It is estimated that one percent, or a thousand out of a hundred thousand individuals, exhibit self-injurious behavior, and even more suffer from eating disorders. The majority of
the afflicted are well-educated females that come from middle to upper middle class neighborhoods. They begin hurting or starving themselves in their teens, and then continue into their thirties. Many are the product of physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse, with a parent suffering from substance abuse (frequently alcohol).
Self-mutilation is a big problem facing teens today. This affliction is the result of fear instilled by trauma. It is as though the brain contains a computer chip, which has been programmed, because of trauma, to self-mutilate. It is a mental trap that has taken innumerable young people hostage. Often times, the manifestation of this syndrome is concealed, and appears as hypochondria or some other phobia. Covert or exposed, the mental trap is relentless.
Consider the not-so-fairy-tale life of the late Princess Diana. Diana openly confessed her many hardships, so that others would feel confident in revealing and healing similar troubles. Diana was anorexic, bulimic, she self-mutilated by slashing her wrists, and she even threw herself down the stairs while she was pregnant. Diana repeatedly hurt herself to distract from the pain she felt for not being validated by those she loved. Throughout her life, her parents were not there for her. And then when she married her husband, Prince Charles, he also neglected her.
If you are a parent and have been noticing odd behavior, be advised that these are types of self-injurious behaviors -- from the seemingly no big deal occurrence of picking at a scab, or other forms of interfering with wound healing, to the more barbarous actions of starvation, cutting or slashing their own skin with razor blades, or burning through their own flesh, self-hitting, alcohol and drug-taking, and even bone breaking.
Why Do So Many Women Self-Mutilate?
Why are so many women afflicted with self-mutilation? Young girls are trained to internalize anger and men to externalize it. Because boys are raised to repress feelings and emotion, they keep things inside until all the repressed emotion becomes overwhelming, and they explode in seemingly unrelated violence. Angry girls exhibit rage by harming themselves. They also hurt themselves by turning anorexic, bulimic, or become involved in abusive relationships.
Current statistics show that one out of four girls in high school is in an abusive relationship. It is not uncommon for teenage girls to wear beepers, and be at the beck and call of her boyfriend. Initially, the girl feels very special. She loves the attention and possessiveness. She is flattered that her boyfriend would be so jealous. In time, the control issues of the boyfriend wear on her.
If the teenage girl does not have strong self-esteem and conscientious parents who will guide and counsel her, she will remain in this completely manipulative relationship for a long while. Her feelings of low self-worth will keep her tied to the abuse. And she stays with the boy because she feels she is lucky to have a boyfriend at all. So she remains in the relationship in spite of the fact that she is frightened, although flattered.
In the instance where the girl has strong parents urging, and even demanding, her to get out of the relationship, the girl may fight with her parents, and even become abusive to her parents in order to preserve the relationship with her boyfriend.
These teenage girls feel so bad about themselves, they will endure massive amounts of abuse and humiliation just to have the connection with someone. If this pattern is not amended, these teenagers will progress into adult relationships that are even more abusive and endanger their future children.
Broken Wings Can Learn to Fly: Why Children are Broken and How They Can Be Healed
by Francesca Cappucci Fordyce.
Solo Parenting: Raising Strong & Happy Families
by Diane Chambers.
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About The Author
Francesca Cappucci Fordyce is a journalist who has worked in television, radio, and print mediums. She worked as an on-air reporter for 10 years with ABC News in Los Angeles. She is now a stay-at-home mom. Being a "broken child" who grew into a "broken person", she made it a priority to heal her pain because she did not want her child to inherit her negative traits.