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"He talks about suicide so I can't give up on him." (posted elsewhere, also) - Page 2

post #21 of 41
Honestly, this isn't your daughter's responsibility. It is good that she is a caring person but she can't save or fix him. She can find the people who CAN help him, but all she can do is support him.

Suicide is serious. Self harm is serious. It is beyond the capabilities of a young teenager to do more than be his shoulder to lean on while he gets help elsewhere assuming he is currently in a place that can take her support without in turn hurting her.

Sometimes helping someone is telling them to come back when they are in a better place. We can't be taken down with other people's problems because it becomes our own. We can't be the kind of support needed if it is our problem as well.
post #22 of 41
This seemed like good advice to me:

Quote:
Originally Posted by rachel_eva View Post
as the sister of someone who died by suicide, i will add this:
1) call the boys parents. even if they are abusive, ultimately they need to know that their son is threatening suicide. you don't know his history or his mental health status. it could be that he is diagnosed, that this behavior is part of a pttern for him that his parents need to know about so they can intervene. my brother reached out to a friend's mother (who works with my mother, who's brother killed himself) among other reasons she should have told my mother but she didn't. had my mother known he did this outragous behavior she would have taken him into his psych, but she didn't know. he was hiding it. or maybe they will blow it off, but as he is a minor- they need to know.
2) someone who cuts themselves is more likely to commit suicide. it is part of the suicidal ideation. if someone is cutting themselves and threatening suicide, then they need to be monitored. those are HUGE indicators for suicide.
3) while not everyone who says suicide actually means to do it, many many many people do. it is not a cry for attention. it is a sick sick disease which kills more people than homicide every year.
4) if there are any sort of crisis center in your community, give the info to your daughter. tell her the next time he talks to her for her to give him the information and to walk away. you keep some yourself and if he shows up at your house, give it to him and ask him to go there and to leave your house.
5) help your daughter understand that past giving him the info to help himself there is nothing else she can do. that if something does happen it is not her fault. she is not responsible for his actions.
it is totally unfair for him to put this on your daughter, he has no right to do this. however, someone who threatens suicide is mentally ill. he is sick and needs help. please call his parents, monitor all his behavior with your daughter, don't leave them alone don't allow her to go back to him. he needs help. i wouldn't let my daughter be with someone who says that to her either. it is unfair, but unfortunatly, it is the situation you are in. call his parents, call the school (which you have done, which is great) and encourage him to tell his parents. i know that the people who my brother reached out too have been traumatized by his death because they didn't act. even if his parents blow it off, at least you will have tried, and if anything happens you will know you did all you can do.
post #23 of 41
I don't think it matters whether or not it is a genuine suicide threat. It is clearly a cry for help. The OP's daughter CANNOT help him. SHE IS ONLY 15. Whatever problems this boy has (and it sounds like he has plenty) this is classic abusive, manipulative behavior.

OP I think the best thing you can do is to tell everybody who is involved with this boy that he has been threatening suicide-take him at his word!- and then to distance your daughter as much as possible from him. She needs to learn that it's not right when another person makes her responsible for his happiness and that the best way to help is to let other people that love him in on the secret. It's a terrible relationship pattern to get in to.
post #24 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by alfabetsoup View Post
I don't think it matters whether or not it is a genuine suicide threat. It is clearly a cry for help. The OP's daughter CANNOT help him. SHE IS ONLY 15. Whatever problems this boy has (and it sounds like he has plenty) this is classic abusive, manipulative behavior.

OP I think the best thing you can do is to tell everybody who is involved with this boy that he has been threatening suicide-take him at his word!- and then to distance your daughter as much as possible from him. She needs to learn that it's not right when another person makes her responsible for his happiness and that the best way to help is to let other people that love him in on the secret. It's a terrible relationship pattern to get in to.

: 15 is too young to be burdened by this. Whether this boy is depressed, being abused, or is an abuser, he needs PROFESSIONAL help for any of the scenarios, NOT the help of a 15 yo. She can remain compassionate, but point him in the direction of the kind of help he really needs.
post #25 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post
Yes. I feel everyone's assuming he's lying to manipulate without any real evidence. I didn't get from the op that this boy is saying "take me back or I'll kill myself." Rather he is reaching out and telling the op's daughter that his parents are abusive and that he wants to die because of it. He's self-harming. Those are indicators that something really is wrong.

