Helping Those Who Self-harm (Cutters, etc.)

It can be a frightening thing to learn that someone you love is self-harming, but there are some things you can do to help.

(1) Do not assume the person is demon-possessed – Certainly demon possession can result in self-harming behavior, but this type of occurrence is extremely rare. Christians who assume that casting out a demon is the answer actually stigmatize self-harmers, causing more isolation and further emotional anguish. This is exactly the opposite of the intended outcome.

(2) Have compassion – People who self-harm are hurting, not so much from the cuts or burns they inflict upon themselves, but from painful thoughts, memories and emotions. They need compassion and understanding, for their external wounds are their way of showing their internal pain.

(3) Be ok with uncomfortable conversations – The conversation you’re avoiding is probably the one you need to have.

(4) Kindly ask about the wounds – While the wounds say a lot, no one can read minds. Ask kind, open-ended questions, and make sure you are prepared to hear their honest responses.

(5) Don’t feel like you must have all of the answers – No one has all of the answers except God, so don’t feel like you have to fix your loved one right away. Just listen to them in order to understand.

(5) Avoid cliché’s – When people are uncomfortable talking about a given subject, they will often try to avoid the subject further by using cliché’s which put a bandaid on the topic. However, bandaid solutions for surgical problems never work. Using a cliché will only make the person hurt more, because it minimizes their very real, deep emotional pain.

(7) Pray – The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and he is the one who can heal them.

(8) Encourage the loved one to see a Christian Counselor. – Counseling is a crucial step on the road to wholeness, because there may be a number of factors involved in the cause of self-harming behavior. But you can rest assured that there is hope for healing and for a brighter tomorrow.

Jesse Walker is an ordained pastor who is a Christian Counselor.

He is the founder and lead counselor of Christian Counseling Ministries in Phoenix, AZ.

  1. Wow this is helpful

    Like

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