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DS14 and needy girlfriend(23 Posts)
DS 14 has had a girlfriend for a few months, she is also 14. She seems very nice but has major anxiety issues - can't eat food away from home, gets panic attacks, has OCD.
DS is a kind and caring lad but I am worried that he is trying to take on too much.
GF and DS were supposed to be on a youth camp together this week. GF had a panic attack yesterday and is not going, she was in floods of tears saying she's ruined everything. DS reassured her, and after a lot of thought decided he would still go (other friends looking forward to seeing him). Now as he sets off GF is messaging him begging him not to go, imploring him to stay with her, and hinting she'll do something silly/hurt herself if he goes. DS is beside himself and is deeply worried, he also feels awful now about going.
I don't know how to handle this or how to advise DS.
I'm also a bit concerned about the future. When they go into yr 10 I think DS will need to concentrate on school work a bit more, and GF won't help with that at all (she is home-ed and there does not seem to be any structure). He already spends every waking moment on the phone messaging her when he isn't actually with her, and has stopped doing any of the activities he used to enjoy because GF doesn't like them.
do I just watch and wait? do I suggest to DS that he doesn't have to be her only source of support?
Because of the threats to do something silly i would involve her parents and send DS off to camp without his phone!
I too would speak to her parents about the threats, sounds like she needs some help.
The threats are the prob, not the health stuff. Call her on it and tell her parents.
You're right, her parents need to be involved. Latest from camp is that DS's phone is out of charge, and he's used someone else's phone to beg us to bring him home because GF is in a bad way and 'nobody but him' can help her . She's putting him under so much pressure.
What did her prent s say when you spoke to them yesterday?
It's absolutely not on for her to blackmail your DS like this. He is a child and needs protecting from her manipulation. I would be absolutely furious and after informing her parents would try to stop contact. How you actually do that is another matter.
This is unacceptable.
Threatening to hurt yourself is a form of abuse used to control and manipulate. Can you direct him to some resources on emotional abuse in relationships? She sounds coercively controlling.
My DS is 18 and going through similar (in fact the same!) he has been abroad for a few weeks and I had to take the GF to A&E due to an overdose.
He is also struggling with self harm and anxiety so I would suggest putting some support systems in place for your DS. It is hard to support someone going through this especially when he is only 14!
I really doubt have any good advice I'm afraid.
I had this with a needy depressed boyfriend at 17 and I wish wish wish my parents had involved themselves and his parents and taken decisions like how much I saw him and how to respond to messages out of my hands and made me see it wasn't healthy or my job to 'look after' him
Hope you've told her parents OP.
You may have to let it ride out but you must absolutely pass on all wellbeing concerns to the adults in her life
You should have gone to see her parents Tuesday morning when this started.
In these circumstances fellow teens cannot and should not be expected (by anyone) to offer any more than friendly warm support and signposting to appropriate adult instigated help. GF/BF whatever - there's a reason we class them as children who need safeguarding.
You need to text your ds's friend and the camp officer saying (truthfully, once you've done it) - "been to see X and her parents, they are fully aware of situation, she is getting help and support from them, all of us think you should stay where you are".
Both my ds and dd suffered from teenage-onset anxiety (they're now 23 and 16 and in good, albeit very different, places). Whilst the friends who stuck by them offered warm loving support and encouragement, it was never their job to make it better. They couldn't, they were not equipped to do so, that was down to the adults.
Thanks for your help everyone.
I should have said, I did contact GF's mum on Tuesday when these messages started, and she just said she would talk to GF, so she has been made aware.
Just got another reply from GF's mum saying that GF was upset and disappointed at herself for not being at camp, but had been getting back to normal, and mum would try to get her to send a message to DS wishing him a good time. So this is a different picture from the impression GF is giving to DS.
Your posts have been really helpful, I will work out what to say to DS when he gets back, and help him to see this isn't healthy. He is besotted, so I am sure the relationship will continue for the time being, but hopefully he can gain a bit of perspective and realise that it isn't down to him to 'save' GF.
It's going to be really hard to do that without DS flying off the handle and accusing me of hating GF or something.
I'll hate for my son to be in such an intense relationship at 14. We have a 12 year old.
