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17 yo son in unhealthy relationship

(7 Posts)
nowheretoturnto Wed 05-Nov-14 02:12:52

It is a long story and hard to describe, so please excuse any disjointedness.
17 yo son has taken up with a girl for past year who self harms, is depressed, suicidal, panics, bulimic, insomniac and is generally very needy.
Although he was the usual uncommunicative, lazy teenager, he was not a bad lad, he has a gentle nature and still held on to a bit of playfulness.
His behaviour has totally changed both in himself and towards me.
I found cut marks on him and spoke to the school as this really was not him, who told me they were aware of her self harming issues. He has since left school, although she has remained there.
He seems to be copying her behaviour to identity and empathise with her. He is telling a lot of lies about his life to accomplish this. Where she has a lot of serious problems that she is putting onto him, he is making up things and I am often blamed for the majority them. He has taken to causing a lot of arguments between us and then telling her how wicked and abusive I am towards him and what a horrible life he suffers with me. Then he walks out and tells her that I have kicked him out. Not true! I am worried that if this continues for much longer he is going to become a pathological liar and start believing his own stories. It is almost like he is living a double life, whereby he is making up all these lies to her about how badly treated he is and how vile I am to him, but in reality he carries on as normal often even giving me a hug and saying he loves me! He is head over heels in love with her, even though he is often troubled and depressed, understandably as he is having a lot of her problems put on him and he doesn't know how to deal with them.and she occupies every millimetre of his head space. She is up all night texting. He gets tired and needs a far more sleep than her, but he is not getting it. His college work is suffering and other friends, activities etc. have fallen by the wayside. The earliest I can get him to bed is 1am. At one point he started not eating, but this seems to have stopped. I realise they all hate us at this age but the tales he is making up I feel are crossing the line. I have devoted my life to him and he is not abused as he claims.
Tonight I came home and he created an argument and stormed off to her house which is quite some distance away. I pointed out that I had not done anything and tried to ask what was troubling him but he started shouting and left and is staying at her house. I called the police who did not think he was in danger. I disagree as I am extremely worried about what is going on between them, and the fact that her parents seem to join in to turn him against me. Her parents are very controlling of her and she is turn is very controlling of him. She also hits him and he says he "does not mind" .He is gullible and naïve, she is his first gf, whereby she is quite worldly and has had other sexual relationships before him. The parents are aware of her self harm and yet do not get her any help.
I am a single parent without any family support. I know I cannot control who he chooses as friends, but I am worried about the current and also the long term effect it is having/will have on our relationship. I feel I cannot carry on like this, and whatever I do I am in a no-win situation. Obviously I cannot say anything about her as it will drive him further away.
Sorry this is so long. Any advice please?

claraschu Wed 05-Nov-14 03:02:30

I have been through a similar situation with my son. It was not quite as extreme, but his girlfriend was abusive, controlling, manipulative, used emotional blackmail, and attempted to separate him from us and from his friends. My biggest fear was that she would get pregnant.

We had a year of desperation, but he slowly started to recognise what was going on and he is now completely free of her, very happy, and back to his old self. I never felt that I knew what to do and was overwhelmed by the sense of being responsible for him but unable to influence him. My best moments were when I could still just be fun and loving and not put pressure on him. I think that reminded him that true love is unconditional, joyful, and full of selfless concern for the other person.

I am so sorry you are going through this, and I have no real advice to give except to keep loving him and seeing the wonderful person that he really is.

nowheretoturnto Wed 05-Nov-14 07:35:29

Hi claraschu. Thank you so much for your message. I am glad you got your boy back.
I feel this girl is attempting to separate my son and I.
I also worry about her getting pregnant. She is on the pill but as she is bulminic there is the possibility it could fail.
I have tried to ignore his behaviour and make his life nice at home. This is where sometimes it would appear that he has two different personas.
One fantasy life for her and for us. I am not sure that this behaviour is "normal" even for a teen.
Thanks again for your help.

claraschu Wed 05-Nov-14 09:17:39

I know that kids this age lie, and sometimes don't see how serious this breach of trust actually is. I certainly tried to talk to my son about this, though I'm not sure it helped.

In the end I think my son was helped by having a very serious outside interest, which he wouldn't sacrifice for his girlfriend. Does your son have anything that he can hold onto? I think this might have speeded up the process of disillusionment for my son.

I was lucky to have a very good friend I could tell all the details to, who kept telling me that my son would come back in the end.

I told my son to use condoms, and very forcefully told him that if GF got pregnant he would have a legal obligation and absolutely no control over her choice (I also mentioned she was unbalanced enough to keep a pregnancy). Again, I don't know if saying this helped at all, but it was something I had to do.

claraschu Wed 05-Nov-14 09:18:35

Oh, maybe you will get more answers if you post in teenagers or chat.

claraschu Wed 05-Nov-14 14:29:18

You can ask for the thread to be moved for more traffic. I'm bumping for you.

nowheretoturnto Wed 05-Nov-14 17:35:55

Hi. Thanks so much for replying again. I am new here so what is "bumping?

I posted it in teenagers also and got one reply.

My son has no other interests. I have tried to tell him he must do a hobby, learn an instrument or do something creative and also some physical exercise in order to boost his self esteem and like you say, to give him another outside interest other than this girl.

He has a first driving lesson booked for tomorrow which he has now cancelled and said he does not want to book anymore. I really thought if he could just get in that car for one lesson it would get him motivated. He did not turn up for college today as he was with her after his storming out yesterday. He has a trial drum lesson a few weeks ago and nothing since. He refuses to do any physical exercise. His head is totally filled with her. He finishes college at 5.30 and is texting until I can get him to go to bed. Usually midnight or 1am and then he is annoyed at me for telling him to go. That is 7 and a half hrs of solid. If he does not see her he can be texting non stop for 16 hours. He is not allowed his phone in the bedroom whilst sleeping and I can hear her texts pinging through at 3,4 5 am. She never sleeps!

I am just waiting for this relationship to end but at the moment after one year, there is no signs of this happening.

Thank you so much for your words of wisdom I do appreciate it.

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