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Vincent_Lloyd's avatar

How can I have my girlfriend stop this habit? (detail inside)

Asked by Vincent_Lloyd (2954 points ) April 13th, 2011

Well…As some may know I have a girlfriend, I love her and I plan to be with her for….forever..But she’s had big issues in her life…She has a bad family, she hasn’t lived a good life up until she met me…Or so she claims…But she cuts herself and is suicidal, but I prevent her from killing herself….There’s been…SO much going on…I can’t handle it with out me sort of crying in the inside, it’s emotional and I don’t like her cutting herself or trying to suffocate herself…She’s promised me to stop all this…But as I know..and I’ve read, a lot of people can’t seem to stop sadly… But I have changed her life dramatically. Please fluther, for the sake of me, and maybe even a life at danger from herself…Please…how do I stop this? I don’t like knowing that something may happen (natural disaster, someone taking her, killing her from an unknown figure, etc…) that will kill her…And knowing that she wants to kill herself. Please, help me, I’m with her because I love her with all my heart, I don’t want anything to happen to her, I don’t want her to harm herself anymore or keep choking herself anymore. I’m in desperate need. Please again. Thank you…(Also friend of hers died today from a horrible car crash Junetha Crystal Centeno aka JC. May you R.I.P.)

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33 Answers

Hibernate's avatar

So sad…

She needs some counseling ..maybe it will help.

You can try to be there for her and eventually she’ll see and understand your love. Takes time to overcome the past.

KateTheGreat's avatar

Please tell me she has been to a psychologist. How old are you? Is it possible for you guys to just move away and get away from the situation? You honestly need to get her help. You can’t stop this yourself and she most likely won’t stop unless a deep intervention goes on. Just be there all you can for her. This is really sad, so I hope that you will be able to find a solution soon.

Vincent_Lloyd's avatar

@KatetheGreat We’re still young…But She still lives a hard life now… But I’m there for her, I’ve told her that I’m always here with open arms and ears. And that I’ll listen to her, she says she bottles up her emotion and that sometimes causes the cutting…But I mean…I don’t want to do anything that will break us apart… I don’t want to hurt her thinking that she’s insane or anything, she just needs help on the issue…And if she told her parents..I’m not sure what would happen…they don’t have much love her, at least what I see.

Hibernate's avatar

You need to consider that aspect too.
If it’s best for her to break up then you need to let her go .
Forget the is she comes back it was yours quote…
Even if you guys are young you need to treat this situation like grown’ups

Vincent_Lloyd's avatar

yeah…I understand what you mean…Still…I want more options as time passes…But I do respect your answer @Hibernate

Hibernate's avatar

Time won’t provide more options time might even take some away.

Do act fast.

augustlan's avatar

I’m sorry to tell you this @Vincent_Lloyd, but you can’t get her to stop feeling and acting the way she does. Only she can do that. She needs far more help than you are capable of giving her… she needs to be in therapy. About the only thing you can do is urge her to find a good therapist. Please don’t try to bear the responsibility for her safety and well-being all by yourself.

BarnacleBill's avatar

The way that you can help her is to encourage her to get counseling. People cut to relieve themselves of psychological pain; their intention is not to kill themselves. She is going to need help to feel that she has control over her life in a healthier way.

math_nerd's avatar

My sister used to cut herself. It was pretty bad. It is a damn mess.

My advice is to let her know you love her and you care and will do your best to help her be healthy and happy. Let her know that you care and want to make sure she has a good life.

Then you run the risk of her calling you in the middle of the night blaming you for her suicide. I have seen it happen. You kinda painted yourself into a corner here. It is time to talk to a adult that is local.

RareDenver's avatar

I used to know this girl
Who gave her love away
To every guy she met
With all the games they played
She never seemed to cry
She never got upset
And one by one they came
And one by one they left

I thought that I could fix her
If she would let me in
But all of my advances
Were shut down in the end
When days turned into months
I begged her to explain
And this is what she sang

It’s not like I’m a slut
Or that I really like to fuck
I just want every boy I see
To walk away with part of me
Until there’s nothing left to hold
Until there’s nothing left to hate
I appreciate your help
But even you can’t save me from myself

I used to know this boy
Who took notes in a book
But he ripped out all the pages
Before I got a look
At all the words he scribbled
At all the lines he filled
But the ink stains on his fingers
Told me he was skilled

