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Really need some help, 12 yr old self harmed Friday night

(19 Posts)
Brideandgloom Sun 14-Apr-13 10:17:48


I have a 12 yr old dd. I have posted on here before about her, she has been getting increasingly unhappy at school. We have got her on the waiting list for several schools as we feel a move might have been the answer. (there have been friendship issues including a nasty incident where she was assaulted by a peer)

However, I think I have got to the bottom of the biggest problem. Dd has always been sporty, a really good student, full of fun, enjoys seeing friends etc. she has become progressively more negative since Jan this year, spends loads of timeon her room, doesn't message her friends anymore/ meet up.
She had however started going out every Saturday daytime with a small mixed group who seemed lovely. All skate and so we were happy that she was out and active, she seemed really happy every time she came home. It turns out she has a boyfriend in this group, up until now I haven't thought it's an issue, they are both 12 and hugging is the extent of any close contact.

I was emptying dd's bin yesterday while she was outand found some bits from a disposable razor, it set of alarm bells, kept searching and found the blades in a box on her window sill,one had blood on it. sad

I called her and asked if she had been cutting herself, she admitted it and I asked her to come home so we could talk. She came home with no fuss although she was apprehensive that she might be in trouble.
She seemed more embarrassed that I had found her out, she has lots of scratches on her arm but no deep cuts and it looks like it is just once that this has happened. She has confirmed this and from her reaction whilst talking I don't think she got any release from it or could even understand why others might do it if you see what I mean.

I went through her Facebook messages and they were really frightening. The boyfriend sounds really depressed,he talks about harming himself and how good it feels, he is selling it to her. The messages are very much "you and I against the world" it's all no one else understands us. I can see dd getting pulled in and consequently pulled down as the messages go on.

I messaged the boys dad through facebook yesterday afternoon and asked him to call me as I was worried about his son. (dd only has the lads mobile and I don't want to all him to get put through to his dad as I think that might trigger him?)

So yesterday we had a huge chat and dd is adamant she won't do it again. She was incredibly upset when she realised the consequences, ie she has pe on Monday and won't be able to hide her arm. I know I will have to speak to the school and they will need to put their safeguarding procedures in place.

I took away dd's phone last night and iPad so that she couldn't message with this lad, I explained that I think he needs adult support and it's not fair of her or him to try to deal with his feelings on their own.
I forgot she had an old iPod in her drawer though, she charged it after she went to bed and they were face booking each other. His messages were horrific. She sends a general hi how are you, I'm ok and mum isn't cross type message.
His messages go straight into passive aggressive type stuff, ie oh well that's just great then, glad some one is ok etc etc. dd's messages get all apologetic and then he goes into a description of his idea of heaven, talks about how it will only be as he says if she is there and then he describes how he is going to kill himself.
It's really graphic, he talks about slitting his veins, inhaling deodorant and taking pills.
Dd gets progressively more upset and begs him not to do it.
He stops replying.

At this point dd came in to me and was in a huge state, sick, shaky etc. I went through his Facebook profile to try to find a way of contacting a family member for him to get some immediate help but while I was on there he was merrily "liking" skating videos, happy house music etc. making comments on friends walls, his comments were all really happy and absolutely nothing like the facebook messages he had been sending to dd only a few minutes earlier.

I asked dd if he did this often and she said yes, she showed me previous messages where he threatens to really hurt himself and then disappears for a few hours.

I managed to get her off to sleep in the end but she is still really upset today,not eating and feels sick.

The lads dad called this morning and he is fine, it turns out their whole group has been experimenting with cutting themselves, it's like an "in thing" that they are doing.
He is going to get his son some help but feels that he is doing it for the attention, last night when he was messaging dd he was sitting with his mum and dad laughing at the tv and eating dinner.

I know this is an epic post but if you got this far and can offer any advice at all please do. Idid look at the Sirius project site but it was offering a little too much advice on safe self harming formy liking.

