Strategies and advice for people who cut

Here is a list of ideas for people who cut. As you read them, keep in mind that teens are totally capable of being in control and taking responsibility of their lives when they feel good about themselves. If you have bad feelings about yourself, if you feel shame, embarrassed or unworthy, then it can be difficult to move forward in your life. This is what Tara learned. She learned that to grow up she needed to take responsibility and control in her life.  When she did that she began to feel happy again.

Just how do you take responsibility and gain control? How can a cutter reach the deeper pain inside in a safe way? Here are three steps to take:

1. Confide in someone: Talk to someone you trust.  We highly recommend that you seek the help of a trained professional as well. Cutting is a sign that you may have some intense emotions to work through. Sorting through intense emotions is difficult for anyone! A professional can help you sort them out and make you feel more in control of your life.

 2. Identify your triggers:  When are you most likely to cut? What events trigger the feeling that you need to cut? Break it down… you cut when you feel____________.  You feel______________ because of what? What happened?Understanding the people, places and events that trigger cutting can help you to start to feel more in control.  When you know your trigger points, you can learn strategies to manage the situation and begin to resolve the underlying feelings those situations bring to the surface.


3. Develop alternative coping strategies: Here are just a few Tara suggested:

Delay the cutting. When you have an urge to cut, replace the cutting with something else and count to 100 if you can. If you can only count to 10 at first, that’s great, too. But keep counting. Think of other things you like to do as you are counting and try to do them to distract and change the previous end goal of cutting.

• Imagine yourself as someone who used to cut, not as someone who cuts now. If you want to stop, begin to see yourself as stopped. Do you want to stop?

• Replace the cutting behavior with self-soothing behavior. This is great once you’ve realized that you are good enough, talented enough, nice enough, smart enough and worthy enough of love and support and all that stuff that makes YOU the great person that you are. But people who cut usually do not believe in themselves like that. So, before you can try to soothe yourself (hot bath, long walk, hot chocolate, etc.) you need to truly believe that you are worth it.

• What do you think about before you cut? Is there a thought that triggers your desire to cut? Change the thought. Replace the thought with something wonderful, or at least nice, about yourself. Learn about mantras here.

• What do you think and feel after you cut? What else makes you think and feel that way? Try to make these connections between your thinking/feeling self with what you are doing about it. See if you can shift from the cutting to another behavior.

• Download an application: to help with emotions, mindfulness and more.

Post Question:

What strategies might you use to stop cutting if you did cut?

Answer the post question here

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