Cut 'Em Off?

A friend of mine has been concerning me lately. Looking back, they have a lot of red flags. I was pondering what I should do about our relationship because I have a gut feeling to cut it off but I have a few concerns about the consequences if that may happen.

This friend of mine, we met last year. I became aware of their presence when they were absent for two to three months from school, and our teacher asked us to write ‘Get Well Soon’ letters to them. They had a breakdown in class and they broke a part of their body, which was why they were gone. I thought they were cool because they liked the stuff I did, which is quite rare. I also pitied them so I decided we could be friends. A few months later, they scared me / pissed me off so bad that I told them that we should nip our friendship in the bud. I used to have a crush on them so I came crawling back. First red flag.

Now, they walk around moping. When we’re all doing something unrelated, they bring up how they want to be killed. They would say things such as ‘Kill me’ or ‘I want to jump’. I feel bad however I have become desensitised to it. Something that really makes my blood boil is that they have started hurting my friends, metaphorically and physically. They are so-called friends with my other friends. I say ‘so-called’ as he’s been doing things to them that make me un-empathise with them. A week or a few weeks ago, they started threatening a close friend of mine. I call it casual threatening. Out of the blue, they would say how they would like to kill my friend, let’s call her A, or how they are hiding the urge to kill A. A confided to me that she is scared of it and she didn’t know what to do. Second red flag. We decided not to tell our teacher because we know they have issues and maybe they’re just lashing out in just words. Emphasis on the word *just*. Today, they got mad with a friend, B, for being “too annoying” and shoved her so aggressively she almost cried. My friends call it 'assault' and I'm pretty sure it was. Third red flag. 

I’m not sure whether I’m overreacting, however, I am in quite the dilemma. On one hand, I feel that they’re a danger to my friends and I. They call us their “friends” but they don’t treat us like such. I’m worried that they’re going to lash out more violently the next time they do and someone (close) is going to get injuries that are more than just abrasions. I want to cut them off so I can ensure the safety of all of my friends. On the other hand, I know they have family and mental issues, which I assume is what is making them break down like that. I feel terrible as no one deserves to feel that way. However, that does not excuse their behaviour. I also fear that, if we cut our friendship off, they will build up resentment and animosity towards us for it and come back sometime stronger and harder than before, seriously injuring us.

I am unsure if this is called an intrusive thought, however it is highly unwanted. I have this thought of them stabbing me with a knife (They have brought knives discreetly to school before and have told me casually, trying to imply the worst, fourth red flag) in school when no one is watching. It scares me as I sit right next to them and as my legitimate friends put it, we’re sort of like “besties”. We have a secret handshake and we talk to each other every day. We even live insanely close to each other and I even know their address. We have told each other the worst things we’ve ever done (They have killed a crow with their bare hands, fifth red flag) and I’ve stopped them from ending their life. We’re so close that I feel that if I cut it off, they see it as a betrayal and they would hurt me, physically, the most. And I feel that I could have prevented it if I listened to the red flags I presented.

I’m very aware that this is a very complicated situation, and there might be no black-and-white answer. However, I need some sort of instruction on what to do as this has been haunting me since we became friends at all. If you have any sort of guidance, I hope you could suggest it to help me in any shape and form. Thank you so much in advance.
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hey @JayHyjinx

I’m really sorry to hear about your difficult situation with your friend. It must be tough to deal with such conflicting feelings of care and concern for them while also being worried about their behaviour and its impact on your safety and the safety of others. It’s completely normal to feel this way, given the red flags you’ve noticed in their actions.

It’s important to prioritize your well-being and the well-being of your other friends. When someone’s behaviour starts affecting others negatively, it becomes necessary to seek help and support. You’ve already identified several red flags in your friend’s behaviour, such as expressing thoughts of self-harm and threatening others, which are serious concerns that should not be taken lightly.

I want you to know that seeking help from a trusted adult or authority figure, such as a school counsellor, teacher, or responsible family member, is right and appropriate in this situation. They can provide guidance and take appropriate action to address your friend’s concerning behaviour. You don’t have to handle this on your own.

Understandably, you might be worried about your friend’s mental health and personal issues, and that’s commendable to show empathy towards them. However, remember that you are not equipped to solve their problems or manage their emotions. Professional help is needed for your friend to address their issues safely and appropriately.

I also want to acknowledge the intrusive thoughts you’ve been experiencing. It’s completely normal to feel scared and anxious, given the circumstances you’re in. Reaching out to a mental health professional or counsellor can be beneficial for you to talk about your feelings, cope with your fears, and develop healthy ways to deal with this situation.

It’s important to remember that you are not responsible for your friend’s actions, and cutting off the friendship does not make you a bad person. Prioritizing your safety and that of your friends is essential, and seeking help is a brave and responsible choice.

Don’t hesitate to reach out for help, and know that you have the strength to navigate through this challenging situation. Take care of yourself, and remember that seeking assistance is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Lastly if you ever find yourself in immediate danger or unable to cope with these feelings, I urge you to seek help right away. Reach out to a mental health helpline such as SOS (1-767) or IMH (63892222) immediately. Both helplines are available 24/7. Your safety and well-being are essential, and I would like for you to know that there are resources available to support you through this difficult time.