The GF didn't go to camp and it's trying to ruin his time away 😡
I'll be talking more to the Mum and monitoring the situation.
It's unhealthy. I know you can't stop it but I'll encourage him to have activities and friends.
This girls sound very troubled.
Can you take him away on holiday? I'll be trying to dilute this relationship.
I'll talk to my son about it and see if he is enjoying the relationship.
Very manipulating behaviour from his GF. Love is to allow your partner to enjoy their life.
I don't dispute the health issues however the difference between what the girlfriend and her parents are saying makes me think the girlfriend is being manipulative.
If someone posted to mumsnet that they went away with friends and their DP was texting threatening to harm themselves unless they came stayed home and then repeatedly messaged over time saying they're in a dark place and the only way to fix it is for the poster to come home then people would rightly say It's an emotionally abusive relationship.
As a child he needs protecting from this
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I think the problem is, trying to tell the DS that it is an abusive relationship without it all going Romeo & Juliet!
I have maintained a good relationship with the GF because I can't see another way of dealing with it. You can only hope that eventually it either becomes a healthy relationship or that it ends and in some ways this depends on outside influence (friends, family, mentors etc) because what you need is to stay in the loop as such. And as much advice as can be given, you can't start a them against us situation.
What happened? I do hope your ds was able to enjoy his summer camp.
Good grief. Her anxiety is so bad I would tell her parents. Her threats are unacceptable.
Most 14 year olds hopefully would realise than this 'over-anxiety' is not ok. Ds1 tells me that many in his current year 9 girls are "extremely anxious".
He is 14 so you need to rein this right in for his own benefit.
Young love should be fun.
The girl needs help but your son is not qualified to help. Her parents and professionals are.
She also sounds emotionally abusive. Can you take him away to give him space?
Ds1 tells me that many in his current year 9 girls are "extremely anxious".
There has been an increase in teen mental health issues but there has also been a bit of a trend (certainly in schools in my area) of 'trendy mental health' issues (please don't shout at me for saying this). So as a teacher I watch students genuinely struggling with a mental health issues and we help parents battle to get access to a limited pool of CAMHS resources. They worry about the stigma of their mental health issues and often are really worried about people realising.
Meanwhile, It's 'cool' to be a bit OCD about things, people aren't having a bad couple of weeks being a teenager they are depressed and the get out clause for any unacceptable behaviour to others is 'but my anxiety'. Claiming to have anxiety is very socially desirable in some circles of teens. Depression also features highly and so does OCD . (nobody ever creates a show about borderline personality disorder or schizophrenia or more 'serious / big name' mental illnesses. It's often the ones people perceive to be milder which get the socially acceptable label, which annoys me as they are debilitating in their own right when people actually suffer). It feels a bit like all the millions of new gender identities and sexualitiea that for some teens there is a need to have something special that gives them access to a club or a reason they can claim access to a minority group. It's bizarre. In some cases it's almost socially contagious within friendship groups.
Just for emphasis, I absolutely support teens getting access to mental health support. I'm just conscious that the natural ups and downs of life are frequently being pathologised.
I have been where you are my Ds(15) was with his gf for almost a year before I found out how unhealthy the relationship was, gf had very unstable home life and we welcomed her into our family life from the start but I had my suspicions all was not right, it came to a head when his best friend told his mum gf had started hitting my ds as well as controlling his phone and time with friends. She’d also made up that she had a brain tumour and faked headaches and fainting during school. I sat my ds down and asked what was going on, he was adamant she was telling the truth and not to make him finish with her. I told him he was in control of the relationship and it was his decision but I wouldn’t stand by and watch her abuse him. I went through child protection at school, as my concern was about him being physically/emotionally abused. I very carefully made it difficult for them to see each other outside of school, his form teacher was amazing and kept me informed of how he was. It took a few months for him to get his confidence back and start to be happy again and eventually he finished the relationship. It was a very tough few months for us but we talked all the time until he was ready to end the relationship without me forcing it.
Well he stayed at camp and apparently had a great time, thank goodness. He has just come back today, but rushed straight off to see GF, so I don't know how the situation is now.
I'm going to try and talk to him about healthy relationships generally, and see how that goes.