I know of far too many suicides where later someone said, "he said he wanted to die, but I didn't believe him at the time." There was a high-profile suicide 2 weeks ago in which many people reported that the man who died said he wanted to die, and people brushed it off.
I find it very interesting that many of you are talking as if it's got to be "either/or" and not BOTH. It is completely possible (and most likely) that OP's dd's ex is both truly in a bad situation at home and possibly really suicidal... AND that he's manipulating dd and his knowledge that she cares about him to control her other friendships and keep her entwined in a relationship she now realizes she doesn't want to be in. (Telling her he's jealous of her friendship with others, he doesn't think he can trust her, pulling her back in when she starts to distance herself with details of his depression - I believe he's truly depressed, but that is also very manipulative).

I agree first and foremost with all the advice about helping dd understand that no matter what, she is NOT responsible for what her ex does or doesn't do to himself or anyone else. And that she needs to look out for her own emotional health first and foremost, which probably means offering concrete help (or letting OP offer him the help) and then getting some real distance from him.

But it's also true that if he's in real trouble, it would be best for OP or her husband to reach out to the bf and offer him some connections to resources (any free teen counseling or school counselor or whatever is appropriate in your area). Explain to him that it's up to him to reach out to really get help, but it's not ok for him to expect your dd to "save him" because that's not fair to either of them.

And then yeah, if he does talk to dd again and threaten suicide or cutting, she should call 911. And she should tell him ahead of time that if he does this again, that's what she'll do.

She is really too young to be burdened with all this, but the truth is that at NO age is this a healthy dynamic. Now that she's already in this, it would be great for her to learn how to keep herself safe and healthy as a priority. If she can do that and still be supportive to him, great, but IMHO that is too much to ask a 15 yr old to try to do.

One more thing, OP, you should also explain to your dd that she should be ready for friends or others to possibly give her a hard time or call her cold,heartless, any number of things. Hopefully that won't happen, but if that many of her friends are experiencing similar dynamics with boyfriends and friends, that means others may be threatened by her standing her ground and not taking responsibility for someone else's issues. If she were my dd I'd just talk her through her thoughts and feelings and possible responses if anyone gave her a hard time.

By the way what did the school counselor say about all this? (I think you said in a prior post you called them?)

It's great that your dd confided in you and talked to you. That bodes incredibly well for her and hopefully this situation, even though it seems so early to be dealing with it, will teach her some great things about herself.
post #26 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by treeoflife3 View Post
Honestly, this isn't your daughter's responsibility. It is good that she is a caring person but she can't save or fix him. She can find the people who CAN help him, but all she can do is support him.

Suicide is serious. Self harm is serious. It is beyond the capabilities of a young teenager to do more than be his shoulder to lean on while he gets help elsewhere assuming he is currently in a place that can take her support without in turn hurting her.

Sometimes helping someone is telling them to come back when they are in a better place. We can't be taken down with other people's problems because it becomes our own. We can't be the kind of support needed if it is our problem as well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by alfabetsoup View Post
I don't think it matters whether or not it is a genuine suicide threat. It is clearly a cry for help. The OP's daughter CANNOT help him. SHE IS ONLY 15. Whatever problems this boy has (and it sounds like he has plenty) this is classic abusive, manipulative behavior.

