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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5419
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Recently I met a girl and we became close over a few short

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Recently I met a girl and we became close over a few short days, then one day something happened. She went from close to very distant. She began to treat me as if I was just an aquantince.
I assumed that I must have been coming on too strong and so I backed off and gave her space. She had some of her friends and myself over for the night and I basically just took it easy and didn't approach her. Later that night, I went upstairs and attempted to see if she wanted to talk (every time I'd asked before, she said nothing.. which always means something), she was still distant and basically avoided my question. Out of nowhere, I hear a noise and a scream from one of her friends. Me being the only guy in the house other than her friends boyfriend, I jumped up and ran downstairs to see what was going on. The boyfriend (being intoxicated) had hit his girlfriend. Over the next hour or so I took care of the situation and separated the two and made sure the girlfriend was okay. Afterword, I went back upstairs with my girlfriend and attempted to get her to tell me what was bothering her (again); This is where everything came out.
She told me that it wasn't me, but rather her not wanting to hurt me. At this point she was crying and I was in disbelif with the whole "It's not you, it's me" thing, so I pressed further to (try to) get a real answer. She then told me she had already once tried to kill herself (taking an entire bottle of her mother's ambien) and had been in a mental facility for a month following that. She said kept telling me that I shouldn't get involved with her because she was "going to be gone soon". Over the next hour we talked and I shared how I had a time where I thought life wasn't worth it as well, and how things will get better. She layed in my arms for hours and she explained how none of her friends knew about any of this (other than her mental facility stay) and how none of them really cared about her and how her parent's didn't care. I told her that I cared and that I would always be there for her and this went on until we both fell asleep. The next morning she woke up and treated me the way she did before she became distant. She went to work and afterword she was that same person once again. This was over the weekend so I was with her, however, during the week I can't spend the same amount of time with her.
I talked to my friend (not about her mental state) about how she was acting, and he told me that (he was with us all weekend as well) I was probably coming off as clingy and to give her space. Well, now I'm giving her space but she hasn't contacted me until tonight via facebook (chat). She then posted this: "Im perfectly content with being alone. I've just cut off all my friends."
I'm worried about her and I don't know what to do. I don't want to contact her and come off as "clingy" because I'm the only one she has opened up to and I feel like if I burn that bridge she won't have anyone to talk to.
I've told her parents (without her knowledge; she made me promise not to tell anyone), yet they basically ignored it. I'm very worried about her and I don't really know what to do in this situation. I know everyone says to get professional help in this kind of situation, but she already has a therapist. After she talked with me about it all, I could tell it was like a weight was lifted. I just don't know how to get her to open up again without pushing her away.


Note: She is 18
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

 

It sounds like you did all the right things with this girl. You let her know you are there for her and you let her talk to you about her feelings. You've done all you can. The problem here is her. She is not willing to let go and become closer to other people, including you. What you saw with her when you stayed overnight was her willingness to open up and share. But it sounds like most of the time she chooses to be closed off.

 

From what you said, she may either be depressed or have a personality disorder. Her comment about "being gone soon" says that either she wants your sympathy, or she feels suicidal. If she is looking for sympathy, you may be dealing with someone who has a personality disorder. In that case, she will act out no matter what you do. Personality disorders are often characterized by strong emotions that make it hard to relate to the person in a normal way. They are often hard to treat in therapy as well. Her comment may have been a way to get your attention and have you worry about her.

 

If your girlfriend is depressed, however, that is something to be concerned about. Letting her parents know you felt she might be suicidal was ok, even if they did not respond (in part, their response tells you why your girlfriend has this problem). Because she will not share with you at this point anymore about her feelings, it will be hard to tell if she truly meant her comment.

 

All you can do is be there for her. If she does not contact you, let it go. Periodic hello's on Facebook would be ok just to remind her you are there. But if she chooses not to share, there is little you can do to force it. It's hard, I know, to see this kind of trauma going on and feel there is nothing you can do. But people have to want help to accept help. And at this point, it doesn't sound like she is too willing. If you check in once in a while, she may change her mind. And since she already opened up to you, she may be willing to turn to you again in the future. All you can do is wait.

 

I hope this has helped you,
Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5419
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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