DD's friend hurting herself - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-07-2014, 06:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have known for a few weeks that DD's best girlfriend (12) lived in a violent, alcoholic, drug-dealing home until about 5 years ago. She's safe now, but still has court-ordered visits with the abusive father once a week. 

 

DD has told me before that her friend is very depressed, and their circle of friends spend a lot of time trying to cheer her up. She's a sweet girl who's been here for sleepovers, and she's good at hiding her pain. 

 

But last night, DD broke down crying, and spilled the whole truth: her friend has talked about suicide, and regularly cuts herself and engages in unsafe online role play with strangers. She has sworn her friends to secrecy, but DD told me, "I'm not equipped to deal with this stuff! I want to stop being her friend, but that would make me a terrible person!" The group has tried to get her to seek help, but she won't. 

 

I have to be honest: I'm freaking out. It is not in me to sit by and not reach out to someone to help this child. But I'm 43, and I'm not equipped to deal with this, either. I don't know whether to start with her mom (who told me about the former household,) or the school counselor. I don't even know what to tell DD, other than, "I know this is really hard, and I think you should continue trying to convince her to seek help. And I think you need to hang out with a wider range of friends." In my heart, I'm afraid that if DD severs the friendship, her friend really will hurt herself.

 

Thanks for reading this far. Any advice would be appreciated! 


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Old 03-07-2014, 06:49 AM
 
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first call the suicide prevention hotline or teen help hotline in your area. ask them what resources they have. this is not to help the girl - just for your knowledge and for you not to feel so helpless. and to help out your dd too. 

 

i would go to the mom first. find out if the dd is in therapy. AND i would tell the school cousellor too. 

 

its the suicide part that is the scary part. 


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Old 03-09-2014, 07:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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On Friday, I talked to the school counselor, giving my DD's name, but keeping the other girl's name confidential. I just wanted resources on how to talk to my DD about the situation. The counselor was so helpful, and said to keep reassuring my DD she did the right thing by coming to me.

 

Friday evening, I talked to the other mom. She thanked me several times, and didn't tell me to butt out. I kept my comments very brief and factual, focusing on my DD's concern. The mom filled me in on all the ex-husband's drama, and it was worse than my DD knew. 

 

At this point, I am pretty sure the behavior was in the cry for help category and she's not in any danger. DD has distanced herself from the friendship, and seems happier this morning. 


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Old 03-09-2014, 11:48 AM
 
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I'm glad your DD has distanced herself. f she is telling you she's not equipped for this friendship, take her seriously.  It is not her job to "save" anyone from themselves and she'll be a much happier person if she understands the limits of her own influence in these situations.

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Old 03-09-2014, 12:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AuntNi View Post
 

DD has distanced herself from the friendship, and seems happier this morning. 

 

It sounds like this is definitely the right path for your dd. No child should feel like they're shouldering the responsibility for a friend's mental health. However, I'd like to suggest that you talk to your dd about a gesture or two that might make her friend feel valued and supported during this tough time, while still preserving the boundaries of personal responsibility that your dd has carved out. Perhaps a card or a small personalized gift with a note, or an invitation to join your family for a movie or a meal some weekend, whatever feels like it might be appropriate. Something that makes it clear that while she's setting some boundaries and changing the nature the relationship, she's not wanting to sever the friendship entirely. 

 

I am just imagining being a 12-year-old girl who is hurting really badly, who has done some stupid things as a way of trying to process my pain, who has tried to reach out clumsily for help but reached in the wrong directions, and then suddenly on top of all that been abandoned by some of my closest friends. I think a kind gesture would go a long way to mitigating the pain of feeling cut off. 

 

Miranda


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Old 03-09-2014, 02:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

It sounds like this is definitely the right path for your dd. No child should feel like they're shouldering the responsibility for a friend's mental health. However, I'd like to suggest that you talk to your dd about a gesture or two that might make her friend feel valued and supported during this tough time, while still preserving the boundaries of personal responsibility that your dd has carved out. Perhaps a card or a small personalized gift with a note, or an invitation to join your family for a movie or a meal some weekend, whatever feels like it might be appropriate. Something that makes it clear that while she's setting some boundaries and changing the nature the relationship, she's not wanting to sever the friendship entirely. 

I am just imagining being a 12-year-old girl who is hurting really badly, who has done some stupid things as a way of trying to process my pain, who has tried to reach out clumsily for help but reached in the wrong directions, and then suddenly on top of all that been abandoned by some of my closest friends. I think a kind gesture would go a long way to mitigating the pain of feeling cut off. 

Miranda

yes that too.
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