You are a good friend and have offered a lot of support to those you care about, but it is obviously starting to take a toll on you. If taken too far, there is a point when helping someone can ultimately hurt them because they don’t learn how to help themselves or seek help from who they should, such as their parents or a therapist. I’m glad that you have realized that you need to pull back from those who ask too much of you and I’m also glad that you are trying to resist using unhealthy coping skills yourself, such as cutting.
Hearing about traumatic experiences happening to people you care about can be traumatic too. It can be difficult to get images out of your head once they are there or to feel safe in a world where bad things happen. It is important for you to get support yourself and to practice self-care. It’s also important to have healthy boundaries with others. Listening and offering support is ok, but you shouldn’t feel responsible for someone else’s problems. If you do, it is a sign that you are getting too involved. You don’t always have to cut these people out of your life but you may need to limit your contact and be clear about what you can offer and what you can’t.
Learning about these rapes and your friend’s suicidal thoughts has been a painful life lesson for you and I hope that you never have to go through anything like this yourself. Your friends need to talk to a mental health professional about their experiences and you need to go back to being just a friend, not a counselor, and enjoying your teen years.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts