Ask Sam letter


To Sam

I can't stop!

Dear Sam,

I hate the fact that people use stereotypes such as emo and goth. When people use these words I suddenly get really angry and upset.

When people call me names or stereotypes I self-harm, and then i get in trouble, which causes me to self-harm more!!

I try to stop, but everyone just makes it hard for me. I get bullied for it, but even before I did i got bullied, I don't understand why everyone hates me but I am an outcast.

Yes, I wear clothes that are different to others and listen to rock music, but why should that make me a bad person? Its not fair!

What do I do??!!

Ask Sam


Hello there,

Thank you for your letter.

I’m glad you know that calling someone an 'emo' or 'goth' is stereotyping. Making assumptions and reducing someone’s whole personality and identity to a single word (like 'emo') can be very hurtful. If people are doing this deliberately to upset you, this is a type of bullying. I can understand why this would make you feel angry and upset.

It sounds like you’re saying that you also get bullied about your self-harm. I know how hard it can be to stop self-harming. The stress of the bullying can make it even harder. That sounds like a really difficult cycle to get out of. It worries me to hear that you get "in trouble” for self-harming. I don’t believe that self-harm is something you should be blamed for. It’s a sign that you are in a lot of emotional pain and you deserve to be supported with that. I wonder if there’s anyone in your life who is more helpful to you? If there isn’t, have you tried talking to someone like a school-nurse, or counsellor, who might have a better understanding of self-harm? You could also take a look at the bullying and self-harm pages in the Explore section for more information and advice.

It can be so hard to know what to do when you’re feeling like there isn’t a group where you fit in. You might like to look at our message boards, where young people post messages to support each other. Of course, your situation is unique but sometimes it can help to know others are struggling with similar issues and feelings. You’ll see there are message boards devoted to bullying and self-harm. I know there’s at least one thread on the message board about being called goth or emo.

You’re might also find it useful to talk to one of our counsellors. You can do this by calling for free on 0800 1111 or by logging in for a 1-2-1 chat.  You can also email a counsellor, if that's something you'd prefer. They would be happy to support you and talk to you about the bullying and your self-harm. They could help you think through a few ideas that could make you feel a little less overwhelmed with everything that’s happening. 

The most important message I’d like to leave you with is that your taste in clothes and music definitely doesn’t make you a bad person. It’s part of what makes you uniquely you, and that’s something very special. It also doesn’t mean you deserve to be bullied. I’m so glad you now know that ChildLine is here for you.

Take care,


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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