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Daughter's Disturbing Texts about Suicide & Self Harm

Posted by on Sep. 17, 2013 at 11:06 AM
  • 16 Replies

I'm not sure what happened but suddenly my daughter's texts with one particular friend suddenly popped up on my iPad.  I wasn't going to read them except I immediately saw references to suicide and cutting.  Let me preface all of his to say my daughter is 13 years old and has always been a follower.  She has always acted like, laughed like, had the favorit color of and interests of her current BFF.  This particular friend is a known cutter (my daughter told me previously) who is in counselling.  My main problem is I'm not sure if my daughter is really feeling any of these things, or if she is trying to fit in with this friend.  Or maybe even trying to make this friend feel normal.  They mostly talk about ridiculous nonsense, but occasionally they will both talk about cutting and this other friend would talk about "not being here much longer" and threatening to take pills.  Then later my daughter would talk about all the pills in the house and how tempting they are (there aren't any).  Then they would both tell each other how suicide is not the answer and things change and they would die if the other one died and they are here for each other and if they didn't have each other etc. etc. etc.  My daughter has had some body issues (she's tall with a great figure where most of her friends are short and boyish) and she thinks she's ugly when she's beautiful (not just a mother speaking).  I did try to talk to her without letting on how much I knew by saying she hasn't seemed like herself and taking several walks with her but she insists she is fine and she's just a teenager. Then she texted her friend that she couldn't tell me about "all that stuff" and that she said she was just a teenager and would try to be happier around me.   I don't want to confront her with specifics because I'm afraid I will no longer have access to what's going on should it become more serious.  If I tell her what I know she'll just start hiding it better.  It's tearing me apart.  My head tells me she's just caught up in the drama with this interesting friend, but my heart is scared to death.  I don't want her to be with this person, but I'm also afraid if I did anything about it they would become closer - or worse the girl really needs my daughter and it might make her worse.  This is so much for a 13 year old!  I'd appreciate any advice!

by on Sep. 17, 2013 at 11:06 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Niccalyn
by Bronze Member on Sep. 17, 2013 at 11:59 AM

This is so difficult, I am not really sure how to advise you since I've never found myself in this situation. However, I do think it is okay and actually important to let her know you saw the texts.  You weren't snooping, it was a technical glitch of some sort, but you need to let her know how concerned you are and give her an opportunity to explain, unload, etc.  I noticed my 16-year-old acting differently after a recent breakup, I never saw any alarming texts or anything, but I spoke with her several times about how she didn't seem like herself and and kept reiterating that I am always there for her and if she thinks she needs more help, I will get it for her.  After about a month she texted me a link to an online quiz she had taken 'Am I Depressed?' or something like that, the website said she had some form of depression I'd never heard of but I called the pediatrician that day, got a referral to a counselor, and within a couple of weeks she was diagnosed with mild depression and anxiety.  She is responding well to talk therapy and the counselor at this point doesn't believe she needs medication.  So I'm very happy that I kept talking to my daughter because we caught it early and I think she is now learning coping strategies that will help her the rest of her life.

Also...just a thought, but perhaps encourage her to get involved with a sport or some sort of club or extracurricular activity that will allow her to meet new kids and develop other friendships.  Something that would give her opportunities for leadership roles would be great; perhaps it would help bring her out of her shell and allow her to realize she doesn't need to conform to other people's expectations in order to fit in. 

Best of luck to you; this is a tough one!

Limajo
by on Sep. 17, 2013 at 12:19 PM

She is involved in soccer and chorus.  She has lots of friends, this is one of the newest relationships.  This friendship is pretty much limited to online conversations since they are not in any classes together.  They met through a mutual friend.  Also this girl is supposedly moving out of state in October.  I'm not sure how much that will help since they mostly text.  


I'm very scared to tell her I suddenly  have access to her texts because in my mind knowing what she's talking about is keeping her safe.  If I tell her, she will shut down that account and I won't know anything again unless she chooses to tell me.  This one is so hard.  

Niccalyn
by Bronze Member on Sep. 17, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Hi again, That's great that she is involved in other activities. Is she texting from her phone?  If so it is going to be tough for her to shut it down!  Have you continued to be able to see all of her texts or was it just that once?  Either way, if you just refer to that one particular day and tell her, "I don't know why but on this day I was able to see the texts you had with so-and-so and I'm very concerned," she won't necessarily think it was anything more than a one-time technical failure. 

I guess as long as you keep the lines of communication open and she knows she can come to you if things get bad then it will hopefully be okay...however, her realizing how much you know about the situation--and realizing that you didn't completely freak out when you acquired the information--may be the impetus she needs to really open up to you.  Keeping the fact that you have access to her private conversations to yourself could also backfire on you--if she finds out at some point, and she well may if she happens to pick up your ipad, she will be livid with you and much LESS likely at that point to trust you. 

