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Old 10-19-2012, 12:59 PM   #1
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My friend making bad decisions with her 15yo daughter

I would love some advice. My best friend has a 15 year old daughter, "K"
K is beautiful, smart, fun and a really good kid. Last year, she befriended her 22 year old field hockey coach. We thought it was fine because she was basically giving her rides to practices and games. They have since become inseparable.
They spend every free minute together, sleepovers etc. the friend comes over to their house at 10pm on a school night & stays until 2-3am. I think it's a bad, bad idea. The friend seems like a nice person but I have no idea why she would want her best friend to be a 15 year old. She's a bartender of all things. I've told my friend many times that I don't like it at all and she doesn't seem to think its bad. She doesn't think K would ever drink underage or do anything she isn't supposed to. Also, K came to her parents last summer and said she's been cutting.
She's cutting because of a eating disorder. My friend has her in counseling but refuses to question her at all about what she's had to eat or about her weight.'If she says her weight is healthy, or she's not cutting, my friend believes her because she doesn't think she would lie to her. I'm very concerned about all of this and I know it's not my business and I do keep my mouth shut most of the time. Is she handeling all of this well? We've been best friends all our lives and K is like a daughter to me & I'm scared for her.

 
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:43 PM   #2
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Re: My friend making bad decisions with her 15yo daughter

Hello.

Have you expressed your concerns about K to your friend? I can understand your friend's desire to trust and respect the privacy of her daughter. However, K may not be completely honest with her mother about difficult and delicate matters like struggling with cutting and an eating disorder. Oftentimes there are a lot of stigma and shame associated with these types of behavior.

When I started cutting as a teenager, it's a habit I did in secret and tried to keep it hidden as much as possible. I didn't want to talk to anyone about it for fear of being judged, embarrassed or stigmatized. Even now it's something that's really hard for me to talk about in person. It's only when I feel I can really trust someone and I know they understand the reasons why people cut do I dare talk about my experiences with cutting.

 
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:00 PM   #3
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Re: My friend making bad decisions with her 15yo daughter

Hello back
I have expressed my concern many, many times. I've told her what websites I've been on learning about cutting and ED's. she cuts me off pretty quickly. I've told her that, of course people are going to lie, that's how they can keep doing what they want or need to do so badly. Last summer when K told them she had been cutting and stopped. They pretty much left it as ok, she told us and told us she has stopped, of course we're going to trust her.
I was reading pro Ana sites and there were a lot of things that screamed out to me. I told my friend about it, what the website was, etc. a few weeks later, I asked her if she did any research and she said "no". I think she's just willing to believe anything she says. One of K's friends came to my friend recently and said K still cutting and really never stopped. They got her a great therapist but don't ever talk to her about these things. She says its just too upsetting & she's seeing a therapist. End of story... Thanks for replying! I would appreciate any information you are willing to share. I know pretty much nothing about cutting

 
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:55 PM   #4
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Re: My friend making bad decisions with her 15yo daughter

Something important to realize I think is cutting is frequently done as a maladaptive coping strategy. I think something crucial your friend should acknowledge is cutting can be a very difficult habit to abstain from, especially if her daughter is going through a stressful time and doesn't feel comfortable talking with her mom and therapist. I haven't cut in nearly a year, but when I'm very stressed out, the urge to cut comes back in full force.

I think an important part of therapy is learning how to better cope and become more resilient with one's problems. Ideally, I think her therapist should be working towards identifying K's reasons for cutting, what triggers her to cut and what alternative coping strategies she can use instead of cutting. In order for this to happen though, K has to at least want to stop cutting. Wanting to stop cutting doesn't mean she still won't cut, but it at least means she is willing to work with her therapist to change her behavior.

There are a lot of reasons why people may cut:
  • To externalize and/or to distract themselves from the emotional pain they're feeling.
  • To punish themselves when they feel guilty or worthless.
  • To feel alive when they feel empty or emotionally numb.
  • The sight of blood and/or rush of endorphins calms them.
  • To gain a sense of control when one otherwise feels powerless over their life or emotions

This list isn't inclusive but hopefully it helps you with understanding why people cut.

A particular book about cutting I recommend reading is Skin Game: A Memoir by Caroline Kettlewell.

