emotions because the enemy has made them feel ashamed and they cut themselves in an attempt to deal with other problems they are having – to them it is a release.

Yes, to its victims cutting releases tension, stress, and anger, to some it is a release for everything. If they are having a bad day or if they feel they have messed up cutting can make everything feel ok and they can stop beating themselves up about it. Besides providing a release cutting will sometimes offer an atonement making them feel as if they have punished themselves for what they did or how they feel.

For those experiencing self-hatred touching their wound will remind them of what they have done and that they are not allowed to hate themselves. Their feelings and guilt will seem to float out on the blood leaving them feeling calm. The scars will often help them to feel like their pain is real. To them it is like a battle scar reminding them that they have been through something and no one can tell them otherwise. When they hurt enough to injure themselves it means they were in emotional pain. Deep inside many hide pain. I encourage anyone experiencing these feelings to call to the Lord and He will answer; Cry out to help from Him and He will say, Here I Am (Isaiah 58:9 )

I also want to express that you are not alone. You are never alone, that’s just what Satan wants you to believe.

Who is Impacted?

Self injury does not discriminate and self injurers come from all walks of life. People who harm themselves can be male, female, straight, gay, or bisexual; they can be doctors, high-school dropouts or high-school students; rich, poor or from any country in the world. Self injury is an addiction that affects 3 million Americans, 2 million of whom purposely cut or burn themselves. Teenage cutting begins at the average age of 14, in fact 90% of self injurers start at roughly this age.

More than half of self injurers are victims of abuse, and most report emotionally abusive or neglectful childhoods. The most common adult injurers are in the profession of are teacher, nurse and manager.

But "God is your hiding place: He will protect you from trouble and surround you with songs of deliverance." Psalm 32:7

One Girl's Story...

Self-Injury Help - How to deal with Teenage Cutting

Self injury is a cycle. Not only is it a way to release emotions, but it can also become a physical addiction as well. That is one reason it can be so hard to quit. Some who have been involved in self injury say they actually feel physical withdrawals when trying to stop.

Therefore, like drugs and alcohol, self injury can become an addiction. And as you could have guessed there are better ways to deal with troubles than self-injury cutting and although cutting can be a difficult pattern to break, it is possible. With God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)

The First Step...

The first step with any addiction is to admit you have a problem and need help. I encourage you to come to God and ask for His help. Cry out to Him and share your pain with Him. You may need to ask for forgiveness.... and don't forget about forgiving yourself as well. However, don't allow the enemy to get you caught up in a cycle of shame and feeling bad about yourself. True guilt is different from shame. Shame says, "I'm a bad person" and that's not true. You are loved by God no matter what you've done or what's been done to you. Once you're ready to make a change, you have to decide if you're willing to change directions.

Tell Someone

The hardest step is telling someone. This will take courage but once you find someone you trust and confide in them you will feel a great sense of relief. If verbally telling someone is too difficult you can always write a note. If the person you tell doesn’t offer assistance, tell someone else. Adults have the tendency to downplay issues and problems often classifying it as just a phase. There are people who will listen.

Who can you tell? Here are some ideas of who you can talk to:

  • Your parents,
  • Youth pastor,
  • School counselor,
  • School teacher
  • Trusted friend
  • Self Injury Hotline

There are also free Christian hotlines, Like Door of Hope 4 Teens (1-888-HOPE-307), available to talk to people who understand.

Some people choose to use the internet but even though the internet makes possible what hasn't been possible before by bringing people with similar situations together please be careful as there are sites out there whose only intentions are keeping you caught up in the cycle of self injury.

You May Benefit from Counseling

Trying to figure out the cause of cutting yourself may be tough...

  • Is it anger?
  • Pressure to be perfect?
  • Relationship trouble?
  • A painful loss or trauma?
  • Mean criticism or mistreatment?

Many people have trouble figuring this part out on their own. But there is no shame in getting professional help to overcome the problem- this does not mean that you are weak! Therapists and counselors are trained to help people discover inner strengths that help them heal. These inner strengths can then be used to cope with life's other problems in a healthy way. There are also churches that offer prayer, encouragement and support groups. The Lord will guide your steps (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Work on it, there is a lot to dealing with past hurts and finding better ways to handling life’s stresses. Once you identify what triggers your urge to cutting yourself, make a commitment to make the decision, a promise to yourself that you will not follow through with it but replace it with something else instead. Make plans on what this will be so it’s place for the next time you feel the need.

Coping Skills

Urges will pass if you wait them out. The more you wait without giving in, the more your urges will decrease over time so try distracting yourself with something – call a friend, take a shower, play with a pet. Walking is a great way to help with any depression and other forms of exercise provide releases from tension.

You may also try writing poetry or drawing, these are great ways to get the feelings on the inside out and that’s the goal. You are on a mission to find a new, healthy release to replace the painful, hurtful one you’ve grown accustomed to. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:5-6)

Click here for a complete list of 117 healthy coping skills

Resources

I don't know all that each of you are going through and the pain you hold inside. But, there are people who do.

  1. If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide please call 911 or 1-800-SUICIDE and go to the nearest emergency room. Read our article on Teen Suicide Help as well as our Teen Suicide Resources including hotlines, websites, books and a download-able safety plan.
  2. Free online bible study to help break the cycle of self injury called, "By His Wounds." You can sign up for free here
  3. Supportive website www.yourstory.info where others share their stories of struggling with self injury and overcoming it.
  4. Print off this list of 117 healthy coping skills - and use them when the urges come to self injure.
  5. Read this poem about self injury
  6. Share your story with us so that we can encourage you and pray for you. Share your story here...

How Can I Help My Friend?

If you know someone who is struggling with self-injury cutting do not approach them with anger, that is the last thing they need. Do not turn your back on them, they need you...more than you know. Be kinder than usual to everyone you meet for everyone is going through some kind of battle.

However, do not feel like you have to carry this burden alone. Make sure to tell a trusted adult (teacher, guidance counselor, youth pastor, etc.) to find help and support for your friend. You are not meant to carry this alone.

More Help for Teen Girls...

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