Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you.
I am sorry to know your friend and her daughter are going through this painful situation.
what would you advise as a next step for my friend?
Your friend revealing her own personal homosexual relationship as a teenager was assertive. But it is obvious this young person has been holding on a lot about this serious confusion and fueling an inner conflict about it.
The first thing to work on in the openness and closeness of their communication. Pushing her would not help but create further anxiety and guilt. Her violent behavior at school shows how defensive and overwhelmed she has become because of external pressure and her own conflicts about it.
her mum was in a violent relationship for years which her daughter witnessed could this be a factor in the self harming and aggressive behaviour?
The school must hold accountability for making it sure no bullying episodes happen again around this issue. She needs to trust and vent, work on clarifying her mind and heart about her experiences and fears. In scenarios like this people hold in so much, mentally and emotionally that gets literally overwhelmed, so their need to empathy, understanding and support is huge. That’s the role her mom and family need to have right now.
Absolutely, and it could have also led to her confusion about sexual preferences. Young people victims of abuse or who witness abuse –then become victim of it too in indirect direct ways- between parents or those who play that role, could develop deep fear around potential for further abuse in their own personal relationships, and that could pay a big role in beholding the “safer” option of dating or trusting more females than males.
She is a victim too from those years of abuse and domestic violence, and that use to create deep problems, from depression to anxiety disorders, and self-harm is a common way people develop when feeling overwhelmed and not knowing how to cope, they find a sense of immediate relief and control in it.
She requires psychotherapy/counseling support in order to work on past victimization, conflicts, issues around bullying, better communication with mom and her support system, and anything undermining her mood and functioning.
we thought counselling would be the next step
Absolutely. Individual counseling plus collateral session with mother-and family sessions if necessary.
You're very welcome. I hope she gets better with adequate support from family and counseling.
Thanks for your trust.