How can I tell my parents about my self harm?
Eventually, time may come where you want your parents [or someone close to you] to know about the pain you are going through. And while it might be scary, embarrassing or difficult to tell people, ultimately the more support you have through what you're suffering, the sooner you can begin to heal.
Depending on how you know someone, you can tell them either face to face or writing a letter.
Letters can be good in that you can clearly write out what needs to be said, and state it how you like before it is given to them. However, discussion will eventually be had after that and you need to be ready for it.
When telling your parents, keep these things in mind:
- They will no doubt feel shocked, and perhaps feel guilt from not noticing, sadness that you're suffering, and maybe anger at not being told sooner. However these emotions will subside and try not to be too upset at how they initially react.
- Explain why you're telling them, and reinforce you are not blaming them for this.
- Understand they will want to ask questions, and be prepared for it. The more they know, the less they will fear. Questions such as "Why?" "How?" "Where?" and "What with?" are common. They may even ask to see your scars, it is at your discretion if you show them or not. If you can provide them with links/hotlines/books they can get support from, this is also helpful. As much information you can provide them about this, the more they will know and understand.
- Pick an appropriate place and time for the discussion, where you will not but rushed or interrupted.
- Beginning the conversation can be difficult. Pluck up all your courage and say something like "I have something important I'd like to discuss" or "Can we please talk for a bit? I have something to tell you..".
- If you see a counsellor, you may like them to help explain it to your parents, and most are happy to have them sit in on an appointment and do this.
And remember, no matter how bad it seems before it's never as bad as we expect. You may even find it helpful for you to get more support, such as a doctor or counsellor, and may find they can help you through some of your struggles.