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Managing toxic friends

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Frequent scribe
Worriedmun

Managing toxic friends

My 17yr old finished school last year. She has started hanging out with a person in their early 20s who uses drugs and drinks and gets into quite a state. My child likes to help others and is spending more time with this person. I feel that it is having a negative impact on her mental health and I’m worried that she will start drinking or using drugs or something. We have talked about this a few times and she assures me she isn’t ever going to take drugs and rarely drinks. I think I believe her but I still worry.
She has started going to the gym to help with her anger and mental health but insists on going late at night - to avoid too many other people being around. The problem is that I then worry lots and find it hard to sleep properly or calm my anxiety. I have no idea how to manage this. Her mood changes often and she seems to become annoyed if I try to make changes to improve my mental health or to improve my interactions with others like talking happily with the student staying with us. She says I only made changes for others and not for her. She often works til late at night and we have fallen into some unhealthy eating habits and I’m just trying to improve this situation and get some extra money in the house to keep afloat. I just want us to be happy and anxiety free again
Prolific scribe
Chloe-RO

Re: Managing toxic friends

Hi @Worriedmun ,

 

Thank you for sharing what has been happening lately.

You have every right to worry about your daughter. It sounds like you have tried speaking to your daughter. Do you think your daughter is aware of your worries and anxieties? As much as you've probably warned her in love, sometimes, letting them know you are worried by clearly stating it, may have a deeper impact. e.g. "I feel very worried when you go to the gym late at night because..."

As part of children growing up and leaving the nest, these worries as parents are only natural. Keep talking to her. Not at her. Let her know you want the best for her.

Is is important that you continue reaching out so that you feel supported at this time.

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Frequent scribe
Worriedmun

Re: Managing toxic friends

I talked to my daughter about the friend that concerns me. At the time she told me that she knows this friend isn’t good for her in lots of ways and that she needs to back away from this friend.
Today she came home with the friend and I honestly couldn’t bring myself to look at the friend or talk to her. I was confused about why she was there and also annoyed as I didn’t want her in my space. Later this evening they came back from being at the beach for the day. The friend was moving around our home very comfortably. I was still taken back and annoyed but this time
I was also emotional due to my own stuff. I responded when I had to but kept it brief. The friend then complained to my daughter about not feeling welcome because I wouldn’t look at her or talk to her. Now my daughter is annoyed with me. I tried to explain some of my reasoning but I’m scared to say too much because I don’t want another argument. I am so afraid of losing my daughter. She knows this also. I just wish the friend would go away
Mod
Hannah_RO

Re: Managing toxic friends

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Hi @Worriedmun 

I imagine it to be quite difficult to interact with your daughter’s friend comfortably with the worries you have been having about the impact that they are having on your daughter's well-being. I’m sorry to hear that your daughter became annoyed with you for this, I can see you only want the best for her. 

I found an article on effective communication with teenagers here and here that I thought might give you some tips for having tough conversations with your daughter. Do you think this could be helpful? 

It sounds like you also have your own stuff going on at the moment, which I imagine isn't being helped by the current situation. I am wondering if you have any emotional supports or self-care strategies in place for yourself at the moment? It's really important to prioritise self-care, and we have a few tips for that here and here if you're interested. 

Frequent scribe
Worriedmun

Re: Managing toxic friends

Thanks.
I will have a read through the links.

Unfortunately my daughter has had to be admitted to the children/adolescent mental health ward 😢
I feel like such a failure.

Prolific scribe
Iona_RO

Re: Managing toxic friends

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Hi @Worriedmun 

I'm sorry to hear that, I imagine that would've been really tough for both your daughter and you. But hopefully this means she will be able to get the support she needs right now and will be a positive step forward in the long run. I'm wondering if they have linked in with you about being involved with your daughter's sessions with psychologists etc? Do you know if CAHMS have been a part of the process so far? If not, it may be worth getting in touch, they should be able to give you some support throughout this too.

I can understand those feelings of failure rearing their head, but I assure you that you're not. It's very clear from your willingness to reach out for support, that you really care about your daughter and have done what you can to ensure she's supported too. Sometimes unfortunately these things are out of our control. But the main thing is that your daughter is in the best place she can be right now. Have you been able to chat to any family or friends about how you're feeling?

Frequent scribe
Worriedmun

Re: Managing toxic friends

The mental health team are going to maintain contact with my daughter now that she is safe she is back home and wanting to slowly get back to normal.
They have talked to her about accessing local health services. I’m not pushing anything today. We are both very tired.

My mum is checking in on me and has experience with mental health so knows what to look for.

Apart from spontaneous tears and feeling very tired I think I’m doing better today. It is hard to let my daughter go though. She has driven to her friends house this afternoon which is only a short distance away. I know they will be supportive of her.

The toxic friend is already in contact and insisting that she sees my daughter either at her work or late tonight. I’m not happy but I don’t know that I can do too much.
Contributor
Bre-RO

Re: Managing toxic friends

Hey there @Worriedmun 

 

I've just been catching up on your thread this morning, and it sounds like it's been a massive couple of weeks. I'm glad to hear your daughter will be in contact with the mental team and that you have your mum checking in on you both. 

I can imagine how hard it must be to let your daughter go and see friends after the week she's had. It's hard when you want to give your teen freedom but equally want to protect them at a vulnerable time. In particular, the toxic friend you've had concerns about sounds really hard. Did your daughter end up seeing her last night? 

I'm wishing you both a restful weekend ahead. Do the two of you have anything nice planned? 

Please know we're thinking of you and your daughter and are always here to listen. 

 

Frequent scribe
Worriedmun

Re: Managing toxic friends

Hey,
Sadly she did see her friend but thankfully she came to see me beforehand and was home at our negotiated time.
She is finding today harder and is a bit lost. I had to work so it’s been hard to monitor but she did come and see me and brought me flowers which was lovely.
Afternoons are the hardest. She often wants to see friends and I worry so much.
She is back at work tomorrow so at least there will be some structure to her day.
Prolific scribe
Chloe-RO

Re: Managing toxic friends

Hi there @Worriedmun ,

We hear that you worry so much about your daughter and that your daughter did see her friend. In all this, were you able to do something pleasant for yourself?

It was so sweet that your daughter brought you flowers. It shows she really does love you. It sounds like work does give your daughter structure, responsibility and and perhaps independence in a safe space? Would you say so?

For now, let's look at the progress that's been made. It will help you to keep going.