|Jack and his mom, Toni Richmond|
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
I have a friend at my high school who I really like, but she does things that I don’t understand. I know there are things going on in her life and in her family that she does not want to talk about, but how she is handling it isn’t good. She intentionally hurts herself. At first I thought she was just trying to get attention, then I thought it was a phase she would grow out of because the cutting wasn’t very deep, but now I’m afraid she might want to die and will be put away somewhere for crazy people. Can you help me to know why she is doing this and what to do?
People may use self-inflicted physical injury as a means of coping with an overwhelming situation or feeling. Some teens may self-injure when they are trying to get attention for their emotional troubles, but when they thought about it, they realized their behavior was really a silent cry for help and not designed to attract attention.
As far as her cutting being superficial, the severity of self –injury has very little to do with the feelings one might have. We all have different tolerances to pain and different ways to hurt ourselves. This behavior should be taken seriously.
According to Tracy Alderman, author of The Sacred Soul, most self-inflicted wounds are not life threatening and may not even require medical attention. Some are put in a hospital for a short period because the adults in their lives are afraid and don’t know what else to do. Experts in this field have suggested that hospitalization can actually make matters worse. Most teens who hurt themselves are trying to find control in their lives, and involuntary hospitalization makes them feel worse, potentially leading to even more self-injury.
People don’t stop self-injury because others don’t like what they do. There are many reasons why they hurt themselves. They are the only ones who can understand those reasons and they will only stop when they are ready and choose to do so. It is important for your friend to get professional help. Someone to help them work towards changing their behavior and making a commitment to change is the first step. You can also call my mom, Toni, at the Advocacy Center ( 541) 734-5437 X107 and talk to her too.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
|Jack and his mom Toni|
Three years ago my older brother was sent from our home because he touched me in a sexually inappropriate way. For a long time I felt it was my fault that the family was split up because I told, even when other people told me it wasn’t my fault. I have finally realized he was older, bigger and there was probably nothing I could have done to stop him. I loved him and looked up to him. I did what he said without question. My brother has been in treatment all this time and is now ready to do what they call a clarification letter and possible meeting. I have really missed my brother and have not been able to see or talk to him in all this time. I’m a teenager now, but I’m kind of nervous about all of this stuff. Can you tell me what a clarification letter and meeting is and what I can expect?
This is something my mom, Toni, has experience with here in Jackson County. First, and most importantly, it would be necessary for you to have a therapist that knows you and can determine if you are ready for the letter. He, or she, would go over the letter and make sure it was appropriate and that your brother took responsibility for everything that he did and has empathy (able to put himself in your shoes and feel what you feel) for you. Your parents would also be involved in this process. The therapist would be with you, and your parents, if you want them there, when you read the letter or, if you want, it could be read for you.
After this has been done, you get to decide if you want a meeting with your brother. It usually includes his therapist, your therapist, his probation officer and anyone else you want to be there. You get to decide where people will sit, what can and cannot be said, and anything else you will need to feel safe. You are the director and in charge. You have a voice and it will be heard. During this meeting your brother will need to talk about behaviors that may lead to him reoffending. He needs to tell you his triggers or red flags, things you and your parents need to know, so that his “abuse cycle” can be interrupted. If all goes well, your family may set up times to have lunch together, maybe dinner, visits to your home and, eventually, reunification (moving back home). This will all be done over a period of time, so you must be patient. I hope this helps, but if you want to talk to mom you can call the CAC at: (541) 734-5437 X107, and she can give you more information.
Friday, February 22, 2013
|Toni and Jack|
My parents are divorced and my mom lives in another state. There used to be a lot of fighting when they were together. She would get really mad and begin swinging. I still love her and really miss her, but can only see her in the summers because we just don’t have the money for me to go more than once a year. That’s a problem for me, but what I want to talk to you about has to do with dating. I’m 15 and don’t feel like I can talk to my dad about these things. I have a step mom too, but we’re not that close. I don’t think I’ve had a very good example of what marriage or dating should look like. I’ve been dating this guy named Mike. We go to school together so I see him a lot. Sometimes I wish we didn’t go to the same school because Mike is really jealous and is always around me, wanting to know what I’m doing, who I’m talking to, who I’m texting and things like that. I really like him and I know he cares about me because of all the attention, but sometimes it makes me a little nervous. He can get really angry if he does not get his way or he thinks I am doing something he does not like. What can I do to make him understand that I wouldn’t do anything to hurt him?
Thank you for writing to me. I think it is important to know what a healthy relationship looks like and communication is the key ingredient. In a healthy relationship if something is bothering you it’s best to talk about it. Another thing is to have healthy boundaries -- not doing everything with your boyfriend. It’s important to do things with your friends, have a hobby or participate in activities you like without him. He should do the same and respect each other’s privacy.
It seems to me that Mike has difficulty with these issues. If he is telling you what to do, checking your cell phone calls, using explosive anger, possessiveness and jealousy -- theses are all signs of abuse. It can be difficult to tell the difference between a healthy and unhealthy relationship, but Mike is displaying some of the warning signs of an abusive relationship. The constant monitoring that Mike is displaying is based on power and control, not equality and respect. You may not think the unhealthy behaviors are a big deal; however, possessiveness, jealous accusations, yelling, humiliation, pulling hair, pushing or other negative, abusive behaviors are, at their root, exertions of power and control. Remember that abuse is always a choice and you deserve to be respected. There is no excuse for abuse of any kind. You can get more information on-line if you look up Teen Dating Violence. I hope this helps. You can always call my mom, Toni, at CAC if you want to talk or have any more questions. Her phone # is: (541) 734-5437 X107
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
|Jack and Toni|
My name is Asha and I have recently moved to Oregon from back east. I was born in India, but have lived in the United States since I was 5. I’m 12 now and starting a new school. When I went to my new middle school, it was big and there were so many students. I want to make friends, but I look different than most of them and I’m not sure how I’ll be treated. Where I lived before there were many different nationalities and ethnicities. It was no big deal, but here it seems different. What should I do?
Moving can be a very difficult thing to deal with, but adding a new school and concerns about racial differences can make it seem worse than it has to be. Try to be open to questions the other students might ask and tell them about your nationality and ethnicity. Tell them your nationality refers to the country you were born in and are, likely, still a citizen. Your ethnicity refers to your particular group of people who share common ancestry, traditions, language or dialect. It’s important to not ignore or deny your peoples existence, histories and achievements.
You might be able to use this opportunity to teach your peers about your culture. This can help all of you to support and respect the worth of other people who may be different than you, but are as good as you. They are your equal. When you think of someone in this way, you pay more attention to the ways you are alike and don’t worry too much about the ways you are different. The more we show respect to others, the more they will respect you in return.
You can always call my mom, Toni if you would like to talk. Her phone number is: (541)734-5437 x107.
I hope this helps you.