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TherapistMarryAnn
TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5770
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My 12 year old grand daughter has started to cut her arm .

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My 12 year old grand daughter has started to cut her arm . I understand her new friend has been cutting herself also. I know this from my 13 year old grand son who she told and showed her cuts. Her mother doesn't know of this yet. What is the usual cause of this?And what should I do?
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

Typically, when someone cuts themselves it usually indicates a personality disorder, mostly Borderline. Usually the person has been through a painful experience such as child abuse either emotional, sexual or physical. The cutting is a way to "let out" the pain of the abuse. It is a temporary measure as the cutting may let out the pain temporarily, but the shame from cutting ends up making the situation worse.

The fact that your granddaughter is cutting along with a friend could mean they both have been abused or that they are experimenting with cutting to see how it feels. It is also possible that one girl is imitating the other, who is cutting because of emotional pain. It is unusual that two people would cut together as it usually is done alone because of the embarrassment and shame.

Your granddaughter's mother needs to be aware of the situation so she can talk with her and find out more about what is going on. Your granddaughter should also be seen by a therapist just to be sure she is ok. If there is an issue, therapy is most likely the best way to deal with the situation. Along with a counselor, your granddaughter would also benefit from family support. With help, she should feel better soon.

I hope this has helped you,
Kate
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