Shame

For suggestions on what helps us cope after our lives have been affected by suicide.

Shame

Postby RIPsean » Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:35 am

I don't fully understand the shame that some survivors feel about their loved one dying by suicide. Can anyone explain this to me?

My husband took his life May 30, 2013. I have told people, including co-workers, that he took his own life, and that he was sick, mentally. It's my thought that I would rather tell people, so they don't start taking tiny tid-bits of information and assuming the rest, causing rumors and gossip ...

There are SO many people are on facebook, family, friends, old classmates, I did not post that Sean took his own life, only that he died sudden and unexpectedly. I receive the news feed from SOLOS (Survivors of Loved ones of Suicide), and sometimes I will share their posts/pictures or comment, yet my mother-in-law seems ashamed of her sons suicide. She asked me if there was a way to make it so that anything she did pertaining to that site would not be seen by anyone else ... I also found out just last week, that my sister-in-law knew absolutely nothing about what was happening with her brother, until 2 weeks before his death. Their mom hadn't said anything to anyone. The only reason his sister found out was when she saw him and he told her about the life insurance policy he thought I had taken out on him, because he also thought that I had some drug lord king pin boyfriend and his "people" were going to kill him ... She told him that his story sounded crazy ... And just two weeks later, she received a call that he had taken his own life.

What is the shame about?! I don't feel shame that he died by suicide. I want to promote awareness, so that this doesn't happen to another family! I want to speak up and speak out about mental illness and the damaging effects it can have, if gone untreated. I want to help others in similar situations and be my Sean's voice! His voice against every professional who failed him over the past few months! Against the police who didn't take him seriously and told him they hoped his day got better, hours before his death.I don't want his death to be for nothing! I will not let his death be in vain!
~ Always in my heart, always on my mind ... Until we meet again ~
He Crossed the Finish Line into Eternity May 30, 2013
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Re: Shame

Postby jillslay8 » Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:05 am

Very well put. I do not feel shame at all about my brother, I also do not understand or like it but shame never in life or death could he do anything to make me be ashamed of him, mad yes
Ken,I miss you so much it hurts. I hope you found what you wanted. All we found is pain.
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Re: Shame

Postby cali » Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:00 pm

Here is another perspective that might help you understand your mother-in-laws feelings: I have never been ashamed of my son, I know he was in unbearable pain and could not think clearly. But I have been and still struggle with being ashamed of myself for not being able to save him, even though I tried. And I have been aware that even though there is more information, and more activism around understanding suicide and its prevention, we are still just scratching the surface. There is still a lot of ignorance and very harsh judgement around suicide and suicide survivors in the world today. Perhaps your mother in law is experiencing some of the same feelings. I am very sorry for the loss of your husband, and for the loss of your mother in law's son. These are still early days for you both. It can be a time of great rawness and great pain.
I am glad you are going to speak out and stand up for your husband. It is so important! Your mother in law may eventually come around to your way of thinking, or she may not. But it sounds like right now, she needs more time to find her bearings. I would respect her desire to keep her activities pertaining to the site private. It may be too painful for her to do anything else right now. Sending you both a big hug, cali
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Re: Shame

Postby lyn » Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:50 am

Here is another reason for not speaking up immediately about a loved one's suicide. My brain couldn't get around it at first. It didn't compute. I had no idea he was suffering mentally for the last 4 months of his life. He kept it so well hidden from all of us the whole time he was planning to leave us. It took my daughter a year just to be able to say the words my father committed suicide. It wasn't the person we knew and loved, no years of mental illness, no odd behavior. So sometimes it is family just not being able to mentally adjust for quite a while. Strugging with the enormous shock and hurt alone. And this is why, for me, this site was a life saver. Because everybody knows. Because the unthinkable has happened to everybody here. No explanations are necessary. Just support in surviving the worst surprise you can have in your life. I know when I learned of a suicide of someone I knew, I was sad and compassionate, but looking back I had no clue what the family was going through. I found it a mentally shattering experience and if I haven't handled it as bravely or competently as I could, I hope I'm forgiven. Not shame; just working through devastation one day and one night at a time.
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Re: Shame

Postby Blossom » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:13 pm

I am still a bit selective (3 years) about who I tell. Can't bear the response...and to be frank, my assumption of what goes with silent reposes (paranoia? nup, just human and evolving very slowly)...and then the voyeuristic questions that goes with active responses. Occasionally, someone just gets it and says the right things. Some days I can handle anything, some days I cannot handle anything. We are all so different in this way. Most of all, I want to protect my son. He doesn't need protection, but as his mother, I need to protect him. Always. Sometimes I am not sure of my feelings or have no benchmark to gauge my journey. The forum is very helpful for this. I do remember feeling a pariah for a week or so. That sense of separation is awful.

