Springingtiger's Blog


Further thoughts on Self Harm

I know how painful it can be for a parent to discover their child is self harming. If you are anything like me the first reaction is to wonder what you have done wrong, how have you failed them. You will rack your brains for the tell-tale signs you missed that might have enabled you to intervene sooner. Where the self harming produces visible scars you will, perhaps, experience a terrible sadness at their permanence and the knowledge that they will always exist as a reminder of the circumstances that occasioned them. If you are anything like me the discovery may well compel you to withdraw so that you can bang your head or bite yourself as you try to cope with the flood of emotions suddenly unleashed upon you.

Self harm, one might suppose – as I always have – is something other people do. It was only a few days ago when my manager called my head slapping and hand biting, “self harming” that my perspective changed. The knuckles on my index fingers are ugly lumps because I chewed them away, the side of my index finger is a permanent callous from years of biting, and my head is frequently bruised. I had thought of self harm as the preserve of those suffering some sort of mental perturbation whereas I am the very model of rationality – there are those who might not agree! It is bad enough agonising over whether one is responsible for one’s child’s self harming, but now I have the added question, is self harming something I have passed on as a genetic inheritance?

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