General Question

Mexicanamerican's avatar

A cry for help or misunderstanding?

Asked by Mexicanamerican (1957points) August 2nd, 2008 from iPhone

A long time friend of mine is going through some rough times. He broke up with his long time gf, he proposed she said no and broke up with him, anyways he is having a really bad time with it, I noticed a few weeks ago scratches on both his arms. He gave me some excuse and I thought nothing of it. Yesterday I noticed the same scratches on both arms and look pretty deep. It’s obvious they are from a knife, he’s 28 years old really cool good job and all, so it’s hard to believe he’d do something like that. I’m not sure how I should bring it up to him.

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8 Answers

syz's avatar

Self mutilation (cutting) is fairly common, although more usually among teens. As far as talking to him, I guess it depends on your relationship as to how to go about it. I wouldn’t ignore it, though. Perhpas there is a help hotline that you can talk to for guidance?

La_chica_gomela's avatar

as per syz’s suggestion, perhas the Hopeline? ( It’s 1–800-SUICIDE

jrpowell's avatar

Please call 1–800-273-TALK (8255) to ask for advise on this. They can help more then any of us can.

It is the phone number for people trained for things like this.

edit :: Some things the Internet sucks at. This is one of those things.

marinelife's avatar

“Here””: is a list of the warning signs. Please talk to your friend. This is usually something people need to get help with. Do some reading yourself to understand more about the condition before you talk to him.

”#Warning Signs. Warning signs that someone is injuring themselves include: unexplained frequent injury including cuts and burns, wearing long pants and sleeves in warm weather, low self-esteem, difficulty handling feelings, relationship problems, and poor functioning at work, school or home.
Incidence & onset. Experts estimate the incidence of habitual self-injurers is nearly 1% of the population, with a higher proportion of females than males. The typical onset of self-harming acts is at puberty. The behaviors often last 5–10 years but can persist much longer without appropriate treatment.
Background of self-injurers. Though not exclusively, the person seeking treatment is usually from a middle to upper class background, of average to high intelligence, and has low self-esteem. Nearly 50% report physical and/or sexual abuse during his or her childhood. Many report (as high as 90%), that they were discouraged from expressing emotions, particularly anger and sadness.”

Please let us know what happens. Thank you for caring about your friend.

tinyfaery's avatar

Cutting, whether we like it or not, is a coping skill for dealing with overwhelming emotions. There is a degree of attention seeking to this behavior; cutters need attention to their pain, they are actually seeking help by cutting in obvious places, places that can easily be seen. (Some people cut in places no one can see, which is much more severe.)

I wouldn’t over-react, but do not take it lightly. The more attention given to your friend, regarding the cutting, the more his needs will be satiated, and the more likely he is to repeat the action. Ask him point blank if he injured himself. If he over-reacts, and becomes extremely defensive, chances are he did cut himself. Just let him know that you are worried about him, and that you are willing to help him through his problems. He should seek the advice of a therapist ASAP. If the cutting becomes a pattern, and a legitimate way for him to conquer his overwhelming emotions, the liklihood of the behavior continuing is greatly increased.

marinelife's avatar

Source for my post above. (Messed up the link. Sorry.)

gailcalled's avatar

You may also want to contact his family and alert them.

delirium's avatar

If it is in a public place, he wants some kind of help about it. Tell him that you’re worried about him and you care about him. Get him out of his house and don’t let him just sit alone.
Cutting is an addiction. Sooner is better than later. PM me I’d you’d like more personal details.

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