OP I think the best thing you can do is to tell everybody who is involved with this boy that he has been threatening suicide-take him at his word!- and then to distance your daughter as much as possible from him. She needs to learn that it's not right when another person makes her responsible for his happiness and that the best way to help is to let other people that love him in on the secret. It's a terrible relationship pattern to get in to.
Yes, to all of this. Having been on both sides of the situation as a teenager, YES.
post #27 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie Mac View Post
If your daughter really wants to unhook from the drama, but also take him seriously, the next time he threatens suicide she calls 911. She doesn't attend to him, the cops/paramedics do. I had a friend when I was a teenager who went through this with a boyfriend. He called her, said he couldn't live without her, was going to kill himself. She called his parents, said she was worried about him, could they please check on him. Never happened again. And he didn't kill himself. If his parents really are a problem, I wouldn't recommend going this route, but 911 works as a professional will be helping him. Probably not what he really wants.
Yep, this exactly. A high school boyfriend of mine pulled that crap, but luckily I instantly saw it for the pathetic game-playing that it was, and was repulsed and didn't get drawn into the guilt at all. I said, "Okay, let's call the police or go talk to the school counselor so that you can get some help." He backed off and never pulled anything like that again. It's selfish and absurd to dump something like that on a friend and expect them to somehow "handle" it themselves.
post #28 of 41
I work as a 911 dispatcher. It is not uncommon for a suicidal teen in a relationship to do this to their partner/ex-partner. Yes, it can be a tool of abuse. Bottom line is that a 15 year old girl should not be burdened with suicidal threats from a boy because she is absolutely unqualified to deal with suicidal threats if it is a real threat. We go through extensive training to deal with suicidal people and are objective observers. A 15 year old child will be manipulated. People who threaten suicide are often manipulative (this is not an insult - it means they truly do it to manipulate a response from somebody, either as a cry for help or to control a person's actions). A person who self-harms is more likely to complete suicide.

If I was you, I would call the police and advise them of the suicidal threats. In addition, if it was my daughter, I would also place a restraining order against this boy. This may sound extreme but if the authorities are informed, it is their prerogative to deal with the threats and alleged abuse. Your #1 goal is to protect your child. Suicidal ex-boyfriends also do not always just kill themselves - they have been known to take their ex-girlfriends along with them.
post #29 of 41
Whether he is actually reaching out or trying to manipulate her, this is too much for a 15 year old to handle. I've had my share of dramatic friends and boyfriends who pulled this every time they didn't get their way (I truly think they were just too immature to get that you can't just lay down threats like that) or needed a little attention. It was a huge relief with one friend in particular when my parents just said look, you can't hang out with her anymore. It was not my job to be her emotional punching bag or savior. It's just too much for a kid.

Whatever reason he has for doing this, next time it happens tell her to call 911. If he's doing it for attention, he'll stop and if he really needs help he will get it.

He dumped her, she can't string her along forever.
post #30 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I find it very interesting that many of you are talking as if it's got to be "either/or" and not BOTH. It is completely possible (and most likely) that OP's dd's ex is both truly in a bad situation at home and possibly really suicidal... AND that he's manipulating dd and his knowledge that she cares about him to control her other friendships and keep her entwined in a relationship she now realizes she doesn't want to be in. (Telling her he's jealous of her friendship with others, he doesn't think he can trust her, pulling her back in when she starts to distance herself with details of his depression - I believe he's truly depressed, but that is also very manipulative).
LROM, thank you so much for stating this. I couldn't figure out how to word it, but that's exactly my take on it, and I'm proceeding as if this is the case. I feel horribly for this young man, and I can't help but think of the myriad ways he could be helped.

But on the other hand everything I've learned about him, aside from one comment from his mom about his dad, everything has been from my daughter. I don't know what is true, and frankly I've learned from the many accounts from mamas here at MDC, that it would be unbelievably irresponsible if I didn't acknowledge that my daughter is being manipulated.

And frankly I put a lot of stock into my husband's perspective. He says try to get gals to have sex with them whether they're aware they're doing it or not, and it doesn't make them EVIL. But they do look for ways to maintain a connection to a possible sexual encounter. It's one of the most basic drives in life.

I'd left a message with the counseling office yesterday and someone called me back just this morning. I explained what my daughter said her exbf told her, that his dad has hit him several times when he was angry with him, that he's been cutting himself and he has been talking about suicide. I said I don't know how much is 'true' but it doesn't really matter, there's still something up and he needs help. And I told her (the counselor) that while this boy has been an absolute @ss to my daughter, she's still worried about him, and so am I.