AtiaoftheJulii Sun 14-Apr-13 15:33:58

What a horrible situation :-( Hopefully her eyes have been opened re this boy, and she can disentangle herself from him. I wouldn't worry too much about the cutting unless it continues, tbh, it sounds like something she got talked into trying. It's good that she's being so open with you now. Hope things improve x

Mumofthreeteens Sun 14-Apr-13 16:20:48

Good grief! He sounds a manipulative sod if he is sitting at home laughing and watching tv whilst sending messages like that. How do you get rid of him out of your daughter's life without making him seem more attractive to her. Keep chatting to your 'little girl' she needs help with this. No practical advice I'm afraid except try and get her away from him. Good luck.

mindfulmum Sun 14-Apr-13 17:02:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

splodge70 Sun 14-Apr-13 22:04:03

I'm going through a similar thing with my DD age 14. I think you have done great so far; not ignored it, been supportive etc. It's really difficult to know what to do when others are involved because often other parents don't see it from our point of view.

What is Sirius? I've done a search and just get things on stars and Harry Potter!

My dd has become invovled with a group of "emo's" who I initially thought were just happy kids that dressed a bit edgey! Unfortunately, the group that she has become invovled with are every stereotype of an "emo" you could imagine. (Self harm, smoke weed, all depressed, "the world is against me") She has gone from a chatty, mature, happy and colourful girl to a depressed, sullen, unmotivated girl who has admittedly started drinking, not for a laugh, but to forget how she feels.

I discovered the drinking 2 weeks ago and when confronted told me that she felt she was depressed. Following that, I checked her face book to find info on drinking more frequently than she disclosed and more alarmingly messages from boys, (aged 16) that were very sexual.

After confronting her about this we talked about how she had changed and how her behaviour was making things worse. (This talking has not really stopped but doesn't seem to be doing a lot of good) The other night, I walked into her room to find her cutting her arm with the blade she had detached from a pencil sharpener.

When asked what she thinks triggered her depression or mood change she doesn't know. SHe has had a happy life, no family break ups, no trauma's, bullting etc and pinpoints her mood change from starting to hang around with these peopl ebut does not know how to turn around her thinking now.

Brideandgloom, I'm not trying to "steal your thunder" by talking about me me me, but wanted to emphasise that you seem to have started off well, just keep at it before her thinking styles change from positive and healthy to focussing upon the negative.

Good luck, it's an awful time, finger crossed it will get better. x

Ledkr Sun 14-Apr-13 22:19:08

I'm reading this in terror as I've just put my 11 yr old dd to bed and she still seems so young. I can't believe a year later this could be happening.
You sound as if you have a lovely relationship with her and that she can speak to you without fear.
I'd suggest you keep communication open and frank.
with regards to the boy,speak to her about where she goes from here so that between you both you can agree how she handles it so that she fors not feel dictated to.

SanityClause Sun 14-Apr-13 22:26:39

Sirius Project website

DD is 13, and found this really useful when she found out a friend was self harming. (Sorry,OP, I know you know about it, I was linking for splodge70.)

It is good that the school will know as she will get access to a counsellor, and other mental health care professionals, if appropriate.

SanityClause Sun 14-Apr-13 22:28:32

Splodge, there are suggestions on the website for alternatives to cutting - flicking with a rubber band for example. It may be useful.

mindfulmum Sun 14-Apr-13 22:47:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Brideandgloom Sun 14-Apr-13 22:48:15

Hi all,

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, it's so kind of you all.

Dd and I have talked a lot today, she has started most of the conversations which I think is a good thing. She genuinely feels pretty embarrassed about cutting herself now. I think she has concluded for herself that she has tried it because others are doing it and not because she has any genuine distress.

