I feel like I have a crisis situation on my hands - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-09-2011, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello every one. I'm not usually one to ask for support, I've done everything on my own my whole life, but recently my daughter has become a real concern and I feel like this is just too much for me to handle alone. About 2 weeks ago I got a call from one of the guidance counselors at my daughter's school asking me if she has been depressed lately, when I asked why I was told is was because she had dark bruises around her throat that looked like either some one had tried to strangle her or she had tried to hang herself. There is a boyfriend, but I'm sure he's not abusive, and I know I'm not. I never noticed the bruises, probably because she has long hair and, until recently, it was dyed black, so it was always hard to know what was shadow, what was hair, and if anything was an unusual skin color. Then just last thursday night she bleached her hair and it turned orange. I had to let her stay home from school on friday and buy red hair dye for her so she could fix it. I know there are problems with bullies but my daughter refuses to ask for help, or even admit that she is being bullied because she "wont label herself a victim". She also claims that she doesnt remember bleaching her hair, like she had blacked out or had been sleep walking. I dont know waht to do to help at this point. I think its beyond anything that I can do really, you cant force some one to accept help, but can you make some one see that they need it?

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Old 10-10-2011, 06:58 AM
 
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Have you straight up asked her about the bruises?

 

As per counsellors, perhaps you can interview a few together to find one she likes?   Can you make a day of it - we will go to the counsellors, and then to a lunch spot - you treat.

 

If she really will not go to a counsellor, there might be other adults she can talk to.  Teachers, church figure - heck, even a hotline number!

 

I would try and get her to :

-exercise

-volunteer

-finding a route of self expression  (art, music, journalling)

 

I don't think the above list will solve anything, but they might help her cope, and are good practices anyways.

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Old 10-10-2011, 01:22 PM
 
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How old is your daughter?  I'm not sure how to be delicate about this, but is it possible she's doing this to herself, in the way of autoerotic asphyxiation? 

 

Quote:
I think its beyond anything that I can do really, you cant force some one to accept help, but can you make some one see that they need it?

 

Don't give up.  You need to get a hold of a child/teen therapist, for you to talk to.  Explain the above, about the bruises, the bullying and not remembering the hair dye, and ask, 'so I can't drag her in here, but can I make her see that she needs help?' Ask how you can help her.

 

I agree with Kathy. If you haven't already you need to bravely and calmly ask her about the bruises.  Be very gentle and listen to her responses carefully.  Ask her questions to prompt her to explain more. The purpose isn't to solve her problems with the one conversation. It's simply to establish that she can talk to you about very sensitive things without you rejecting her.  You might end the 'conversation' without saying much at all; she might do all the talking. 

 

Many hugs to you, Mama.  hug.gif

 

 

 

 


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Old 10-10-2011, 11:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter is 16 years old. I did ask about the bruises; her response was that they were the result of the leather and metal choker she wore to a concert she went to recently, it was just on too tight for too long. I dont know how much I believe this, but I dont want to push the issue and push her away. What really worries me is that I think the hair bleaching was a kind of nervous breakdown because of all the girls picking on her looks all the time. Unfortunately, she only seems willing to talk with 2 people openly; her boyfriend and a boy whos been her friend for the past 6 or so years, aside from those two she isolates herself even spending breaks at school in distant corners drawing or writing and telling any one who talks to her to F- off.

 

In a way I like the fact that she doesnt want to be thought of as a victim, but I dont like that she takes it to the point of refusing help so that others dont see her as weak. Considering that she has been physically threatened by some of the girls at her school, I'm afraid this is a recipe for disaster. As of right now I have her out of school for the week so that she can recover from her little breakdown before going back into the snake pit. Beyond giving her these little breaks, I have no ideas. Therapists and counsellors have done next to no good in her past but I'm willing to try again

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Old 10-10-2011, 11:08 PM
 
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Are any other schools options for her? Do you have an alternative schools? Charter schools etc?

 

My kids go to a small private school, and every year about this time there is an influx of students for whom their current school has become a nightmare.

 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 10-11-2011, 09:07 AM
 
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Well, really you CAN force her to get help, and in a situation this significant, I would absolutely do so. If she won't go in for help, you simply arrange for her to be admitted as an inpatient somewhere for assessment and help.  

 

Is it necessarily going to make her your friend and foster trust with you right now? Absolutely not. Might it save her life- possibly.  

 

Something is very wrong, and she needs help.  She's making herself a victim if she isn't willing to seek the support she needs.  

 

Furthermore, I see your statement that you are sure her partner isn't violent as dangerous.  Intimate partner violence among teens is a huge problem, and you really can't possibly know. 

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Old 10-11-2011, 10:14 AM
 
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I'm sorry mama, it sounds like she's in a lot of pain.  You're right to be very concerned. There are some good suggestions here.  I'd look into getting her into another school if at all possible.

