What do I do when someone I know is being emotionally abused?
by Name Undisclosed
I don't know what to do:
I'm extremely worried about my little sister's friend. Let's call her Cleo. Me and my sister are extremely close, so she tells me everything. I know her friends and they know me.
Cleo is 13. She is one of a group of four best friends. These aren't like your typical 13-year-olds. They're smart and fun and not clique-ish at all. They're popular and well-liked by everyone at school, but they're never mean. Cleo is self-conscious. She has braces. She's kinda skinny and she has a funny combination of a French-Australian accent with some sort of speech impediment.
Cleo lives with her mom, and I think she has a younger sister. Cleo's mom has problems. My sister's and my mom's and my sister's friends' testimony are: "Cleo's mom is crazy. She's a bitch. She's Bi-polar. She's insecure and picks at Cleo's flaws to make herself feel better. She has major mood swings."
Cleo is becoming very depressed. Her mom will ask why she doesn't have any friends and why she spends all her time by herself. So Cleo calls over here at least twice a day and she calls her two other friends just as much. They don't always talk, Cleo just needs to be making a connection so her mom can't be disappointed that she's a "loner". Then Cleo's mom will yell at her for using the phone too much. Then she'll call Cleo fat and say, "How do you expect to wear a bathing suit this summer?" All sorts of unreasonable things.
Cleo cries every day at school. She talks about dying. She has stopped showering and paying attention at school. She's dieting, and she will explode at the smallest things. I feel terrible because I can't do anything about it. Cleo's mom obviously has some sort of psychiatric problem that she badly needs help with if she'll ever start being fair to her daughter. But who am I to say anything? What can I do; I'm just sixteen and a bystander. I so badly want to take this kid in and keep her with us until her mom gets help, but her mom appears so normal on the outside. But when she's with Cleo, she'll vent everything onto her just to make herself feel better.
I know this is long, but bear with me...we have a mom who only abuses one of her children, only does so emotionally, only when no one else is around, and the fact that her daughter is thirteen and "you know how thirteen year old girls are"... it's such a tough case to prove. And what she's done might not be enough to even have a case at all. But it's eating me up and I just can't stand by and watch. It's heartbreaking and I want to mentor this kid. I know this isn't a place to ask for advice about other peoples' problems, but I'll never forgive myself if something happens to that kid... please just tell me what to do.Reply from Darlene:
First of all, this IS the place to find out what to do when you know or suspect child abuse. Secondly, you are a special person for caring so much, and taking the time to find out what to do to help this girl you've named Cleo.Remainder of reply from Darlene to this Ask Darlene question "What do I do when someone I know is being emotionally abused?" can be found below.Email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses AND website/blog URLs in visitor comments are STRICTLY prohibited, and could result in being banned from making further comments on this site.