I also remember, or realise now, that I could not truly understand my son's feelings, my husband's feelings, or their responses. It was all about me. I was consumed with me. I couldn't get away from that - I just couldn't. Impossible. And that's where the counsellor was good - someone who was not grieving, but gave me an outlet for MY grief....and a little space to be able to accept the differences in others. It's hard, it's tricky, but it's survivable.

I saw a youtube very early on in my grief. A psychiatrist who said that we bring who we are to our grief. We are not a clean slate at the moment grief strikes. We feel and process through all that we have lived up to that point....and onwards I suppose. I have always remembered this.

RIPsean, I am so very sorry for the loss of your dear husband. There is a special strength in you to have made a stand in this early time of grief. It portends well for survival. Hold on.
Blossom x

If nothing else, give refuge to those in need.
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Re: Shame

Postby Suzanne » Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:12 am

RIPSean,
I have never hidden the fact of my husband, Dave's, suicide, but I have also felt the pain and humiliation he felt as everything unraveled for him in the last years of his life. I had and still have a fierce desire to protect him from judgment, even though I have been very open about his suicide.
I am not ashamed of Dave, but still i feel his own feelings of shame. Your mother-in-law may share some of these feelings, too.
Suzanne
Wife of Dave 10/17/47-11/1/06
Read our story
http://books.google.com/books?id=4zThE8 ... A7o6s-fPpU
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Re: Shame

Postby RIPsean » Fri Aug 09, 2013 7:35 am

Thank you all for sharing with me. Generally I am the one trying to get all sides if any story before making a decision or judgment call. My brain just isn't what ut was before his death!

Time. everyone keeps telling me; time
~ Always in my heart, always on my mind ... Until we meet again ~
He Crossed the Finish Line into Eternity May 30, 2013
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Re: Shame

Postby FebruaryFlower » Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:37 am

I am a bit late coming into this as I just joined. My best friend took her own life a couple of weeks ago. She leaves her partner and a beautiful baby boy.
You guys all know what I and her relatives are going through at the moment so I won't dwell on it here.
To answer your question, I have a few theories:
The first one is that like Cali said, your mother-in-law is actually ashamed of herself as she feels she has failed as a mother. It is possible also that she did the ostrich's policy on the seriousness of your husband's disease, which would explain why his sister didn't know. No one wants to think that a loved one is about or might take their own life. I say that because I have the feeling that this is what happened to my best friend and her family. Her mother seemed to think that she was just going through a tough time instead of a serious mental illness and that it was more of a case of "pull yourself together". I don't know if she didn't want to face reality to be honest or she was just too focused on her own issues (her mother also suffers from depression) to admit her daughter's anguish. Either way, sometimes it's easier to do that than to face the reality of a potential suicide. I admit though that her suicide came as a massive shock to me too. I knew she was suffering from a heavy depression and she even confided having suicidal thoughts a couple of weeks before her death. I took it as a good sign that she wanted to talk about it as I assumed that a suicidal person wouldn't let me know what they were planning.
I don't know your mother-in-law so I am just throwing speculations there, but would it be also possible that being from an older generation, mental illness is still considered as a taboo for her? Not so long ago and even nowadays, it was the type of thing people didn't talk about and simply hushed.
PS: I hope I made myself clear, I am not an English native speaker :)
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Re: Shame

Postby briansfolks » Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:59 am

As a surviving mother I feel so sad that I could not make his life,my son, worth living. Some of us realize that our loved one was in tremendous unbearable emotional pain and other people see it as they were so selfish to leave us. I know of two people that are still angry at their loved ones and then there are ones like us that understand that they were in such emotional pain. All I know is that we love our son but what pain he went through before his death we could not ease for him.
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Re: Shame

Postby cali » Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:39 am

I too could not ease my son's pain enough to save him. Criminally negligent prescribing of psychotropic drugs and careless, mean and stupid people exacerbated his condition. It is a terrible truth to live with. He was willing to do whatever it took to stay here, but when he reached out, there was nothing and no one to sustain him. He had many lovely friends, he had me. But we were sorely lacking in knowledge and skills. The professionals we turned to were as much his executioners as anyone or anything in his unique and beautiful life. This is heartbreak. My son spoke of his ideation too. It is one of the most damaging myths around, the one that says if someone talks about suicide they won't act on it. If someone talks about it, we as a society, need to get them the help they need.
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