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Think About It... Whenever we refuse to take responsibility for ourselves, we are unconsciously choosing to react as victim. This inevitably creates feelings of anger, fear, guilt or inadequacy and leaves us feeling betrayed, or taken advantage of by others.~ Lynne Forrest
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Author Topic: How do you deal with the threat of self-harm?  (Read 582 times)
Kate4queen
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« on: April 19, 2013, 04:05:16 PM »

My 21 yr old is working himself up toward a crisis, I can tell from the tone of his emails because we're not saving him from the consequences of his own actions.
How does it feel as a parent to follow through on those necessary boundaries to save yourself and yet know that your BPD loved one might threaten to kill them self or hurt you?
At 16 he threatened to cut his wrists or stab me but they were dealt with relatively easily.
At 21 with everything changing around him and responsibility being forced onto him for his actions, I could see him making this grand gesture to get attention.
How the hell do you deal with that?
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Vivgood
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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2013, 04:28:52 PM »

Call 911 or take them to the ER. Every time.

It feels frustrating and like a poor use of my time  . And the people in the ER can be aggravating in the extreme Devilish.

Are you a trained and licensed clinician? If not, you aren't qualified to respond usefully to SI. If you are, you should not be treating your own child.

If the SI is severe and unremitting, the kid needs residential tx starting as young as you can manage. Treatment at younger ages=better outcomes.

Just saying...    

vivgood
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motherof1yearold
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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2013, 04:31:48 PM »

I just wanted to say I'm so sorry you are going through this!  

I do not have a son or daughter suffering BPD but I felt I should reply to this post in regard to my ex BPD husband.

He threatened SEVERAL times to kill himself in different manners , the most alarming where when he locked himself in the bedroom downstairs, blockaded the door, and threatened to hang himself with a wire . I was terrified and stood by , attempting to get into the room several times . The second time he threatened to kill himself in the car and drove away, I was shooken so I did call the police. 911. They actually said THERE WAS NOTHING THEY COULD DO. I was terrified! I called the police, his job, and he came back a few hours later safely.

I hope you can find some good input from other members because it is a scary thing!
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Kate4queen
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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2013, 04:51:38 PM »

Call 911 or take them to the ER. Every time.

It feels frustrating and like a poor use of my time  . And the people in the ER can be aggravating in the extreme Devilish.

Are you a trained and licensed clinician? If not, you aren't qualified to respond usefully to SI. If you are, you should not be treating your own child.

If the SI is severe and unremitting, the kid needs residential tx starting as young as you can manage. Treatment at younger ages=better outcomes.

Just saying...    

vivgood


Good advice.
At 16 we thought it was all about his disability. Now we know better,
He doesn't live at home and he isn't a child, so I have to assume he'd be responsible for himself, wouldn't he?
But what if he calls? Do I call 911 and get help for him and stay out of it?
Horrible to have to speculate about these things but I can feel something big and bad rolling toward us...    
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Vivgood
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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2013, 08:47:57 PM »

Quote
He doesn't live at home and he isn't a child, so I have to assume he'd be responsible for himself, wouldn't he?

its more of a taper than a switch- you take less and less responsibility for him as he ages. The prefrontal cortex is still developing during the early 20s, so it makes sense to be involved to some extent until then.


Quote
But what if he calls? Do I call 911 and get help for him and stay out of it?

I'd call 911 ans ask that a PERT be sent to his location. (Psychiatric Emergency Response Team).

Quote
Horrible to have to speculate about these things but I can feel something big and bad rolling toward us...    

Eh, better to be prepared logistically and emotionally.

Hm, suicidal ideation...    

Its not "attention". Its not "desire to die". Its a human who has a brain malfunction which causes those electrical impulses and biochemical ratios that we can refer to as "despair" to amp up outside normal parameters...    and the human can't easily identify this as self-generated (the brain is not set up to automatically perceive its own malfunctions), but is desperate to stop the pain, and will flail about biting his own leg off to stop it. Or your leg!

