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What should I do?

Community Member
Hi there this is my first time on here and it’s great to see that this site exists and can help so many people- I’m needing advice on how to help my daughter she has in the last week just moved back interstate as she is studying and in her final year. Her boyfriend suffers anxiety and OCD which she has been helping him to deal with, however now that she has moved interstate again he Is desperate for help and messaging her saying that he is suicidal and copes better when she is here to help him. My daughter keeps asking us to bring her home to be there for her boyfriend but that would mean giving up her dreams. I keep telling her it is not up to her to save him but she should be telling his family so they can help him instead of her always taking the load. She is distressed and he has been sending her messages saying if she comes home he won’t kill himself- this is putting a lot on her and we are all telling her not to come back because she is not the answer but encourage him to tell his family who do not seem to know how bad he is. What should we be doing? I myself suffer anxiety and I’m finding it hard at the moment to know what to do?
8 Replies 8

Community Member

He's clearly completely co-dependent on your daughter, suicidal threats in this instance are most likely a manipulation technique to get her to return to him.

Until he learns to deal with issues through therapy, and gains his own independence he will forever do this.

He would most likely do it to the next girlfriend or previous ones. I'm sure this isn't the first time he's threatened self harm when she hasn't complied with what he needs.

Ask her...

Thankyou so much I have been thinking this is the case but have started doubting myself it’s such a frightening situation- you think we’re doing the right thing to not bring her back?

She left for a reason to do her studies, and pursue her goals.

I wouldn't give that up for someone who uses his illness against her.

Having said that, suicide is a very real thing, very dangerous...my suggestion would be to call the police next time he does it and have them attend his residence

Community Champion
Community Champion

Your daughter obviously cares very much about the other person. It is also important for her to be able to set boundaries so she can be the support she feels that she needs (?) to be. There are pages on the beyond blue website about this. My suggestion would be for you to have a look at these pages and then pass on the links to your daughter. It is easy to tell another person to get help but unless they want to get help is difficult. You can listen and suggest... But...

If your daughter is in the middle of study then perhaps she could also also check in with the counselor or similar at the school she is at.

Tricky question... does he have any other support? Other than your daughter.

Community Member
Thanks so much for your suggestion about her setting up boundaries I will definitely look into this and pass it on to her. He does have his family however he is not wanting them to know how badly he is struggling- we are going to reach out to them and let them know what has been happening so hopefully he will have them supporting him. That is what he needs right now.

Community Member

Hi Kendra.

Welcome to the forum.
Hope you're doing well and stating safe.
You have a great question.

People, please understand that someone's experiencing suicidal thoughts is a serious illness: it has nothing to do with being manipulative; it is a real and dangerous crisis that one may be experiencing.

If you or someone you know needs help now, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. If someone is in immediate danger, call Triple Zero (000).

Kendra - this is a very serious topic. I understand that you feel obligated to your child about her partner's health. It is very compassionate for you to be here searching for advise on how to help your daughter and her family.

Without adding your personal opinion about their difficulties, look at what options are available to help support her partner though his journey. Also keep in mind that it is their decision whether she comes back early or not, leave that up to them - you don't want to be manipulation their situation.

Options: you could look at supporting your daughter; by helping to support the boyfriend, your daughter would be very happy with your help by looking at ways to improve his mental wellness and to show her that you care about the both of them.

Just the same if your partner was unwell, think about what you would do if this was your partner, what would you do in this situation.

At the end of the day, what he experiences, she will too so what ever you do to support them will be beneficial to them and their situation.

Thanks so much for your advice- yes we are definitely encouraging him to get help we have spoken with his family and we are hopeful he will get the help and support from his own family also. It is not so easy as to bringing my daughter home she is completely financially dependent on us still as she is young therefore we would still be paying for her tuition, rent and airfares. She has employment interstate and her full time dance course is not something you can do online or just catch up on. Therefore we are not unite aware what she wld be giving up her hen he has a family who can be there for him. I have also reached out to him but have had no response so I’m thinking his family is his best support moving forward. I felt your reply was a little attacking of our situation and felt you had the thought that we are not taking this seriously. Bringing my daughter back wld only enable him to continue his same way and he wld feel some relief and therefore not get the help he is needing.

Community Champion
Community Champion

hi. Just thought I would pop in to see how you are going?

from a support angle, for some it can be good to have a lot (?) of people and for others, not so many. So if he does get support from his family, and yours that can be beneficial. Its the same reason why I might have multiple support numbers in my phone.

This next bit is a little tricky and in your 1st post you mentioned anxiety. Keep in mind I write this as a parent/child thing (or the other way around). Anyway, I was in a bad position one time and mum called to check in on me. So I started telling her things. At the time I was also having bad dreams. I started to tell mum about these but she told me to stop. I did. She told me that she did not want to worry about more than she already was. In my family, mum is the sort of the rock for everyone and can have a mild form of anxiety. If it is helpful for yourself and with your own anxiety to setup some boundaries which allow your daughter to say what she needs or in a way that impacts you.

I notice (what I think) are some small improvements... getting help from his parents as well.And whether that extends to professional help? It took a year of gentle chats to get my dad to seek help.

Lastly, a person might not have tell their parents for many reasons. At the end of the day and assuming the parents are supportive, there is no failure in getting help in whatever form (initially) and perhaps reminding him that is struggling at the moment ... you are also doing the best you can and that is all that can be asked if you?