At capturing a feeling
That most of us just miss
The simple pain of living
With goodbyes on our lips
I found one of the pages
Crumpled by her bed
And this is how it read

It’s not like I am weak
Or that I don’t know how to leave
It’s just that every time you cheat
You bring me closer to defeat
Until there’s nothing left to love
Until there’s nothing left to say
I know that you need help
But even I can’t save you from yourself

Japenese Gum – Her Space Holiday

Bagardbilla's avatar

Through school or County health services, (or private Insurance if possible) get her into counciling! Then… just be there for her. That’s all You can do, the rest will have to be Her efforts and desire to be in a better future.
I’m sorry for your Friend’s loss and pain you two are suffering from…
I wish you the very best.

mrentropy's avatar

@Vincent_Lloyd, your girlfriend doesn’t have a habit, she has a mental illness. This doesn’t mean that she’s “crazy,” but it does mean that it’s not something that’s going to be fixed easily. And I will tell you right off the bat that you’re not going to be able to fix it.

I’m going to agree with @BarnacleBill in that she’s not self-harming to kill herself, she’s doing it to try and relieve the pain that she feels on the inside. Pain that she’s going to feel no matter how much you’re there for her, no matter how much you care for her, no matter how much of yourself that you’re willing to give up for her. Even if you could whisk her away, right now, and lead a life of perfection she will still be feeling that pain.

Yes, the girl needs therapy. And the sooner the better. I’m going to assume that she’s not a substance abuser, yet. There’s very little doubt in my mind that she’ll become one if she doesn’t get into therapy. It’s better to go into therapy before there’s a monkey riding on her back because once she’s self-medicating all the focus will be on that rather than what’s causing it.

And this brings us around to something that I see as being a problem: your age. If you’re lucky you can convince this girl to initiate something. Going through the school would probably be the easiest way for her to get help. Eventually, though, the parents will have to be involved. Unless child protective services become involved, and that can bring on a whole different set of issues. There’s a limit to what you can do, not being an adult.

So, I’ll go along with the others and say that your best bet is to try and convince her to get the help that she needs. Yeah, she might get angry with you and think that you’re implying that she’s crazy. Yeah, she might stop talking to you (for a while, anyway, but you’re a sympathetic ear that she may not be able to get from other people). The question you have to ask yourself is, do you care enough about her to give her up if you had to? Would you rather go through a short-time pain or a long-term pain?

And speaking of you, @Vincent_Lloyd, do yourself a favor and find someone to talk to, also. I know you’re hurting. As a guess I’d say that you feel that other people aren’t quite understanding what you’re going through and their advice isn’t quite meshing with what you feel you need to do. Get yourself some help, also through your school if need be.

The road that you’re setting out upon is very long, very rough, and very dark. Once you’re on it, getting off it is also very difficult. A part of loving someone is accepting that you can’t save them from their self, not by yourself.

john65pennington's avatar

This problem is way above your head. Are you sure her parents are not aware of her mental state? How could she hide this from them? If you really want to help her, then have a heart to heart talk with her parents. They will listen. If they do not, then you call the police and let them handle this situation. Love comes in many forms and you calling the police is just one of those forms.

Cutting herself is one thing, but trying to suffocate herself is something entirely different. Both are a form of attempted suicide and suicide is a law violation.

Help her and help yourself to understand her. Call the police for her first step evaluation.

CaptainHarley's avatar

The best thing you can do is encourage her to seek psychological help, and continue to love and support her. You’ve chosen a hard, hard path and I wish you luck.

If you don’t mind, I will pray for you both.

MilkyWay's avatar

I understand that you are in a tight spot and that you want to help your girlfriend, but the truth is you can’t. She needs some professional help. It will all take time but I’m sure she will feel much better after seeing a therapist/counseller. The best you can do to help her is to give her the emotional support she needs to make the decision of seeing a professional.
I hope you’ll find a way to get help and you both will be in my prayers.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Queenie’s right. She needs a professional. And queenie, that’s one hell of an answer. Helping her to see that is wise beyond your years.

stardust's avatar

@Vincent_Lloyd It’s really clear how much you love your gf and that you’d be willing to do anything to help her. Unfortunately, your gf has to want to stop self harming. I speak as someone who has self-harmed in the past. It is not usually a suicide attempt, but a need to relieve the build up of emotions people are yet unable to express. If she’s willing, seeing a therapist would be a good start. If she’s not ready to delve into deeper stuff from her past, CBT might help. There are many things out there to help with this. You cannot take this on by yourself. I agree with @queenie She definitely needs some professional help. Good luck!

