Author Topic: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?  (Read 461 times)

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Offline Samsara

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Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« on: December 04, 2018, 03:29:31 PM »
In August 2017, a friend of mine attempted suicide. Through efforts of myself, his other friends, and his co-workers, he was stopped (he left notes, kept reaching out, etc., and we eventually found him at a park where he was going to throw himself off a cliff). A month or so later, he tried again. This time it was swallowing pills at his home. Through the efforts of myself and other friends calling the police, and going down to his apartment, he was out of it, but he was stopped.

Its a really long convoluted story, but the short of it is -- once he got out the second time, and went to counseling, and really sought help, we were on the phone, and he wanted me to be an intermediary between himself, and another person, which was, essentially, why he was so depressed and tried to end his life. Apparently they hit it off, she stopped things (after starting to lead him to believe something permanent could happen) when she realized he was extremely obsessive over her, and then things spiraled, etc. The woman was afraid for her life. Me, having spoken to this woman, and gotten her side of the story, it was a very different person then the one I knew, but it was certainly, in my mind, true. So anyway, I am on the phone with my friend, and he asks me to ask this woman a few things, etc., and after knowing she doesn't want contact, I explain to him that while I am his friend, and have been there for him for years, I am not going to play this game (apparently he tried it with other people at some point too, prior to the suicide attempts, when this woman didn't want to speak with him any longer -- they were actually co-workers, and she switched offices and departments to get away from him). He asked me why I wouldn't help him, and I said that I have always helped him, and would continue to. But the path he kept going down with this woman wasn't healthy, and I wasn't going to contribute to it. I think I said to him that he needs to focus on getting healthy, his family (he has a son who at that time wouldn't speak to him because of his actions with this woman, and then some other things), and put the woman out of his mind, and he needed to understand and get over that she didn't want to be around him any longer.

Predictably, he gets massively angry (again, this is Fall 2017) and tells me what I said to him, to get over it, was not the thing you say to people recovering from suicide. I mean, he may be right, but the bottom line is, he was trying to use me as a conduit to push on this woman. And she explained to me earlier that my friend's obsession over her had her in fear of her life -- she honestly believed he would get on a plane and come find her, because he's done similar things in the past.  :eek So, I stood fast, and told my friend that again, I'm here for him as a friend, and always would be, but I wouldn't contribute to further efforts to contact her. He basically told me to go F off, not to speak to him, his son, his son's mother (who I'd also been in touch with), or anyone else in his life again. He also blocked me on social media.

Obviously, dude was recovering and in pain. I haven't been in his situation, but he wasn't fully thinking straight IMO. But like any good friend, I kept tabs on him, sent texts every couple of months letting him know I'm still wishing the best for him, etc. Those went unanswered. He did, however, unblock me on social platforms probably in...I'd say spring 2018. I noticed he was working again (he's in a professional field that requires advocacy and travel and likes to talk about his work), and was in good health (he took up running, looked like he was getting his stuff in order, etc.). I still drop a text once every...I'd say now its once every four months or so, it has been getting longer, they still go unanswered. But I noticed again that he is still angry and bitter over that woman I mentioned earlier. He's channeled that anger into other activities, writing a book about his experiences (he's pretty verbose), and making it a habit to visit his friends and capture moments with them (all of which I consider to be good things).

I feel like I did the right thing with my friend (who I had known for...probably 13 years), but I had never been in that kind of a situation before. I miss my friend, but I feel like there is this side to him I never knew, and now that I know it, he doesn't want me in his life (which may, or may not be a good thing). My question for the group is, now, more than a year after the last time we spoke, should I continue to keep loose tabs on my friend, feeling like at some point we'll reconnect, and being watchful of signs that he's going down a wrong path again? Or, should I just cut the cord entirely and move on?

I care about my friend. We wrote letters of recommendation for each other that led to good jobs, we enjoyed getting together for lunch, and I brought him to the Temple of the Dog tour in 2016 (ToD was a favorite of his, and he had never seen them or Cornell), etc. We weren't CLOSE friends that hung out all the time, but more than just acquaintances that worked in similar fields. My head tells me to just cut the cord, but at the same time, I feel like I shouldn't give up on someone like this.

I realize this is a public forum, and we all have different experiences. But I'm curious as to what you all think. And hopefully I've been able to give enough detail, but still remain pretty vague to protect his privacy.