Daughter just started seeing a therapist (saw her one time). Dd tells me that for as long as she can remember she's been the second banana to her friends, willing for them to play with her, then leave her and come back when they want. As they got older she was content but not entirely happy with the fact that girlfriends would dump on her but wouldn't necessarily return the favor. She said, her own words, she's been a doormat to her friends. Personally I'm horrified by this and I wonder where I've let her down. I'm glad she can see the connection between that pattern and this experience with the boyfriend. I'm strongly encouraging her to talk about this with the therapist.

Dh and I agree we've let her hang out in her room, away from us, for far too long. She needs to get out and get busy with her strong girlfriends.

Thank you again ladies.
post #31 of 41
I would not want my teen handling that kind of burden. I've worked with suicidal people professionally. I have the training to help them, but also to remove myself and my responsibility away from their choices.

On the other hand, there is a good chance he's being manipulative, it is a tactic for people who seek to control their partners.

I would be sympathetic to her and her friend's plight, but I'd also stress heavily how much this is NOT her responsibility. How she is not trained or equipped adequately for this and how she needs to make sure his choices do not make her alter hers. I would look up resources and get her to refer, refer, refer, and indeed if he calls her on a suicide call, get her to call 911. In fact, I'd have a heck of a time not intervening directly. I'd also encourage her to continue with her life and not to become too wrapped up in this. Either way it is not healthy or responsible in so many ways. She needs to let the professionals handle this and that's probably the angle I'd come at it with.
post #32 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post
: 15 is too young to be burdened by this. Whether this boy is pb]depressed, being abused, or is an abuser[/b], he needs PROFESSIONAL help for any of the scenarios, NOT the help of a 15 yo. She can remain compassionate, but point him in the direction of the kind of help he really needs.
It sounds like all three to me, honestly. (The cutting is concerning to me. I did it, on a small scale, long before it became a known, widespread phenomenon, and I was definitely suicidal at the time. The cutting was a...flirtation with finishing myself off.) The talk about suicide goes both ways - it really can be game playing, but it can also be sincere...and it can be both. I didn't deal with this as a teen, but my ex used suicide threats to manipulate me a couple of times (doubly difficult to deal with, as I was genuinely suicidal at the time, and he knew it). My cousin dealt with the same thing as an adult. It's extremely hard to deal with, and all I could do was remind myself that I was not responsible for what he did. The thing that really gets me about OP's dd's ex-bf is the stuff about being jealous of her hanging out with his friend, and not being able to trust her and all that. IMO, this is head games. They're not a couple, anymore, and if he can't trust her, why is she the one he's calling and dumping all this on? He's just tying her in emotional knots.

OP: I think it was great that you called the counselor. I also second (3rd, 4th, 5th?) that your dd should call CPS/the police the next time he calls her up. They're trained to deal with this, and your dd isn't. She needs to get herself as far out of this as she can. I don't agree with the poster who said you should tell his parents. Let CPS/police/school counselor do that, if they decide to do so. But, if the stories about his dad are true, things could get worse. I've seen some appalling reactions to suicidal behaviour from abusive parents.
post #33 of 41
you've gotten some great advice already, and i don't have anything too much to add - i have threatened suicide when i desperately needed help, and was once brutally raped by an ex who called to say i had to come over or he would "do himself in" (i was 14, he was 20). it is likely he is suicidal AND manipulating. you deserve a pat on the back - you sound like a great mom to your dd.
post #34 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmaraMonillas View Post
Wow. Many of your responses are incredibly painful for me to read.

I have been with my husband since Jr. year of H.S. and I have struggled with severe depression since then. He literally saved my life on more than one occasion. It was because of my guilt over the burden I added to his life that I ever considered breaking up with him (I never had the strength), and that same guilt often fed the suicidal desires I have struggled with for 6 years. I am not saying this is definitely the case for your daughter's bf, but he very well may have broken up with her for her own sake. Yet she is someone (maybe the only person) he can trust to share this stuff with, so when he is scared for his own safety he reaches out.
I also cut, talked about suicide, and had no one else to turn to but my H.S. boyfriend. His mother found out and definitely resented me for it and discouraged us spending time together. God, that hurt more than anything anyone else said or did. (fyi, we have a good relationship now)

Now we have been married over 3 years and are excited to meet our first child. I wish I could say all my problems are gone, but I still struggle. One thing I do know, is that I bring enough good to his life and our partnership that he would be devastated without me. We have a healthy relationship and love being married.

