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Can I rescue my online friend?

I have an online friend in another state whose parents are abusive.

Can she come and live with me? Be careful, warns our elder. She might not be who she says she is.

Dear EWC

I need help. I have a very close online friend who lives in another state. She’s 15, and severely depressed. Her family are gypsies, and honestly they don’t treat her right. She’s so unhappy and they won’t do anything. She wants therapy but they say no. They just don’t believe her. They aren’t physically abusive, but they can be emotionally abusive from what I’ve heard. I hate hearing her cry and seeing her so unhappy. I can’t do anything. I’m 15. They’re just so mean to her, don’t have her in any school and haven’t since kindergarten, and I don’t know what to do. I just want her to come live with me. We could be happy, attend school together. I just hate how mean her parents and siblings can be. Her dad has threatened to beat her and he puts her down a lot. Her stepmother accuses her of just about everything and finds everything to yell at her for. They both talk bad things about her biological mother in front of her and it hurts her. Not only that, but her younger siblings are physically abusive towards her at times, but I mean they’re kids. If anyone has advice for me please help, I need it.

Mrs.G replies

My first bit of advice is to be cautious. I don’t know how you connected with this friend, but when we communicate online, we never truly know the whole story. We could be given a bunch of lies. Have you shared this with your parents?

I know what I’m saying to you is probably coming as a shock, but I first need to warn you. You are obviously totally upset about your friend, and her story could be true; but oftentimes, it’s not. For example, she may not be 15, she may not live where she says she does. She could be some older man who lives in your state and is trying to get into your life, trying to meet up with you, trying to get money. People’s evil ways are just non-stop so be careful of what you say and don’t ever offer her your home or tell her where you live.
Now that I’ve given you all the warnings, I can talk about how you are feeling. Let’s say this girl’s story is totally true. I can see where you feel helpless and sad, but there’s not a whole lot you can do. All you can do, basically, is let her talk to you. Be a good listener — that’s it. But you need to realize, you cannot solve her problems as much as you would like to. You seem to be a very nice girl so I know you really want to help, but there’s just no way.

You could be faced with a friend in your school who is suffering from a bad home life, for example, and the same would apply. You could help her by listening to her, but you, in no way, could fix her problems.
When we run into situations like this, it’s important also to not let our friend’s depression rub off on us. Just because someone else is suffering doesn’t mean we have to suffer also. That might sound selfish to you but it really isn’t. Think about it — if someone is unhappy and you get unhappy along with her, how will you be able to help her? How will you be able to be a good listener if you’re crying along with her?
I sure hope your internet friend is for real; but just keep in mind, she could be a fake. Don’t trust internet friendships. You’re much better being with people in your area who you can see every day. You sound like a really sensitive and caring person so be on guard for people taking advantage of you. OK?
Sorry I didn’t give you the advice you were asking for, but I needed to be honest. Why don’t you talk with your parents about this girl and get their ideas? It’s important you let them know what you are going through.

Letter #: 454488
Category: Friendship

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