I had a situation like this a couple of years ago when I was checking my daughter's FB account and saw some messages that made me realize she was putting herself into a compromsing situation with one of her guy friends. She knew I had her password, but didn't know that I actually go on and check things out a few times a week. I went ahead and told her what I knew and helped her steer through that situation when it eventually blew up in her face.  She didn't shut down her FB, but I'm pretty sure she now deletes anything incriminating. :) However, she also learned a valuable lesson which I hope will prevent her from making such a stupid mistake again; and, if I hadn't been there, I don't know what would've happened!

It could well be that this is just her way of establishing a connection with this friend; however, I have to think, if she has lots of friends, then why does she even want to communicate with this girl?  My girls definitely steer clear of those 'Emo' types as they don't feel like they have anything at all in common with them.  She must feel a connection to her, which I find somewhat distrubing?  Finally, her not knowing that you had/have access to her texts is not going to be at all helpful if she DOES end up hurting herself. I think you need to pull out all the stops at this point. If you aren't comfortable talking to her about what you know, perhaps you should involve a counselor.  Better safe than sorry!

Don't know if I've helped or complicated your life further--once again, good luck, I hope you get to the bottom of this and everything turns out fine. :-)

SugarrCane
by Member on Sep. 17, 2013 at 1:15 PM

The friend doesn't sound like a good influence on your daughter at all.  Instead of your daughter raising the friend up she is bringing your daughter down.  The friend needs to get some help and your daughter needs to be away from her since she is tempted to cut herself to fit in with her troubled friend.

Limajo
by on Sep. 17, 2013 at 2:05 PM

You're definitely helping!  I continue to see her texts, once it started it hasn't stopped.  There's no way she can access my iPad, so I'm tempted to give it more time to get a bigger picture.  

I also have a best friend whose daughter is a youth counselor.  She is reviewing the texts and will give me her opinion.

I do believe these two have a co-dependent relationship.  First of all this friend is extremely intelligent and wants to talk about real things other than silliness.  Secondly she looks up to my daughter, tells her she's amazing and beautiful and all the things that mean more coming from a friend than from family.  In turn, I think my daughter believes she is saving her friend's life by being her friend.  It's extremely complicated.  I'm sure part of the reason she doesn't want to talk to me is betrayal of her friendship.  That's also part of the reason I think she will be more upset if she knows I have read her friend's inner thoughts too.  

I sincerely wish I could make her stop being friends, but I can't imagine how without driving them closer together - like a boyfriend you can't stand.  

The cutting trend in this particular middle school is alarming.  She must know 9-10 people who do it or at least claim to do it.  It seems some of the girls try to get their parents to take them to counseling so they can get the meds and post a picture of them on Instagram to be cool.  

I feel like she went from little girl to scary teen in about a week.  I needed a smoother transition!!

huntersmom1007
by Member on Sep. 17, 2013 at 5:42 PM

What are her other texts like?  Does she have facebook?  How does she talk with her other friends in texts and on facebook?  You need to check out all the other areas of her life to see if it is just this friend she acts like this with.  Like you said she may just be following this friend.  How are the friends parents?  Maybe get to know them.  Like you said if we tell them they can't do something they want to do it more. 

atlmom2
by Susie on Sep. 17, 2013 at 5:56 PM
I told mine texts are not private. Phones, computers are not private. Talk to her for sure. 13 year olds don't need a phone honestly.
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Limajo
by on Sep. 17, 2013 at 7:10 PM

It's an iPad.  Her texts to other friends seem more silly in nature.  She doesn't use Facebook and her Instagram account is full of her posts about One Direction.  I do think this is just a "thing" between the two of them, but I'm still not happy about it.  The girl's father works two jobs, her mother doesn't speak English very well.  They live in a tiny apartment and she has to share a room with 8 year old twins.  I know she definitely has issues and is seeing a counselor, but I don't like that my daughter is caught up in this!

bizzeemom2717
by on Sep. 17, 2013 at 9:26 PM

 

Quoting SugarrCane:

The friend doesn't sound like a good influence on your daughter at all.  Instead of your daughter raising the friend up she is bringing your daughter down.  The friend needs to get some help and your daughter needs to be away from her since she is tempted to cut herself to fit in with her troubled friend.

 I agree, you are responsible to be an advocate for your 13 year old daughter and what is best for HER..this friend sounds like a terrible influence...the girl is in a sad situation no doubt but it's not up to your little girl to fix problems like this. Encourage other friendships and discourage this one.

Barabell
by Barbara on Sep. 18, 2013 at 12:14 AM
1 mom liked this


Quoting bizzeemom2717:

 

Quoting SugarrCane:

The friend doesn't sound like a good influence on your daughter at all.  Instead of your daughter raising the friend up she is bringing your daughter down.  The friend needs to get some help and your daughter needs to be away from her since she is tempted to cut herself to fit in with her troubled friend.

 I agree, you are responsible to be an advocate for your 13 year old daughter and what is best for HER..this friend sounds like a terrible influence...the girl is in a sad situation no doubt but it's not up to your little girl to fix problems like this. Encourage other friendships and discourage this one.

I normally don't like to choose my son's friends, but I have to agree with these ladies. If the friendship is harmful to your daughter's health and well-being, it's a good reason to intervene.

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