I am not saying your daughter should go out and marry this guy, in fact it is probably wise to discourage romantic involvement. But all these reactions of "ditch him, he is a horrible manipulator" (I know that isn't how anyone phrased it exactly, but it is what I read) are so lacking in compassion. Even if he is being unfair, if your daughter were hurting and confused like he is, what would you want from her friends and their parents?
Your daughter will be fine, she has your support and is not the one with severe mental health issues. While it may hurt her to be close to him, I would see it as an opportunity for her to grow in understanding and empathy. You are there to help her recognize how to continue to take care of herself and to see the difference between being available and compassionate towards someone and taking responsibility for their burdens.
I mean this gently, but your situation is the exception, and not the rule. The OP said that the exbf is saying these things when her dd is starting to emotionally move on - which is indicative of manipulation.

OP - I would encourage your dd to call 911 if he ever starts talking suicide, and not to be alone with him since if he is a danger to himself he is also a danger to others.
post #35 of 41
I would absolutely commend her for being strong and coming to you with this. Let her know she did the absolute right thing by doing that. She needs to know she's not helpless and has a good head on her shoulders.

There's a lot here I want to comment on. While I would absolutely treat the suicide threats as real (always, no matter what), there are some other red flags here, the fact that he doesn't want to be with her, but he doesn't want her to move on are just scary to me. It screams controlling and abuser to me. My brother was in an unhealthy relationship and one time he actually stood up to her and broke it off, and she immediately swallowed a bottle of tylenol pm. She told the investigator she only did it because she knew it would make my brother feel guilty and then he'd never leave her (not making that up, I was there when she said it). And that's what happened. He wasn't able to get away from her until she got pulled over one day, was arrested and extradicted to another state.

I have a very co-dependent personality. My heart bleeds for people who seem to be hurting, and all I want to do is help them. I had to learn how to protect myself because some people really use and abuse people like me, I'm easily manipulated. I became a nurse and that helped me learn how to help people while also not being emotionally involved. If your daughter is seeing a therapist, hopefully that's something they will explore. You can discuss it with her, too.

Bottom line, she did the right thing by coming to you. You did the right thing by acknowledging her and by contacting the school. I am really hoping that boy can get some help and soon. He sounds like a very hurt person who needs it. But you're right, your daughter is too young and not emotionally capable of handling that. My brother was in his mid-20's and he was not able to handle it.
post #36 of 41
Thread Starter 
GoBecGo, I'm sorry, that's so painful.

Quote:
I became a nurse and that helped me learn how to help people while also not being emotionally involved.
That's interesting. My daughter has been saying for a few years now that she wants to be a psychologist, or some sort of counselor. I think it's in her fibers to want to listen to people. Hopefully she can learn how to do that without losing herself.

I'm going to tell her today that if exbf talks to her again about suicide she should call 911.
post #37 of 41
This is a good time for her to learn that she isn't responsible for other people's happiness and there is only so much you can do to help and then it is up to the other person to decide to do something or nothing. However, there is things she can be doing to help and it sounds like she was right in coming to you.

Also, kids deal with strong emotions everyday. I remember all my life, but especially once the hormones started to kick up in middle school, having big emotions that sometimes were too much for me to deal with alone. I think I am on the more sensitive side of things to be sure and it sounds like your daughter is too. She feels things strongly and it really gets to her, but this isn't negative or positive by itself, just a part of her. It really is great that she is coming to you! I think dating is a good thing to do around this age so she can learn about it while she still has you as a pretty strong presence in her life. Does it suck that she is so distraught right now, yes, but it is also great if she can take this experience and learn from it so that she is better equipped to deal with a situation like this in the future when she is on her own.