 

If she is refusing help it might be because she's learned that so far no one else is going to move to protect her adequately.  So she has to do it herself.  Or it's part of her personality. :)  Regardless, this is so true:

 

Quote:
 She's making herself a victim if she isn't willing to seek the support she needs.

 

This is a complex issue, she's only sixteen and it's obvious that she's not handling it on her own very well.  You need to tell her that it's completely logical and understandable that she can't do this by herself, in fact would be pretty amazing and unexpected for her to handle this by herself.  Adults in all their wisdom can't handle everything by themselves.  So you want to help her. She's not giving up her autonomy if she lets her mother, who wants nothing more than for her to be happy and healthy, help her through this. 

 

As well, you should ask her what she wants to do and what she wants you to do. 


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Old 10-11-2011, 02:14 PM
 
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One place to start might be with the guidance counselor at school or with a school social worker or psychologist if they have one. To me the problems you are describing are at the level where a professional needs to be brought in. I hope you are able to get her some help.

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Old 10-12-2011, 06:12 AM
 
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Do you have a central teen mental health referral where you live?  I would start with whatever is faster to get help, whether it's counseling or psychology, whatever, while having her on a list for adolescent psychiatry.  I'd also really keep an eye out for if this is the "choking game".  I'm leaving a link to an official website.  We had a family in this area lose a 13 year old to this, and it helps to at least know the warning signs.  I also second that your gut instinct may be right about the boyfriend not being abusive, but it's hard to know for sure because abusers are sneaky.  I've been in that situation, and no one, even closest friends, guessed my ex was "that sort of person".  And, I agree with the PP's that suggest changing the school situation to something smaller and easier to handle.  Keep plugging away at this and pull out all the stops, while keeping the communication lines as open as possible.

 

This is such a hard thing for both of you.  I hope you get the help you need.


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Old 10-12-2011, 11:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well the mystery of the bruises has been solved, and I think its worse than even "the choking game" or any kind of autoerotic asphyxiation. I was collecting laundry from her room and found a book open on her bed on a chapter called "Breath Play". Apparently she is letting her boyfriend choke her in some strange form of sexual dominance-submission type pleasure. I didnt fully understand the concept.

 

Thanks every one for the ideas, I'm afraid to take her to another teen mental heath center, the last 2 attempts were disasters. The first one ended with her going on a rant in the group session, and the second ended with her throwing a few punches at the doctor (luckily she missed). I dont want to know what the next step up is from this.

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Old 10-12-2011, 11:59 PM
 
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Many, many hugs for you.  hug.gif  This is tough.  Just a hunch, the fact that the book was left on the bed, open to that chapter, where a parent could find it -might not be an accident.

 

There might be a legal angle to this -he purposefully injured her. Doesn't matter that she consented to it.

 


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Old 10-13-2011, 12:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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@ journeymom

hidden under the pillow and blankets? she was hiding, I just picked today to want to wash bedsheets etc

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Old 10-13-2011, 06:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AshleyTiger View Post

@ journeymom

hidden under the pillow and blankets? she was hiding, I just picked today to want to wash bedsheets etc



Still - it was not hidden very well.  She might have wanted you to find it.

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Old 10-13-2011, 09:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by AshleyTiger View Post

Well the mystery of the bruises has been solved, and I think its worse than even "the choking game" or any kind of autoerotic asphyxiation. I was collecting laundry from her room and found a book open on her bed on a chapter called "Breath Play". Apparently she is letting her boyfriend choke her in some strange form of sexual dominance-submission type pleasure. I didnt fully understand the concept.

 

Thanks every one for the ideas, I'm afraid to take her to another teen mental heath center, the last 2 attempts were disasters. The first one ended with her going on a rant in the group session, and the second ended with her throwing a few punches at the doctor (luckily she missed). I dont want to know what the next step up is from this.



I guess I'd step in in terms of the relationship to make it clear that there wouldn't be any unsupervised time with the boyfriend.  I'd certainly invite him over and they would be welcome to stay in common areas of the house, but there would be absolutely no privacy for them. 

 

As far as therapy etc, if she's so dysfunctional right now that she's unable to be a willing participant in getting better, it's time to consider an inpatient approach.  

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Old 10-13-2011, 09:59 AM
 
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As the mother of a daughter who has tried to commit suicide, I feel that your dd is wanting you to find this.  I would bet that she is scared because of what she's gotten herself into w/her boyfriend. I think it sounds like she's letting him do this because she is so depressed and probably has very low self esteem. As her mother you need to stop this by ending that relationship and getting her counseling immediately.  He can accidentally kill her.

 

hug2.gif
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

Still - it was not hidden very well.  She might have wanted you to find it.



 


Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

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Old 10-13-2011, 10:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by AshleyTiger View Post

@ journeymom

hidden under the pillow and blankets? she was hiding, I just picked today to want to wash bedsheets etc


Ah. That wasn't clear. 



Whatever you decide to do with your dd, I urge you to get help for yourself, in order to help her. Talk to a family therapist who specializes in teen issues, and discuss the same stuff you've posted here.