We went for a run this evening, I'm trying to get her to run regularly with me because it really helps her with her general mood and it makes her feel good about herself when she has achieved a slightly faster time or managed a longer distance.
She started talking about the boyfriend and how it makes her feel panicked when he says he is going to or has been hurting himself. We spoke about what she can do when he says these things and she has agreed that she will show me any messages straight away or call me if she is not with me. I explained about why it's really important for an adul to know if he is saying these things and I couched it in the context of it being a caring act to let an adult know if he needs help which she seemed to really get.
She was still feeling sick and upset before we went for our run but I do think it is because she is so worried about this lad.
I think my strategy is going to be to not ban contact with him but to subtly find ways to reduce it and hopefully this will peter out in time.
I don't think this lad is intentionally doing anything to upset dd but I do think he is very poorly and that if I don't step in dd will end up in a co-dependant situation with him.

I really take on board your point mindfulmum about not assuming she is ok, I am still going to ask the school for some support and I will be keeping a very close eye on things.
At the moment I'm as confident as I can be that she doesn't intend to do this again but I'm also mindful that the situation could change and I want to make sure she trusts me enough to come to me if she ever has a crisis.

Splodge I'm so sorry you are having troubles with this too. It's such a shock I think to see them hurting themselves, it's bad enough when they are hurt by accident let alone intentionally. I really hope things improve for you and your dd, it's so tough when their peers are influencing them.

I am absolutely shattered after v little sleep last night so am off to bed now but I will keep checking in and let you all know how we get on.
Thank you all for posting once again. flowers

Selks Sun 14-Apr-13 22:50:08

Your DD needs to keep away from this boy, and you may need to enforce that. She is too young to get tangled up with a boyfriend with these kind of issues and who is actually being emotionally abusive towards her.

He needs help, but that is the responsibility of his family, not your daughters.

mindfulmum Sun 14-Apr-13 23:18:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Brideandgloom Tue 16-Apr-13 19:42:14

Hi all,

<weak smile>........

Really bad day today. Dd had a few messages yesterday from the boyfriend saying he had been to the doctor and has tablets to take and has to see a counsellor. He is very angry about it.

I had set out some boundaries around her phone and social network to try and reduce the time she spends talking to him and get her engaged in other activities to gradually draw her away.

The biggest rule was that she must promise to show me their messages and if he talks of harming himself she has to say straight away.

I was putting her stuff away and looked at her phone, (we have always had open access to her phone, she knows it's a condition of having it) there are loads of messages from yesterday and today saying he has hidden blades and saying he is going to cut his throat, his wrists and is going to pretend he is ok to the counsellor.

I am so upset and worried, she hasn't kept her promise and the messages are not something most adults can cope with let alone a child.

I have decided that she can't keep talking to him at the moment, he is too poorly for her to be able to cope with his moods and he is incredibly manipulative in the way he talks to her.
She is hugely upset, I kept reiterating I am not punishing her and it won't be forever, just until he is less poorly but of course she can't see that.

I feel like a shitty mum, I don't know what to do here and I am terrified I am going to make her poorly too.

splodge70 Tue 16-Apr-13 22:07:13

You have SO done the right thing. You would feel much shittier if you hadn't acted on the new information.
I can empathise with you, thinking that they are being open and honest and then finding out further information. It suddenly takes away any sense of trust and relief.
She will understand at some point, but waiting for that to happen is so painful. My DD said to me the other day, that if I hadn't have reacted by grounding her and taking away her computer( her original punishment for lying and inapropriate stuff, that occurred alongside the open talks etc) she would have believed that I wasn't bothered enough about her or that I didn't love her enough.
I sometimes think that a punishment or consequence in this kind of situation takes the pressure off them (ie. it's out of her control so she can blame you, therefore it's not her fault) plus it gives them something to concentrate on (her fight with you) whilst the reality of what you are saying and protecting her from, begins to sink in.
She sounds like a very caring and kind girl who has been taken advantage of by someone who is emotionally, very unwell.
With a caring Mum like you, she will find the right track.

mindfulmum Tue 16-Apr-13 23:20:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BabyRuSh Tue 16-Apr-13 23:38:38

