This used to be in this room on the old site, and I think some people find it helpful, so will re-post.
These are three C's to remember, when somebody you care about self-harms:
I didn't cause it
I can't control it
I can't cure it.
You may well trigger someone's SH, but that's not the same thing as causing it. OK. You're having a really bad day at the office. You know the kind of day, when everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. Someone saunters through your office and remarks on how wonderfully their life is going. You retort 'Bully for you'. Now, the someone who walked through your office didn't cause your retort, but they did trigger it.
You can help someone towards the most helpful path when they are SHing, but you can't control their actions. Lighthouses don't get up off their point, and start screaming at ships that there are rocks around, even though they know that they're there. They just keep on being the best lighthouses that they can be: the ships have to choose whether they will be guided by them or not.
You are not a therapist. Even if you are a therapist, it is not your job to cure the SH of someone you love. Don't try to be one. It won't help you, or the person you love (who may end up feeling even more guilty etc for not being able to respond to you).
Should stress that these were not my idea but taken from a book, called *Stop walking on eggshells* by Paul Mason and Randi Kreger.
Someone added a fourth C, which was 'carry on regardless' - a very good idea, in my opinion *flower*
xx M xx