It may be easier or at least less personal if you can think of this as a medical issue. Are there actually things in your son's life that would cause overwhelming despair? Probably not. Are you a raving egomaniacal abuser who tormented your child
? Probably not. Then, external environment accounted for...    this is a neurological malfunction.  Pathways in the brain can be manipulated, and biochemistry adjusted. Believe this  .

vivgood
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qcarolr
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2013, 09:41:29 PM »

My 21 yr old is working himself up toward a crisis, I can tell from the tone of his emails because we're not saving him from the consequences of his own actions.
How does it feel as a parent to follow through on those necessary boundaries to save yourself and yet know that your BPD loved one might threaten to kill them self or hurt you?


Can you share what the increased responsibilities and consequences are with your S? Is he alone or does he have friends, co-workers, therapist, other support people in his life? Or do you feel alone with this?

Perhaps if you contacted the police dept. in his area and asked if they have a psych intervention team or what they would suggest for you. Our local police have helped me understand what they can and cannot do to help with our Dd26 in our home, and when she was living homeless on the street.

When she was homeless and called distressed saying she wanted to die or not wake up the next day, I would ask who was there nearby, did she know their names, could she go sit near someone to feel less alone, that I would call for a wellness check if she told me what area she was in. Sometimes I called for a wellness check for the general area she was in. Sometimes my saying I was doing this seemed to calm her a bit. She was always still there the next day (2-3 days later when I heard from her again).

I always held onto the belief that if something bad happened I would hear from someone - so no news was good news. Those were hard times -- hoping I don't have to go there again.

qcr  
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pessim-optimist
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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2013, 11:10:34 PM »

Kate4queen,
so sorry about your situation.   

I do not have any specific quick advice, and I don't know if it makes sense for you to read a book at this particular time...    

But, have you read "Loving someone with BPD?", the book describes a pattern of 'unrelenting crisis' that pwBPD sometimes get themselves into, and then, as a coping mechanism, they threaten suicide/self-harm, or actually attempt to do so in order to break that cycle. Sort of a reset button.

Is that what you are worried about?
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« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2013, 11:46:29 PM »

Kate

I would call 911 if there is real threat of him hurting himself. I guess it depends what the situation is but I don't know what else you can do. Do you know of a friend that he is close to? A family friend that can try to talk to him? I might try writing him a letter explaining that you are worried about him etc...    

He seems pretty desperate...    what will happen once you move away? It is hard when you see the storm coming and there is nothing you can do...    that is the hard part. I wish I had some answers for you. Sending a hug your way  
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lbjnltx
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« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2013, 06:55:21 AM »

Hello Kate,

I know you are so worried and confused about what the right thing to do is during these times of crisis.  Here is a workshop that is very good and covers the many variables of these trying situations:

Dealing with the Threats of Suicide and Suicide Attempts

I hope that the info there will give you a sense of power to develop an emergency plan in advance of a seriously threatening situation with your son.

lbjnltx
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BPDd-13 Residential Treatment - keep believing in miracles
Kate4queen
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« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2013, 04:24:58 PM »

Thank you everyone.
He wants us to sort out his current financial mess-mess that he has caused. what's emerging as we stick to our boundaries and sympathize but continue to ask him how he's going to fix the problems are the underlying issues of BPD-help me, save me fix this for me I'm in crisis.

He's living in a very nice house with a friends family, he is at college, he has a car, he has $ from us put in his bank account every month. No one else who has contact with him is seeing any issues, or has contacted us with concerns, including his brother who still lives with us. so the threats of giving up/suicide are very much directed to us and no one else. Does that make it less meaningful? I'm not sure. He's always been an expert at concealing his pain from his friends and everyone but us.
So, he's in a safe place.
My therapist said that if he does actually do something and ends up calling the police or medics, then they at least will be able to help him and maybe get psych to help his address some of his issues. He'd probably like that attention. He always has.
It's just hard to wonder what he'll do next and how we'll deal with the guilt.
Thanks so much for listening everyone, you don't know how grateful I am.
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pessim-optimist
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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2013, 08:03:46 PM »

Thanks for explaining Kate,

It must be nerve-wracking nonetheless...       
Keep us posted.

