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Table of contents
- Self-Injury & Relationships
- How To Date A Woman With A Self-Harming Past
- Self-Harm Scars and Dating, Sex and Intimacy | HealthyPlace
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In messages posted in the months before her death, she claimed: One of her final messages was: Pictures of Tallulah show a doe-like, beautiful young girl. From the outside, it is hard to see how someone like her — a loved, high-achieving child of supportive parents — could have a care in the world. It seems completely irrational. And yet exploring the pages of Tumblr and other sites frequented by girls her age, one thing is clear: This is a world crackling with raw emotion, where reality — and sanity — is distorted beyond all recognition. Most teenagers experience feelings of rejection, whether real or imagined, at one point or another.
But while many may have their anxieties exacerbated by peer pressure or bullying, not all reach straight for the blade. The dark thoughts may be there, and they may well find expression through less harmful routes: But for one in 12 young people, according to the latest numbers from the NSPCC, the compulsion to make their pain flesh, to write it in blood on their own skin, is too hard to resist. Nihara Krause is a clinical psychologist who specialises in helping young people suffering from depression or anxiety.
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She sees a range of ages, from as young as eight to The head of St Margaret's School in Hampstead, where Tallulah moved before she died, said she 'was already a very popular member of our community', despite only having been at the school for a few weeks. Self-harm is often linked to trauma — unpleasant or unwanted sexual experiences, for example — or to low self esteem. But does the internet exacerbate and escalate these emotions? Is the fact that those vulnerable to this behaviour can seek and find others like them online actually encouraging damaging behaviour? Is there a kind of virtual hysteria that sets in, where the sharing of similar sentiments leads to a kind of collective psychosis?
It appears so, as Krause explains. Here they can live out fantasies and create alternate personas to cope. And the extremes they portray have a de-sensitising effect: Tallulah threw herself in front of a train at St Pancras station in London, pictured. This feverish escalation in behaviour is certainly something I found all over the internet.
In that respect, self-harming websites are unpleasantly reminiscent of pro-anorexia websites. There is an atmosphere of competition: I spoke to Clare, aged just 12, who had just started self-harming, in a bid to understand what drove her to such a thing. The child of successful, happily married parents, it seemed extraordinary that she already felt such darkness.
We have each other. I found, for example, a discussion about how best to conceal a blade. The tone of the girls is so matter-of-fact, so practical, they could be discussing any number of innocuous subjects and not, as they are, how best to facilitate self-mutilation. Of course, self-harm is not a new phenomenon. A girl who went to school with me used to do it, and I know of at least two women roughly my age whose grown-up daughters did it in their adolescence.
I also spoke to year-old Angela, who has been cutting herself for several years.
Self-Injury & Relationships
Pretty and highly intelligent, she has already left one school because of bullying. Again, she has a warm, supportive, family. Clare agrees with this feeling of self-admonishment. Perhaps one of the reasons more girls tend to self-harm than boys is because boys are generally much better at externalising their anger.
A boy will kick a ball around, or grab a rival by the scruff of the neck. When boys bully, it tends to be physical, bigger lads picking on smaller ones, or those they perceive as weedy or different. Like so many things now, unimaginable images of self-harm are at our children's fingertips. Girl bullies are different. And girls internalise their suffering, blaming themselves for their failures, rather than their environment. Angela agrees with this, describing her feelings with a tragic poetic eloquence.
I turn my flesh into a canvas for my inner suffering. There is also no question that self-harming is a cry for help. As one self-harmer wrote: The question of what can be done to protect our children from themselves is a complicated one. When I first embarked on this journey, every cell in my body wanted all these pages shut down immediately. Tumblr in particular, where a lot of the action seems to take place, seems to have a criminally blase approach to the situation, with little evidence of monitoring.
Type self-harm into Google, however, and the immediate search results at the top of the page are pretty impeccable: These days, by contrast, children grow up in a confusing and frightening world where their young minds are exposed very early on to all sorts of traumas, thanks to the largely uncensored stream of information that the internet brings through all our front doors.
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So the problem is not the same as that of pornography - almost certainly because, unlike porn, there is no money to be made from self-harm. The more I delved, the more I realised: As both Clare and Angela tell me, the spark that encourages this epidemic of self-harm is their access to the internet.
Think back to when you were a child. You would go from home to school and back again with little awareness of what was going on outside your immediate sphere. I know I did. And not only was I physically shielded from the worst aspects of humanity, I was mentally shielded too. Even for an adult, the relentless stream of negativity, the seediness, the disturbing images which can be chanced upon online, are wearing. Is it any wonder that it can send some fragile young minds over the edge?
How To Date A Woman With A Self-Harming Past
As parents, we have a duty to protect and shield our young from the darker aspects of humanity until they are of an age to cope. The internet is simply no place for a child to be on his or her own. I understand that many of you will be confused, that you're wondering why anyone would want to to hurt themselves and then try to make it better by putting on a plaster. But self-harm often isn't about the long term pain, but about the emotional release at that individual time.
Self-Harm Scars and Dating, Sex and Intimacy | HealthyPlace
I've even heard of people spacing out during the act of self harming and not realizing what they've done until they came back round. I want to look at this at a different approach though: Being a self-harmer in a relationship is a huge thing for me. When my boyfriend and I first started dating he found it strange that I wore long-sleeved tops in summertime, and would wear a towel right to the edge of the swimming pool.
He thought it was odd that I wore long sleeved gloves to my prom, and wouldn't take them off, even for the finger-food. Having scars, and sometimes fresh wounds on my body can be a pain and a hassle, but can also be awkward to brush off. There's only so many times you can say the cat scratched you, before people start to dig deeper.
Until I met my boyfriend I found it very hard to accept my body for what it was. He continually told me I was beautiful, and that even if I had issues with my body, he didn't. When we started talking about having sex together, I started to panic about showing him my scars. I have unsightly marks all down my ribs and thighs, along my forearms, and on my ankles. All places that are really easy to cover up normally, but in the bedroom - not so easy.
It was time to come clean , to tell him I am a self-harmer. It didn't change how he felt about me, but it did put a little strain on our relationship at first. He wasn't sure whether it was okay to go near the scars, he was very protective of me suddenly, and God-forbid anyone make a joke about self harmers in our presence.
It was a strange and different side to him I'd never seen before.
We chatted for hours about why and how and where and every other question he could think of, and I tried to answer each and everyone honestly. It hurts him when I self harm, I know that, but I know it hurts him more when I won't tell him I've done it. He'd rather I tell him, than him finding out in bed. At first it felt really awkward going up to him and trying to tell him what I'd just done, and I think he too found it hard to know what to do or say, but sometimes it's not about the words.
A hug and a murmured 'I love you' can do more for me than a huge long speech. So although self harm is often a horribly misinformed subject, it is possible to self harm and be in a relationship, so here's my advice to anyone who finds that their partner injures themselves as a way of release:.
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Self harm is a coping method, if you don't provide them with another way to cope with their emotions, then they cannot stop, the guilt of having broken a promise to you may incline them to do more harm. It's okay for you to be upset as well, but don't try to force them to talk about anything. Just sitting with them can do a world of good. If your partner tends to want to self harm when their getting stressed, and you see them getting stressed in a certain situation, help to remove them from that situation.