How do you view people who attempt or commit suicide? Do you see them with
compassion or pity, or as weak, cowardly, quitters,
selfish, and perhaps "sinners"? How did the adults who raised you
feel about suicidal people? Some cultures like Japan have condoned and even
expected ritual suicide after dishonoring family,
ancestors, and/or societal beliefs.
The media conditions us to associate "suicide" with single lethal events
like shooting, hanging, poisoning, jumping, and drowning. An unremarked type
of suicide in our Western culture is epidemic, occurring quietly over years.
It is psychologically-wounded people neglecting their personal health for decades, and dying prematurely.
One of many symptoms of this is the growing American trend toward obesity in
average adults and kids. Other symptoms are the prevalence of "clinical
and the four types of
Many suicidal people often feel deep shame about themselves
and their situation, so they mask their misery and thoughts. They may also feel
intense guilt about "burdening" others with their despair and/or
loved ones, so they remain isolated and mute rather than appearing weak,
needy, and troubled, and seeking help.
People who are seriously considering ending their life, vs.
acting impulsively, often display observable behaviors. These can include a
mix of depression; talking
a lot about death, dying, hell, and heaven; unusual cynicism
and pessimism; quitting therapy; excessive sighing; giving away prize
possessions; updating estate plans; withdrawing emotionally and socially;
crying episodes; and perhaps apologizing to people they feel they hurt. For
more comprehensive information, search the Web on "warning signs of
suicide" or equivalent.
Suicide and the Right to Die
are divided on whether it is morally acceptable to help self-aware people
relieve unbearable psychological and/or physical pain by suicide. The
norm in America (and other countries?) is that assisting suicide
("euthanasia," or "mercy killing") -
no matter how compassionate and/or justified - is immoral and
The justification for this tragic norm is the deep personal and
cultural repugnance against killing someone intentionally, regardless of their
circumstances and wishes. Paradoxically, killing is popularly
justified in wars, some legal punishments, and in self defense. So is
putting impaired, and fatally ill and injured animals "out of their misery."
growing global minority of people dispute the prohibition of
assisted suicide and are lobbying to reverse it. Several nonprofit U.S.
organizations are dedicated to this goal, including Compassion and
Choices and Final Exit. Several European countries - like
Holland, Belgium, and Switzerland - have legalized assisted suicide under controlled conditions. The prevailing
European opinion now is that it
should be illegal.
Proponents of this view apparently feel that it is morally right to
force someone to endure unbearable pain and hopelessness rather than die.
view denies such sufferers the right to self-determination. It arrogantly
implies "We law-makers and enforcers control your life (and death) -
definition, suicidal people want to die (i.e. end their agony). Murder is morally
unacceptable and criminal because typical victims do not want to die.
People who are insecure and/or uncomfortable with their own conflict
over this dilemma may adopt someone else's decrees, as in a Holy book
Nursing homes are filled with terminally old or ill, disabled people who are
kept alive at great expense because of fear of legal, professional, and
penalties and family selfishness and denial. I believe this is cruel, socially-sanctioned "elder
abuse." What do you think?
Our society tries to prevent suicide by offering specialized counseling and
education - e.g. "suicide hotlines," and civil, pastoral, and military
professionals with special training. Their common quest is trying to
offer credible new options and hope to suicidal people to revive their will to
live. Most of these well-intentioned people and concerned others
have never seen what you're about to read.
+ + +
Humans and other animals are "needy" critters.
Needs are local and chronic emotional, physical, and spiritual discomforts.
Most (or all?) human behavior is driven by "surface" needs and
Typical people - specially
kids - are unaware of their primary needs, and focus only on reducing surface
discomforts. Does this make sense to you? If so, then consider these...
Surface Causes of
question out loud now: "Adults and teens kill themselves because ..." See
how your answer compares to these common ideas:
"People end their
lives because they...
unbearable physical pain, and have no accessible remedies;"
unbearable emotional pain [e.g. shame + guilt + fear + regret +
sadness + overwhelm ('despair')] and see no way to reduce it;" and/or they...
unavoidable, unbearable future pain;" and/or they feel...
an agonizing environmental situation they cannot affect or leave;"
overwhelming emotional exhaustion - bearing too much
stress for too long, without respite or meaningful support."
Can you think
of other reasons for suicidal thoughts and actions?
The core element in each of these
surface reasons is despair - feeling powerless and without any
36 years of
professional study, reflection, and clinical experience; I propose that NONE of these are...
The Real Causes of Suicidal
- typical people who
early-childhood abandonment, abuse, and neglect ("trauma") develop
personalities composed of specialized "parts" or "subselves." Each
is like a talented player in an orchestra or sports team. It brings one or
more special abilities or traits to the host person, and aims to help the
person survive. If you're skeptical about this, read this
perspective, and try this interesting, safe
exercise after you finish reading this article.
we all (you) have can be called the
(capital "S"). Its talent is effective leadership of all subselves in
all situations, like an expert musical conductor, head coach, military
commander, or business
CEO. If other subselves usually trust and follow the Self's lead, the host
teen or adult is "well adjusted" and can adapt to most life stresses well
enough. Such people can have "low moments," but rarely experience major
or chronic despair, overwhelm, and serious thoughts of suicide.
group of subselves is composed of developmentally-young
(plural). Another group can be called
which exist solely to comfort and protect the Inner Kids and the host person.
When Inner Kids and Guardians trust the third group of resident subselves to
the host person usually
and reasonably confident and optimistic as life challenges appear.
seem to have some "standard" subselves, including Shamed, Lost, Guilty,
Scared Inner Kids, and Worrier, Pessimistic, Critical, Perfectionist, and Cynical Guardian
subselves. If such Guardians and young subselves
the resident true Self and other Managers to handle life problems, they can
disable the Self
and dominate the host person with their thoughts and feelings.
They become a well-intentioned, narrow-visioned
extreme case of this dominance causes chronic thoughts and feelings of overwhelm and
happens, a Guardian subself who can be called the
activate. It is solely dedicated to ending Inner Kids' agony permanently by
creating thoughts and images of self-destruction.
Suicider activates, other Guardian and Manager subselves try
to negate this self-destruction plan. Their
can rage for
moments or many months. It can cause "suicidal gestures" where the host
person tries to die, but "fails." This is often labeled an inarticulate "cry
view, the real
suicide begins with significant early-childhood trauma.- e.g. parental abandonment, neglect,
and abuse. That promotes the formation of
protective false selves
(dominant Inner Kids + their Guardian subselves), possibly including a
When people's resident true Self is
and they weren't taught how to manage life problems effectively, they may
"become hopeless and suicidal."
undeniable ability of the human mind-body-spirit system to convert
into biological symptoms ("psychosomatic
illness"). I suspect that well-intentioned subselves can influence
functioning in ways we don't understand. If so, some "incurable" illnesses may
be reduced or healed by intentionally
a person's wise resident true Self
to guide them.
The ideas above imply
that a despairing person's focus
can shift from "killing myself" to "learning how to
free my true Self to guide
my personality and to discover new hope for lasting relief." Note your
reaction to this idea. Who's causing your thoughts and feelings
now - your wise true Self or ''someone else''? How do you
the concept of normal personality subselves opens up some powerful new...
You Feel Suicidal