 
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Old 10-20-2012, 09:57 AM   #5
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Re: My friend making bad decisions with her 15yo daughter

Thanks so much for replying and all of the great information!
I will order the book and see if I can gently pass on the information.
Do people typically cut because something horrendous happened to them or would someone cut for something like being overwhelmed with homework, etc?
We just can't think of anything in her life that is so horrible that she would want to hurt herself. If something is that bad, she may not tell her parents.. Of course, we don't know much about this. I know it sometimes relates to eating disorders. This poor kid eats almost nothing. Thanks again for your help.

 
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Old 10-20-2012, 11:09 AM   #6
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Re: My friend making bad decisions with her 15yo daughter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stupid feet View Post
Do people typically cut because something horrendous happened to them or would someone cut for something like being overwhelmed with homework, etc?
Either one is a possibility. Cutting can be used as a coping mechanism to handle unpleasant memories and emotions from a traumatic event, or from the daily stressors of life. A problem with cutting is it can be a very addicting and prevailing habit. Cutting could start as a response to a person's difficulty with coping with the grief and shame of a traumatic event, but later on be used to mitigate the frustration and guilt of getting a bad grade on a test or a minor argument with family or friends.

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Originally Posted by Stupid feet View Post
We just can't think of anything in her life that is so horrible that she would want to hurt herself. If something is that bad, she may not tell her parents..
It's possible you might never find anything in her life that's so horrible that would make her want to cut. The problem is K may very well have a different perspective on herself and her life than you and her mother may have. If K is suffering from depression, low self-esteem, poor self-image, etc., that's reason enough for her to cut. I think it's important to remember even though you and her mother see her as beautiful, smart, fun and a really good kid, she might feel the exact opposite about herself. She might be cutting as a way of coping with these horrible feelings she might be having.

Her eating disorder might also be a driving factor for her cutting. If she gains weight or doesn't lose weight as quickly as she wants to for example, that may be reason for her to cut herself.

 
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Old 10-20-2012, 11:25 AM   #7
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Re: My friend making bad decisions with her 15yo daughter

Thank you again for your reply. I meant to mention in my last post that its wonderful that you haven't cut in over a year. It must take a lot of self restraint, I hope that you are very proud of yourself! K is super model beautiful but I realize that sometimes people see themselves differently when there are issues. It's just so overwhelming and for people that really don't have any experience at all with cutting, we just don't understand and don't know what to do. Unfortunately, my hands are tied. I don't want to lose my friend. I feel like she doesn't want a lot of advice from me. She will tell me little things here and there but I pretty much have to listen without adding too much. She is very, very sensitive about this and part of me thinks she doesn't want to deal with it. I'm glad they found a great therapist that K really seems to click with. I'm also very, very worried about the friendship with a adult woman, 7 years older that has become too controlling and domineering for my taste. I'm shocked that my friend lets this go on. It's not healthy for a 15 year old child to spend all of her free time with a 22 year woman old in my opinion. The 22 year old sees K as her peer, why wouldn't she give her drinks, hang out with 22 year old guys, etc?
Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions.

 
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Old 10-20-2012, 12:13 PM   #8
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Re: My friend making bad decisions with her 15yo daughter

Your welcome. Feel free to ask anymore questions you may have.

Having the self-restraint has helped with me abstaining from cutting, but I think so has becoming more emotionally resilient and more accepting of myself.

I think I can see why your friend would find this a very difficult issue to discuss with anyone. I imagine she feels helpless and maybe even ashamed of herself as a parent of a daughter who is cutting herself.

I do hope K's therapist is successful with helping K get through whatever it is that she is struggling with. With the right guidance and support, hopefully K's cutting will decrease and eventually stop altogether.

I agree with your concerns about K spending all her free time with a 22 year old woman.

 
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Old 10-20-2012, 01:32 PM   #9
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Re: My friend making bad decisions with her 15yo daughter

Hi, in your experience, how do people start to cut? Is it something a friend or someone has talked about? Can you get sooo upset and maybe see your razor sitting on the counter, grab it & cut yourself? I just wonder how someone would know that it might make them feel better. I was just texting with my friend "F", she said she was over the 22 yo. I asked if she was at the point where she was ready to forbade K from seeing her anymore & she said "I don't think that's the right thing to do at all, I don't want her to want her to want to see her more than she already does" if it were me, I would have stopped that when it became more that a coach/athlete thing. I think it's crazy to allow that..