MilkyWay's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe You’ve made me blush now

janbb's avatar

If I remember rightly, you are about 14 now. This is way above your head. You can be a good friend to her but she needs professional help.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@queenie It didn’t click with me that getting her to agree to go in for some professional help may be the toughest part of getting her well. Admitting she needs the help isn’t going to be easy.

blueiiznh's avatar

Sadly you can’t save her, and you can’t stop her.
She has to save herself and has to stop this herself.
You are being supportive and helpful, but she needs to see a therapist to get what she needs to work through this.
You should also get your own therapy as you are codependent to her at this point.

Meego's avatar

I think many of the answers are the proper ones. I agree that you can’t save her yourself because she has almost an addiction if you will and the panic alarm makes her want to shut down. Sometimes I think people lack the skills to cope during stressful or tragic times. When she is in this mode I advise you do whatever necessary to pull her out even if it means threatening to phone 911, that way help will be given to her before it’s too late. If you can’t deal with her ways maybe you need to move on if she is not willing to make a difference but you need to make that clear to her. Just let her know she needs to learn some basic coping skills with her anxiety, and maybe even anxiety meds, usually thats what’s causes this type of behaviour. Let her know how you would feel planning a funeral for her because god forbide if she ends up finalising what she started you get to cope with it all—not fair specially if it’s premature, I would tell her it will hurt like hell to leave her alive but it would kill your soul to bury her dead. I will pray for you 2 to find the right path.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

She needs professional help. If she has a bad family, her problems could be very deep-seated and very difficult to correct. It could also be an inherited chemical imbalance, for all we know. The dynamics of your relationship with her is very unhealthy, too.

My first husband committed suicide. It was years after we split up, but when I was with him, he threatened it alot. He cut his wrists a few times, very superficially. I thought he was just being a big baby, or doing it for sympathy and attention. Maybe he was, but then one day he did it. Locked himself in his BMW in the garage with the motor running.

One trap you don’t EVER want to fall into is the role of being responsible for her. She is an adult. The responsibility to act like one is hers. Insist on her seeing a therapist – get joint therapy, but don’t follow her around, ready to save her from herself. You just really don’t want to live your life like that.

wundayatta's avatar

As everyone has told you, she needs to see a psychiatrist, to see if meds will help her, and she needs to see a therapist regularly, and attend a support group for cutters.

It sounds like her main problem is that she doesn’t believe her parents will help. I’m sure she has good reason to believe this. I never would have shared—well, I never did share my problems with my parents at you age. Or afterwards.

It would help in figuring out a strategy to get her help if we knew the specifics about her relationship with her parents, and why she doesn’t trust them. Clearly they have problems of their own. Maybe they don’t believe in psychology. Maybe they’ve abused her. Almost certainly they’ve beaten down her self image until she thinks she’s a lump of shit.

That doesn’t mean they won’t help her. Maybe if she comes out, and shows them what she is doing, and asks for help, they might all get help. That would be best.

First, though, she should find another adult to talk to. Preferably someone she trusts, but it could be a counselor at school. She needs the help of someone who is trained to deal with these things. I know you love her, but even with all the best advice we can give you, you will not be equipped to help her. Like @blueiiznh said, your relationship with her is too intertwined for you to be able to gain the distance you need to help her.

She *has to ask an adult for help!!!!!*

The issue then becomes who? If you tell us about the adults in her life who aren’t her parents, we can help you help her strategize about who might be best to talk to. She should tell them what she’s doing and what is wrong with her relationships with her parents, and ask how she can get help without making things worse with her parents.

*******************
This is for your understanding. As @mrentropy said, she is doing this as a coping mechanism for a deep psychological pain she feels. When you are depressed enough to want to die, you have to distract yourself. Cutting yourself causes pain and it helps you focus away from what is really hurting you. I’m sure she wants to die because her relationship with her parents makes her feel like she’d be doing them a favor by dying. Something along those lines, anyway.

She may not be conscious of her motivation. That’s why therapy is so important. It will help her see where her pain comes from. It will also help her figure out how to cope with it.

