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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » How can I help my friend?

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Author Topic: How can I help my friend?
ananab
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Member # 76493

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So my friend is 18 and has recently graduated high school. Over the summer she got a job at vacation bible camp. Recently she's been telling me about how sexually attracted she is to the 12-13 year old girls there. She hasn't actually done anything yet, but she tends to get obsessed with her infatuations and sometimes she tells me about these fantasies she has where she drugs, rapes, and kills the objects of her affection.

In addition she's been making other worrying comments such as "I just want to go to sleep forever and never wake up." and stuff like that, as well as doing dangerous things. For example the other night she was giving me and a friend a ride home and it was pouring out. The posted speed was 35 or thereabouts and she was doing around 50 and the more I begged her to slow down and be careful the faster she went. I actually feared for my life and it really scared me.

I've tried talking to her about it (in the most respectful way I could) and I've tried getting her mom involved (long story). I just want her to feel better, and I want to ensure she doesn't do anything that she (or those around her) would regret. I'm at a loss though. She hasn't actually done anything so it's not like I can get the police involved, and she never takes my advice. What should I do?

(Sorry if it seems like I'm spamming with so many posts right after joining. I'm just so excited to have a source of reasonable advice, so I'm asking about things that have been bothering me for a while.

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Alice
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Hey there ananab,

Wow, this is a seriously tough situation that you (and your friend) are in.

Would you mind expanding a little on what happened when you talked to your friend's mother about this? We don't mind "long stories." :-)

Something important - please, please, please do not get in a car with your friend again, until you're sure that she can be a safe driver. Accidents happen so easily when people are taking risks like that, and we really don't want anything terrible to happen to you.

[ 08-20-2011, 05:28 PM: Message edited by: Alice ]

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The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you. - B.B. King

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ananab
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Well, I figured that I'm still young and so her mother may not take me entirely seriously, so I talked to my mom about talking to her mom for me (my mom knows about the situation and has lived through bipolar disorder so she knows the low-down on psychiatrists and such) and she agreed to, but she wasn't able to approach the conversation without making it seem like she was blaming her for what may be wrong with her daughter.

Also, her mother is super duper religious and doesn't know that her daughter is sexually attracted to her own gender yet, so that added more to our plate, since it would be hard enough to get her to accept her daughter for that, let alone the *real* problems she has. (When I say problems I don't mean to imply that homosexuality is a problem, I'm saying the opposite- it's not a problem at all but her mom would definitely make it one.) We fear that telling her mom these things would make the situation even worse as the last thing a depressed person needs is someone so close to them rejecting them.

Also, apparently she has been to see psychologists before and was told there is nothing wrong, and really, no one wants to believe there is something wrong with their child, whether it's cancer, pneumonia, or depression. It's been a little over a year. I don't think it's okay for my friend to be so upset for so long and to have such violent thoughts so frequently.

Thank you for worrying for my safety. It means a lot that someone (even over the internet) is not only taking me seriously, but also caring for me as well. [Smile] Trust me, I was so scared, I'm definitely not going to make the same mistake twice.

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Alice
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You're right, it isn't okay for someone to feel upset for so long, or to have such violent thoughts so frequently. This cannot feel good for her. How receptive has she been when/if you've talked to her about this? In these cases, sometimes it works to approach it like this: "This stuff you're feeling must totally suck, I'm sure it doesn't feel good to feel this way and think these things. I've heard that sometimes talking to a counselor can help. Maybe I could help you find one?"

And, of course, as a friend - that's about all you can do. You can keep being friends with her if you wish, or you can take a step back for your own safety (be that physical, emotional, etc). Either one is totally understandable and we'll be happy to discuss this with you regardless of what you do there.

The thing about people experiencing stuff like this (and doing things like this) is that you can only help *so much.* People who don't want to be helped are nearly impossible to help (and trying very hard would be futile and pointless for you). If she's unwilling (or unable) to see that what she's doing is a problem at this time, then there isn't a whole lot of steps for you to take - as much as I know it hurts sometimes.

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The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you. - B.B. King

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ananab
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Now that I think about it, she's never really been very receptive to what I say. For example she would confide in me about how she felt something was her fault, and no matter how many times and how many reasons and explanations I gave for exactly why it wasn't her fault, she'd refuse to change her view.

She's afraid to get help I think because she doesn't want to be "different". She doesn't want to feel like she's "crazy". (Her words not mine)

Lately I have been taking steps away, for example not getting into the looped conversations of her self doubt and my reassurance that usually ended worse than they began, but I still want to help her. I can't help remember all the good times we had and I know that her good parts are still inside of her and all she needs is a little help.

I really don't want to give up on her.

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Alice
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Okay, sounds to me like you're a little conflicted between being there emotionally for your friend but also protecting yourself - which, of course, is very important.

Hmm, if feeling "different" or "crazy" is her fear on getting help -- I wonder how she thinks she is viewed now, while acting out these behaviors and having these issues?

Hang in there, and make sure you're taking care of yourself and not getting sucked into anything which may destroy you. One possible option I have in my head right now (note: just brainstorming ways you can both protect yourself and also help her) is that if you're prepared to step away from this friendship for awhile - doing so with a note very simply explaining WHY along with a phone number and address for a counseling or mental health agency might help her get the message.

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The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you. - B.B. King

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