The child whose home fails to give a feeling of security looks outside his home for the four walls
~ Donald Winnicott; Child
Extreme times call for extreme measures. That is why adolescents display the so-called impulsive behavior typical of borderline pathology: anorexia, self-cutting, alcoholism or other addictions, tantrums, suicide threats or attempts. On the edge of separation and independence, facing into the possibility of non-existence (picture the fledgling on the edge of the nest facing into the vast expanse of blue), she wants to jump yet with her behavior cries out somebody stop me!
Instead of jumping, she creates the limit she cannot feel by drawing blood, stopping menses, arresting the ebb and flow of normal expectations. This is not wanting to die. On the contrary. This is raging against non-being in it most virile form. Isn't it the same when you drop a penny to the bottom of a well and listen for the sound, or call across a canyon and wait for the echo? You seek assurance in the answer, the mirror, the edge, that calls back to you I am.
When your child by his or her behavior cries out “stop me!”, be the answer that contains, the arms that hold and soothe, that voice that coos lovingly back “I am here, and you are too”.