I'm sorry I don't have anything practical to add. Just sending some support your way and hope you manage to distance her from this boy. He sounds awful. I really hope things get sorted. I used to self harm as a teenager and for me it only occurred to me when a friend suggested trying. It followed on that I found it a useful way to release anger (towards my parents) that I couldn't express in any other way and I only outgrew cutting when I moved away from home and learnt other ways to cope with life. As for the relationship with the boy- my sis was once in a similar situation. He was a very consuming sort and wanted to speak to her 10x/ day and if he couldn't get her on the phone would threaten to kill himself etc. my parents tried intervening and telling him to keep his distance, and telling her to do the same, but they found ways to keep in touch. Ultimately it needs to come from her if you want her to see less of him. I suggest getting her to do other things that are fun and making her see for herself that life with him isn't fun may be a better approach than telling her to cut contact. Just make her busy! Drag her to family do's / the cinema / dance class / whatever she enjoys and keep her busy with other stuff. (Just a suggestion as I don't have personal experience of teenage dc, so just ignore if its a rubbish suggestion!). I really hope this gets sorted. [hugs]

lmgeorge92 Wed 17-Apr-13 14:56:49

Brideandgloom, i actually wept reading this- it broke my heart.
You are incredible, and despite your daughter not keeping her promise I really do think you have an amazing relationship with your daughter for her to be open and honest, showing you the messages. you are certainly not a shitty mum.
This boy, sounds very unwell and is not a healthy influence on your daughter right now, he needs medical help and attention from experience adults, not your dd! so keeping them apart is definitely the right thing. Maybe try and talk to the dad again? show him the messages?
Good job on taking her running with you, it's important to find an output which she can use to cope instead of harming.
i've recommended this site a couple of times, for those dealing with self harm/depression issues: self harm UK
all the best!

Brideandgloom Fri 03-May-13 09:18:11

Hi all,

I just wanted to give you all an update on my dd as you were all so incredibly kind as this situation came to light.

I spoke to dd's school after the last round of messages and explained that the young lad was still threatening to seriously harm himself etc. I asked them to step in and deal with this as I was completely out of my depth, I don't think I have enough knowledge of young peoples mental health to know if just telling his parents is the right thing. One of my main concerns was that his dad had promised that he would be vetting all messages and would be reducing contact for a while but this didn't seem to happen.
dd's school were really concerned that he was continuing to send such graphic and manipulative messages to dd so they agreed to step in and they put their safeguarding policies into action so that his school were spoken to straight away and from there they could decide if the family needed additional support.
I don't know what the outcome of that was as obviously the school can't update me but the messages stopped the same day the school agreed to step in.

DD is so much better. She did talk a lot about feeling relieved that it wasn't her responsibility to stop him hurting himself anymore, I found that an incredibly sad statement as it showed just how deeply entangled she has been but I am so pleased that she feels mentally far happier.

I have been taking her to an atheletics club which she absolutely loves and we are continuing our runs as well as they're a great time to chat. I find that she really opens up when we're running. I'm hoping she will make some good friends at the club. I've also been keeping her busy at weekends so that she doesn't get time to sit and feel upset about this boy.
She has had a really hard time with this as the lad is a strong part of her social circle, if she meets up with her friends at the weekend he is there and she doesn't want to see him so she is finding that she has lost that part of her social life. He has also found a new girlfriend within the group who I don't think knows about what has been going on so dd has had some stick from a few of them about why she doesn't speak to him now.
I have let the school know he has a new girlfriend and I will leave it in their hands if they want to let her parents know.

And finally, we heard from a school that she is on the waiting list for and they have offered her a place. She starts a week Monday. I am so incredibly happy about this. DD is very excited as they have a lot more sports opportunities for her and she can do the GCSE options she really wants. At her current school she wouldn't have been able to do this. The new school is a lot bigger than her current tiny rural school so although I know that she will still have good and bad days I am confident that with the possible friendship pool being so much wider she will be in a really good position to find a group that she will fit in with and enjoy a healthy social circle again.

So, thank you again everyone, you have all really shown what is best about Mumsnet. You have no idea how much your support has helped.

I'll update you all again in a few weeks about how dd has settled.


mindfulmum Mon 06-May-13 08:06:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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