Offline wolfking

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2018, 03:38:20 PM »
Depends on the type of person you are.  If he told me to piss off after I spent the amount of time and effort you have helping him and looking out for him, then I'd wash my hands of him and tell him the same back, but that's me and I don't have many friends.  Someone lets me down I turn my back on them, no love lost.  People show their true colours eventually, and if I feel I've been let down or betrayed, then I'm not wasting any more time.  I would not worry and maybe one day he will try and reconnect with you.

Online Nekov

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2018, 03:46:29 PM »
That's a tough one. I am on the other side of that experience. I completely lost confidence in a friend of mine because of something he did and decided not to talk to him again. After some time away from him I realized he had become a toxic influence on me which only reinforced my decision. It has been about 5 or 6 years maybe and he still sends me e-mails sometimes, he actually did last week. I feel like I should give him another chance since so much water has gone under the bridge but haven't done it yet, not sure why. So maybe you should keep doing it and in time he may get over it and reach out.
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Offline YtseJam

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2018, 03:51:05 PM »
I'd watch your back. This guy sounds like someone that you should say you "used to know". I too have a friend who has been suicidal on the cusp and have also had two other friends actually go through with it. When someone is obsessing they will do extreme things and potentially harm other people before they take themselves. His best bet is therapy. Don't feel guilt, you've done your best but time to move on with your life.

Offline TempusVox

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2018, 06:45:54 PM »
You were wise to avoid involving yourself in his obsession with this woman. Since you're asking opinions here, mine is that you should walk away from this person as quickly as possible. I would guess at some point after you've done this, he will try and loop you back in to his drama at some point. When that time comes, I'd avoid allowing him back in to your life ever again. It sounds like he has manipulated you and others in the past, and instead of a real, healthy relationship, you have had (and inadvertently supported) a very toxic friendship. He is still manipulating you in the sense that you are still concerned and trying to occasionally reach out to him, yet he never validated or accepted how you feel over his previous actions, and his attempt to drag you into a very unhealthy, dangerous, and potentially illegal situation. You should never feel guilty about your feelings.

Trying to manipulate you into feeling a certain way or doing something you don’t want to do; stressing you out; demanding too much, without giving anything back, or recognizing his actions were inappropriate; and then cutting you off like he did, are all very toxic signs of someone who is not truly your friend.

Despite whatever illness your friend may have, and despite his problems-- he sounds either severely depressed, or has some type of personality disorder or both--it is not your responsibility to carry the friendship. Nor should you ever feel bad about how he makes you feel.

I was involved years ago in an incredibly terrific relationship. At least until it wasn't. I fell madly in love with a woman whom I thought was the love of my life. She was a former model, was well educated, and had a solid career in Marketing and Advertising (albeit she had just started a new job when I met her).

It turns out however, that she had a severe manic depressive disorder; as well as a very strong borderline and also narcissistic personality disorders. At various times in her past, she had even been hospitalized. Our entire relationship was begun, and developed over a period of about 10 months when she was either relatively stable, or had been experiencing lengthy periods of mania. It all came crashing down the night before Thanksgiving about 20 years ago. In the course of about an 8 hour period, she walked in to work, quit her job as a marketing executive, immediately left and went to a local strip club-- where she got a job as a stripper, and actually started stripping later that evening. She had moved in with me about 4 months prior, and when she didn’t return home from work and I still hadn't heard from her around 8 pm, I started to get concerned. I started calling her friends, and none of them had heard from her; until I reached a girl from her office who told me she had come in to work that morning, and cussed out her boss and walked out. Her other friends were also worried. One of her friends finally reached her, and she called me frantic because she had called her friend and told her she got a job as a stripper earlier that day, and was going to bring a customer over to her friend’s house to party. Naturally, her friend called me right away. I got to her friends house before she did, and she pulled up--- high as a kite on meth; with some old, loser dude following her in his car from the strip club. It was like I was living in a nightmare. Her friend said, "I was so happy she had found you, because she can get like this sometimes. Please don’t leave her, she needs you!" WTF??

