Teen – Cutting Behaviors and Feelings of Insecurity

By December 12, 2012

For a while now I have been battling with two things. One is feeling overweight, and the other is cutting. I am 17 yrs. old and weigh *** lbs. and I’m 5ft. 8. So I know that I’m fat and have no problem admitting it, but my mom is constantly telling me how fat I am and says things like “your bottom is getting bigger” or “you’re getting quite a belly there” just things like that. Honestly, that doesn’t bother me that much. It’s when she says it in front of other people that it really hurts. I feel really insecure and on top of everything I started cutting. I’ve been doing it for 4 months now but last month I stopped completely. I thought I was doing good but then my world got turned upside down and I don’t have anyone to turn to so I tried to handle it myself and I started cutting again. Like I said I’m really insecure and when people say mean things I turn and run as far as I can and start cutting. I choose to hurt myself rather than to hurt anyone else. I don’t know what to do, I can’t talk to mom cause she has her mind set a certain way and laughs at the reasons I have for doing what I have been. So can you help, please? – Rachel


It sounds like you are really hurting. It must have taken you a lot of courage to write us. You’ve done a great job of describing what you are feeling and what you are going through.

If I understand correctly you are struggling with “feeling overweight” and cutting but not practicing any other dieting behaviors. That’s good, because at 5’8″ and *** pounds you are far from being overweight. In fact that is the low end of a healthy weight for a woman your age and height. However, having said that I know that I’m not likely to change your mind. You’ve been getting messages from your mother and your own mind telling you that you are overweight and those words are much more powerful than mine. But you must remind yourself of the facts in this case…you are not overweight.

I do believe that there are much bigger issues going on which are resulting in your cutting behaviors and feelings of insecurity. You seem to be in an extremely unhealthy relationship with your mother. It is likely that she is insecure as well and takes this out on you. Her comments to you about your body are completely inappropriate and cruel (not to mention untrue). You have learned to hate yourself much like she probably hates herself. Cutting and criticizing yourself is how you have learned to deal with these feelings. My guess is that the cutting gives you some sense of relief and you may believe that if you punish yourself enough you will be able to improve yourself as well as avoid so many of the painful feelings you have inside.

You need to find someone safe to talk to. Do this first. Find an older woman, mother of a friend, church worker, counselor or teacher whom you trust. Begin to talk with them how you feel about yourself. As you grow in getter understanding the truth that you are a beautiful and delightful child of God, then you will be able to work on your relationship with your mother.

Finally, here are the names of a couple of books you can read:

Do You Think I’m Beautiful? By Angela Thomas

Authentic Beauty: The Shaping of a Set-Apart Young Woman by Leslie Ludy

Travis Stewart, LPC