Worried for Daughter’s Safety

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

My daughter(17) has been dating a boy for 11 months. The entire family loves him. He is polite and respectful and shows her love and tenderness. I would approve of her marrying this young man (nearly 18). Two days ago he told her that there was something he’s never told her. He wanted to kill someone. Not anyone in particular. He wanted to feel the power he would have to determine whether someone lives or dies.

I don’t have all the details but she called the police and he was taken in for evaluation. Let go 24 hours later.

He called me to explain himself. He was crying, apologizing and said he would never put my daughter at risk and he had scared himself by having that thought which is why he told her about them. He said the psych he saw said that he was having that thought in response to the overwhelmingly terrible day he had and his mind didn’t know how to handle the stress.

I don’t know if I believe that. I have had terrible days. Been raped. Been beaten. Been molested by a trusted family member. I’ve never once wanted to kill someone. I don’t know that I want to permit this relationship to continue.

I’m worried for my daughter’s safety and frankly I’m a little freaked out by him now.

A. It seems as though your daughter’s boyfriend is having psychological issues. He is struggling with psychological problems that can become too much for him to handle. You are right to be concerned. As you noted, you experienced horrendous abuse but never thought about killing. He may have had a stress reaction that day but it is abnormal for anyone’s stress reaction to include the idea of murder.

It is normal to have a reaction to stress but that normal reaction is not feeling the need to murder.

He may need to be in treatment. He may need intensive treatment and or medication to control his behavior. Of course you want to protect your daughter but ultimately it will be up to her to decide whether she wants to be with him. This is something she’s going to have to decide.

If he is in treatment, and is adhering to his treatment, then it may be a relationship that is acceptable to pursue. It depends on how stable he becomes while in treatment.

One positive aspect of this incident is that when he felt unstable, he asked for help. That is encouraging. It shows that he is open to treatment and willing to accept treatment. However, it does indicate that there are times when he is unable to control his thoughts. It’s concerning because he may be dangerous in those instances. It also would be a difficult relationship for your daughter to pursue if he remains unstable.

Ultimately, your daughter has to decide if she wants to be in a relationship with someone who is currently psychologically unstable. Many people with mental illnesses are greatly helped by psychological treatments and can maintain healthy, functional relationships. Your daughter’s job, at this point, is to determine his psychological status and if he is able to maintain a healthy, functional relationship. You and she may want to consult a therapist who can gather all of the facts and assist in determining if this is a safe, healthy relationship. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 Dec 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). Worried for Daughter’s Safety. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/12/22/worried-for-daughters-safety/

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