 
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Old 10-20-2012, 03:34 PM   #10
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Re: My friend making bad decisions with her 15yo daughter

People may start to cut when they're in continual emotional distress and are desperate to find a substitution or outlet for the pain they feel inside. Physical pain in and of itself may not feel good, but it certainly can be preferable to whatever horrible feelings they're feeling. Thus, the physical pain temporarily distracts the mind from feeling miserable. Another possible motive to cut is the rush of the body's endorphins. People may also cut because they feel worthless and that they deserve the physical pain.

People may start to cut because they heard about it from other people, but I don't think just anyone will start cutting from hearing about it. Those who have good support systems and healthy coping mechanisms I think are far less likely to engage in cutting than those who don't. Cutting doesn't even have to start with a razor. It could be as basic as applying sufficient pressure with one's fingernails to make scratch marks on their arms or legs.

I hope what I wrote makes sense. If not, let me know what I need to clarify.

 
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Old 10-20-2012, 06:55 PM   #11
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Re: My friend making bad decisions with her 15yo daughter

Just a few points that come to me about your post...you don't know everything that goes on in the family of your friend. They have their daughter with a therapist, that does not make me think they are in denial of their daughter's issues. Most therapeutic relationships involve the parents and loved ones taking a bit of a back seat. The worst thing your friend could do is to hassle K about her problems. That is probably why she does not accept your confrontational advice. Secondly, most parents of teenagers know that forbidding their kid to see a friend will only drive this friendship underground and make the friend more desirable and the daughter fight to the death to defend her choice. The friendship will run its course sooner or later. Maybe the girl needs an older friend at this point in her life. Her mother is doing all the right things, IMO. You cannot bully or force a teenager to stop doing whatever this way. In the end it all comes down to trusting her and her continuing search for health. Thirdly, any pressure and "discipline" of the type you recommend will probably drive the daughter into more drastic behaviour, like leaving home. With your friend's loving trusting attitude, K feels safe at home and able tow work through her stuff in a climate of non-judgemental support. Do not be judgemental of your friend's methods, she sounds like a good patient mom. Sera

 
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Old 10-20-2012, 08:14 PM   #12
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Re: My friend making bad decisions with her 15yo daughter

I'm certainly not aware of any "confrontational" advice I have given nor am I recommending any pressure or "discipline" I said that I mostly listen. When I asked today If she was ready to forbid the relationship, it's because recently, she has said several times the older friend is becoming controlling to a 15 year old girl and that she doesn't like the whole thing. Fortunately, I do know enough about what's going on in their house to know that K would never consider running away because her parents said they don't want her to see a girl 7 years older that's trying to control her. I don't think "most parents" would turn their heads and say nothing when their underage child is in a inappropriate relationship with a adult. She is a wonderful mom, I just said she's not making the best decisions right now. Before she started this therapist, she took K's word about not cutting and shockingly enough, she had been cutting the whole time. A worried friend told her mother, not the 22 year old that knew and not K. I have tried to be nothing but a good friend and "2nd mom" as K calls me.

 
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:45 PM   #13
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Re: My friend making bad decisions with her 15yo daughter

I feel that when you are trying to figure out reasons as to why "K" is cutting can't be based off of traumatic events that you know about. if it is related to homework, it's not just homework itself; it could be the stress of homework based on expectations of parents and/or teachers. Adults and parents often forget what it feels like to be 15 years old in high school because that time seems so trivial compared to holding down a job and caring for other people, putting others lives and well-being before yourself.
I don't know anyone with an eating disorder who has never self harmed, the two come hand in hand. People with eating disorders often suffer from body dimorphic disorder, and hate themselves and externalizing that hatred to there physical body and feel that their worth is based on how they look. its a very scary disorder especially since sufferers hide it and don't talk about it.
i understand that you are very worried about your friends daughter, maybe you should talk to "K" and tell her that you are there for her to talk to and support her if she ever needs help. "K" probably doesn't know or understand that she has such a caring adult on her side, such as yourself, and that might be what she really needs.

 
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:58 PM   #14
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Re: My friend making bad decisions with her 15yo daughter

Thank you statikatt for your reply. I appreciate you taking the time to offer advice in a nice way.

 
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:02 PM   #15
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Re: My friend making bad decisions with her 15yo daughter

I hope the information I shared was a little helpful. Because I've been on both sides of that situation. I hope everything works out and that you are able to accept whatever happens in the end. Best of luck!

 
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