 

Like the common advice for married couples, if she won't go with you, go yourself. 

 

To my way of thinking you have two primary missions.  One, save your daughter from hurting herself further.  Two, build a relationship with her that encourages trust, so she will let you help her. 


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Old 10-13-2011, 10:45 AM
 
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Quote:
I'm afraid to take her to another teen mental heath center, the last 2 attempts were disasters. The first one ended with her going on a rant in the group session, and the second ended with her throwing a few punches at the doctor (luckily she missed). I dont want to know what the next step up is from this.

 

This is really understandable.  But you have GOT to put your fear aside and move, NOW.  It doesn't matter that she doesn't want help, you are the adult, she is not,  she is demonstrating over and over that she needs an adult to step in NOW.  She may put up a huge stink, she may resent or even hate you.  But she will have survived.  An example: my mom loved to tell how how my brother, when he was a toddler, stuck his finger in a light socket. He got thrown back and he cried. Thank goodness he wasn't killed. Mom covered the outlet (this is before safety covers for outlets) but then she spotted him going right back to the light socket to do it again.  So she swooped in and took him away. Brother put up a huge fuss, but he was alive.

 

My brother's curiosity led him to do something life threatening.  He was injured but he still went back to try again. So my mom, who knows better than he does, stopped him even though he howled angrily.  So my brother lived and completely appreciates that his mom did the right thing even though he didn't like it at the time. (He's 53)

 

Your daughter is venturing into the most risk-taking time of her life (16 to 24 y.o.) which means her missteps/mistakes have bigger, more dangerous consequences.


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Old 10-13-2011, 05:08 PM
 
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I'd have her go regardless, and really tell and show her it's because you love her so much.  She may really want the help and doesn't feel able to ask.


Busy keeping up with three children and an awful lot of chickens!

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Old 10-27-2011, 07:02 PM
 
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I left all kinds of things around when I was a teenager hoping my mom would see them and worry about me.  She literally returned a suicide note to me that I had left on her bed with the edges burned, saying "Oh, I think you dropped this."

 

You are lucky that your daughter is leaving clues.  Parents that have lost their children to suicide or other kinds of violence would literally trade their own lives for a trail like your daughter has left.

 

Please continue seeking mental help for your daughter.  I do understand your reservations about therapy, but I would encourage you to keep looking until you can find someone both you and your daughter feel comfortable with.


 sleepytime.gif I got tired of my signature, but I still love my children and husband and miss my little brotherkid.gif

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Old 10-27-2011, 10:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AshleyTiger View Post

Hello every one. I'm not usually one to ask for support, I've done everything on my own my whole life. 

 

I know there are problems with bullies but my daughter refuses to ask for help, or even admit that she is being bullied because she "wont label herself a victim".

 

I dont know waht to do to help at this point. I think its beyond anything that I can do really, you cant force some one to accept help, but can you make some one see that they need it?



Maybe if you could show/ tell her that you need help sometimes too... lead by example.

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Old 10-28-2011, 05:31 PM
 
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Hey, I'm really sorry you are going through this. I was a very troubled teen and know how painful this is for your whole family. The good news is, many kids overcome these situations and go on to lead wonderful lives. I did!

If school is a problem, please do everything in your power to make it not a problem, changing schools or homeschooling may be necessary. For me, school in the town I grew up in was a total nightmare. I was an outcast and dealt with it with substance abuse and self mutilation. I felt a strong urge to do anything to differentiate myself from the kids and teachers that made my life miserable, so the more weird/ out of control I was, the better. When I moved across the country to live with my dad, there were a lot of changes in my life, but one of the best for me was a different school environment. New kids and staff that I didn't have this long, crappy history with, and the culture at the school was completely different. It made such an impact on my mental health, I can't even tell you.

A few other things that made a huge difference, just to throw some ideas out there (no idea if they are relevant or would work for your family): getting out in nature, having quiet time to myself, meditation, kayaking weekly, having clear boundaries and expectations set, and enjoying new experiences like travel and the arts.

What didn't help: therapy, outpatient drug rehab. I'm not saying there are no helpful therapists or drug rehab programs, but I will say that many of them (and unfortunately all the ones I went to) were total scoundrels that compounded my problems with my family, and even lied to me and my parents on a regular basis. If you decide to go the therapy route, do some serious homework.

Also, many people in the sado-masochism and bondage world steer well clear of "breath play" because it is dangerous. You should probably sit down and research this, then have an informed, non-judgmental discussion about safety with your daughter. I would be very careful here not to be punitive or imply that she is doing something crazy or stupid, just give her some facts and let her know that you just want her to be safe. The last thing you want is to make her rebel against you by getting more into dangerous sexual activities.

Hang in there, and remember that while the teenage years seem to last forever, they really are going to be over soon. Her brain's wiring will settle down soon and these trials will end. Good luck!

Mama to 3 awesome girls: DD1 born 2001, DD2 born 2002, DD3 born March 2011

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