Oh. Another idea. What is your relationship with your parents? Another way to take this is to get them involved, assuming they are better parents than hers. We had a question from CAK a while back about whether her daughter should inform her friends parents that her friend was pregnant. The friend was deathly afraid of them. Something like that, anyway.

The consensus was that the girl needed help. Your love needs help. You may feel it is being disloyal to her to tell your parents, but don’t forget, we are talking about a life here. Your parents may not be the right ones, but you’ve got to find someone you trust.

@Vincent_Lloyd I do believe you are a smart person. I’m sure you want to save her, yourself. I think you realize you are out of your depth here. I applaud your impulse to help and your realization that you are not someone who can provide the help she needs. I wish you luck in this. Please get an adult, preferably an expert, involved.

buster's avatar

If you really think she is going to hurt herself or is take her tom the emergency room or call the cops. I had a crazy girlfriend that turned up a bottle of pills and started cutting herself. If a hospital or cop thinks you are going to kill yourself they will restrain you, give you a sedative then usually the suicidal person gets a mental escort which is usually a county sheriff deputy putting you in cuffs and driving you to the nearest psychiatric hospital facility with an available bed where you will be involuntarily held for at least 72 hours. You get medical care doctors nurses and therapy while you are there. Then when you do get out they try and steer you toward mental health services in your area and usually send you home with medication.

SpatzieLover's avatar

If you are 14, as @janbb stated, then you need to go to your school psychologist for yourself. He/she should be able to give you some pointers as to how to communicate to your how to get counseling for your gf.

JLeslie's avatar

What I want to say is life gets better. Being an adult has so much more happiness and freedom for most people than being a teen. She must reach out for help from a counselor. i recommend calling a suicide hotline 1–800-273–8255 and seeing if they can suggest something or someone in your area that can help. Reassure her she is not alone, and that many people have felt like her, have been in horrible pain, and have come through it. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

wundayatta's avatar

You have to be careful about calling suicide hotlines, or having other people call them. The hotlines often dispatch police, and suddenly she’ll have ten cop cars surrounding her house and the cat will most definitely be out of the bag. Cops have no clue when it comes to mental illness. Far better to visit an ER on your own.

amykloster's avatar

This is too much for any partner to take on! It does not make for a healthy relationship by any stretch of the imagination. I have been in a very similar place as she is now and I had to finally come to the point that I realized that only I could truly help myself and when I reached that place I started doing everything I could to get better. Going to counseling, exercising regularly, doing yoga, taking up activities that make your heart happy. It is not fair to her or you that the burden of her depression is being put fully on you. You need to encourage her to get help, but you need to also realize that in someways you may be making it a little too easy for her to not help herself, if that makes any sense. You can be there for her, but you need to be firm about her making positive changes for the health and happiness of you both! My heart goes out to you and realize that her acting out is in no way a reflection of you or anything you have done wrong and you deserve to have someone that looks out for you as well. Relationships need to be balanced. There is an incredible song by a band called Hot Chip which I love that addresses this. The chorus is plainly, “Look after me, and I’ll look after you. It’s something we both forgot to do.” Simple, but so incredibly true.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Let me rethink my previous answer, now that I know how young you are. I would say, at your age, to alert the authorities about the situation – tell your school counselor who is trained to deal with this sort of thing. Then you friend will get the help she needs.

As for you, you are way too young to be that involved with even a normal, healthy girl, let alone one that has such serious problems. You have your whole life to deal with grown-up problems. Don’t borrow trouble!

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta I just meant he could call and get some info maybe? Say he is concerned about someone.

wundayatta's avatar

I know @JLeslie, but I just found out that sometimes their help is worse than not getting help. One person in my group called a hot line and said she was thinking about suicide. Next thing she knew there were ten cop cars parked outside on the street and her door was being broken down. She did not need this. She needed help, not the crime squad.

From what I’ve heard, I am trusting those hot lines less and less. I’m sure some are good. But what I’m saying is that you have to be careful, because they can overreact and that can be very harmful.

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta Good to know. I don’t know much about the national suicide hotline. The Psych hospital I worked for used to give out a number for suicidal people, there was a group which met also. Maybe there is something local like that where the OP lives? i guess maybe they can get trace information from your phone like 911 if you call some of these hotlines? Is that what happened to the person in your group? He didn’t give his location, but they traced it, or could figure it out with caller ID?

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