Others have given good advice on what to do, so I will leave that to them, though it sounds like you have already taken some great first steps
post #38 of 41
I don't have a teenager yet... so I have very little input about the situation...

but I wanted to tell you that I believe whole-heartedly that you must be some kind of awesome mama that your DD feels safe and comfortable enough asking you for advice like this. I would guess that many teens wouldn't want to talk to their moms about such personal and emotional stuff.

The other thought that occurred to me... is could you simply ask her what kind of help she wants from you. Many people have suggested that you limit her relationship with this boy... and maybe that's what she wants you to do, but just doesn't want to say so... maybe she's looking for you to step in as the authority and lay down some rules about her interactions with him so that she can use you as an out (if that makes any sense)... you know, so that if he calls again, she can say "my mom won't let me talk to you any more" (or whatever) so that you essentially are getting the blame for her cutting him off. Or she may just really want you to work with her on how to support him...

But if you asked her if she wants you to "lay down the law" about her relationship with him, she might just be relieved that you are offering to take some of the responsibility off her shoulders...

otoh... the only experience I have with teens is my own teenage years and only have toddler right now (I saw this thread in parenting) so I don't really know what I'm talking about, but this was something that occured to me.
post #39 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post
: 15 is too young to be burdened by this. Whether this boy is depressed, being abused, or is an abuser, he needs PROFESSIONAL help for any of the scenarios, NOT the help of a 15 yo. She can remain compassionate, but point him in the direction of the kind of help he really needs.
Right on mama. It isn't her place to help him. But there does need to be an intervention of some sort for this kid.

I think it is awesome that your dd can talk to you about this, OP.
post #40 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanniesue2 View Post
I don't have a teenager yet... so I have very little input about the situation...

but I wanted to tell you that I believe whole-heartedly that you must be some kind of awesome mama that your DD feels safe and comfortable enough asking you for advice like this. I would guess that many teens wouldn't want to talk to their moms about such personal and emotional stuff.

The other thought that occurred to me... is could you simply ask her what kind of help she wants from you. Many people have suggested that you limit her relationship with this boy... and maybe that's what she wants you to do, but just doesn't want to say so.
.. maybe she's looking for you to step in as the authority and lay down some rules about her interactions with him so that she can use you as an out (if that makes any sense)... you know, so that if he calls again, she can say "my mom won't let me talk to you any more" (or whatever) so that you essentially are getting the blame for her cutting him off. Or she may just really want you to work with her on how to support him...

But if you asked her if she wants you to "lay down the law" about her relationship with him, she might just be relieved that you are offering to take some of the responsibility off her shoulders...

otoh... the only experience I have with teens is my own teenage years and only have toddler right now (I saw this thread in parenting) so I don't really know what I'm talking about, but this was something that occurred to me.
That's an excellent suggestion, and I will ask her what she wants me to do.

Thanks for the kudos.
I'm trying really, really hard to listen before I talk.

In my alarm about the 'manipulative' turn this was taking, I didn't bring up here the other side of the story. My daughter was much more in love with him than he was with her. I know now she was bored last summer and was texting him constantly, and he must have been overwhelmed. So the first couple times dd came to me in tears about this and I was learning just how intense she'd been, I'd interrupt her trying to explain 1)he's just a kid! It's really unfortunate how poorly he handled this break up, but ya know, he was probably doing the best he could, and 2)holy cow, considering his dad's issues and his own possibly serious mental health issues, you dodged a bullet and you should just be relieved you know this about him now, rather than later when you're even more entrenched in the relationship. All said at the top of my voice because I'm frustrated with the tears, frustrated that she doesn't see my perspective, frustrated because I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been that intensely attached to any guy when I was 15.

Well, duh, Mom, she's only 15 y.o., this is all new to her, and if you start minimizing her feelings she's just going to shut you out.

Where's the pull-my-hair-out smiley??

This has been an important learning experience for me. We'll be getting busy as a family more, keeping her busier with us, and putting stricter limits on her phone usage.

These things get lost in huge posts, but I'll just repeat, I did talk with the counselor at school about our concerns about the exbf. I think this will be the extent of our involvement with this issue.
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