Yes, the guilt. It is always helpful to remember in times like these that there is a difference between appropriate guilt (when we have violated one of our moral values) and toxic guilt - when we feel bad regardless of the fact that we know that we haven't done anything wrong...      Doing the right thing
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« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2013, 04:37:19 PM »

Kate this must be such a hard place to be.  I think no matter what I would always take any self harming behaviors or references to self harming behaviors very seriously.You can call 911 to be sure.  My DD would often make references to wanting to die or not wake up the next day and it was simply horrible because I never knew if she was saying to get to me or she was serious.  The one thing that I do know is that when she did this she kept us on edge and had our full attention.  I don't believe she was doing it for attention I think she totally felt such despair but it also was her way of keeping us close without asking.

Griz
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« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2013, 06:02:06 PM »

  The one thing that I do know is that when she did this she kept us on edge and had our full attention.  I don't believe she was doing it for attention I think she totally felt such despair but it also was her way of keeping us close without asking.


This is so close to how I have felt when my DD says things like 'I don't want to wake', 'there is no point, I wish I was dead'.  I try to ask her if she has any plans to make this happen, and her answer really helps me with what I need to do next. I totally agree it is not just for "attention" with her. There is a real need that my DD cannot fill for herself, she is sincere in her reaching out and she needs someone to give her a sense the she is of worth, her feelings matter, and someone cares about her.  This is the "UNIVERASAL NEED" as stated in the book "I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better". Sometimes in the heat of the moment, I forget this both for myself and for my DD.

Sometimes it does feel like manipulation, esp. if she is asking me to solve a problem that is beyond my direct control (ie. r/s with bf) or she wants money. This is when the validating questions are needed, and so often my mind goes blank.

Kate, The worry and fear of the guilt if something happens is so hard for me. When I get stuck in this fear place, my validation skills are blocked. What ways can you think of to manage your fears, worries and guilt? Let us know if we can guide you to other resources here.

qcr  
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« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2013, 03:54:10 AM »

 
My dd started  self harming at age 12 ish. I took her for help and after a year they discharged her haha, joke eh!

So I had to say to dd, if you cut and do it too deep, apply pressure and dial 999 or call me quick.

Talk about being isolated and not supported eh!

But, it was so difficult and we did worry about putting in boundaries in case we lost her.
I think I was more worried that she was going to be that photo on the milk cartons, you know, "Missing" Have you seen this girl.

Its all about fine lines.

Its also about stepping back and give yourself time to think straight. When you are emotional you wont be able to problem solve.
Also, what do you think the underlying reason is that he is acting like this. What is going on in his life?

For example, my dd rang me one night saying she had a bad back and it is so bad, she couldnt cope, I panicked I told her to dial 999. If I had taken a breath and had a min to think straight, I would of found the real reason she was saying this.
The next day I had time to think, she wanted reassurance thats all, she wanted to know I was still there for her. After all, I thought, she is only 18 and left home 6 months or more ago, I bet she is missing family life, being at home with her family that she loves etc etc

Hope that helps
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Kate4queen
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« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2013, 01:12:51 PM »

Oh my gosh, this 100%
"I totally agree it is not just for "attention" with her. There is a real need that my DD cannot fill for herself, she is sincere in her reaching out and she needs someone to give her a sense the she is of worth, her feelings matter, and someone cares about her.  This is the "UNIVERASAL NEED" as stated in the book "I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better". Sometimes in the heat of the moment, I forget this both for myself and for my DD."

We're working on our response to him at the moment, we write, delete, discuss and eventually will send him a reply that hopefully allays some of his fears but doesn't give in to the emotional blackmail (whether he means it as that or not, that's how it feels) #1 point in the email will be for him to seek professional help if he is feeling suicidal.
ugh.
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« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2013, 01:30:19 PM »

Well Kate, if I tell my dd to seek professional help she would just say yes and not do it. Then feel that I didnt really listen/hear her. How does your s take it when you say that. I think its a good thing to say too.

The best thing I have found is to try to validate her in those situations, you have to play it by ear mind you and decide at the time. So, its thinking on your feet, yet stepping back and getting out of the situation for a min so you can think.

Gosh, hard job we have.

Do you think its harder when they live with us or without?
Now my dd does not live with us, I sometimes wonder if we really know what is going on. On the other hand I find it easier.

With BPD you never feel like you can do enough do you.
Its a bit like painting a fence and the paint soaks it up each time you put a coat on it, its never enough haha
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