Over the next several months, I watched her continue to slip away, and fight me on every turn to help her. Turns out her family had given up trying to help her long before I had got into the picture. And after the Thanksgiving incident happened she threatened to kill herself nearly every day for about a month, and then would beg me and her friends for help. But anyone who has tried to help someone with severe borderline personality disorder can tell you, it can be emotionally exhausting at times. Usually, the persons they feel closest to become the target for lies, manipulations, and rage. It was literally like watching a movie about someone possessed. In one moment they are themselves, and begging for help—the next they are telling you how much they hate you, and spitting in your face. In fact there is a book called “I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me” that explains this nasty disorder, and the dismal prognosis for long term recovery. Back then there weren’t many treatment options that really worked. Thankfully, things have changed quite a bit now in the last 20 years or so, I’m told. Back then many therapists refused to see patients with BPD; and a psychiatrist friend of mine tells me it is still by far one of the most difficult pyschiatric disorders to treat. During this time I had one psychiatrist tell me to run as fast I could away from her. He told me, “You aren’t married; you don’t have kids with her…save yourself”.

 I helped her get into a hospital, and even lied for her so that she could keep her job and be welcomed back. She was in intensive therapy, and I as with her every step of the way. Even when it became clear her friends were starting to abandon her. I was determined to help her. After all, I was in love with her. But emotionally, it was killing me. The day after she got out of the hospital, we went home and made love. She cried about how grateful she was that I had been there for her to help her, and that she felt better than she had in months. That she felt normal again. And she begged me to never leave her. The next morning she went shopping with her best friend, and told her friend she had to use the restroom at a mall they’d gone too. She left her friend there, and she called me three days later, crying her eyes out, after having been on a three day high at a crack house. Until that day, she’d never done crack in her life.

I told you ALL of that to tell you this…My adoptive father said something profound at one point after the crack episode that saved me from being sucked completely down into the abyss. After listening to me go on for like three hours one day about all of her problems and how unfair it was that she was dealing with this, and just how much things would be “back to normal” if ONLY she stuck to her therapy, or ONLY if she took her meds like she was supposed to, he paused and said, “Tempus, you’re trying to rationalize with an irrational mind. She is not capable right now, and may never be, of being who you thought she was.” Sadly, he was right.

After the crack episode, I had had enough. She moved in with one of her girlfriends and then told me she was going to go back to the strip club, because I was forcing her to do that. Sure, okay. And she did for about a year or so. She called me about two years later one night, drunk, telling me she missed me and missed the great sex we had. She was working in marketing again, and had quit stripping; and asked if I wanted to come over to her new apartment, and be with her. I wished her well, but declined.

About every 5 or 6 years, I hear from her or one of her friends. Usually, a simple shout out via text around the holidays.  About three years ago, I had heard she had gotten married and had become a yoga instructor, and was doing really well; physically and otherwise. She’d even opened her own studio. Last year, one of her old friends told me she’d apparently cheated on her husband, had gotten divorced and closed her yoga studio. She just stopped going to work.

The point of this novella is (sorry, as an author it just spills out sometimes like this), while you may care about your friend, it’s not your responsibility to always be there for him, especially when he takes you for granted. As much as it sucks, you can’t allow your desire to be there for him to be manipulated, especially when he doesn’t care or know how to be a real friend. You are better off without him in your life.

To paraphrase from some friends of mine...  :biggrin: (ignore the context)

Thank your stars you're not that way
Turn your back and walk away
Don't even pause and ask them why
Turn around and say goodbye

All that you can do is wish them well
All that you can do is wish them well...
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Offline PowerSlave

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2018, 03:16:56 AM »
especially when he doesn’t care

I was with you until this line. That's a terrible assumption to make.

TV, me and you could trade horror stories. My ex wife sounds quite a bit like your ex-gf. I dealt with many of the same things that you described while I was married. My ex had Multiple Personality Disorder that was brought on by the extreme physical abuse that she endured as a child. However, while having my own extremely serious mental health issues I can see things a little bit from both sides.

I can't say this for certain because every person that deals with mental illness has their own experience, but I can tell you from my own experience(and observing others that have been sick) that guilt is a huge part of depression. Any person that contemplates/attempts suicide is the exact opposite of being callus and uncaring. In fact, the very depth of the guilt is probably the greatest motivating factor in considering ending one's own life. I can't say for certain that this person wasn't trying to use suicide as a threat to manipulate others, but I'll try to offer a different perspective.

This man may have felt powerless to change his behaviour while also realizing that his actions were damaging to those around him. Much like a drug addict, he may have known that what he was pursuing, and the things that he had to do to get it are terribly unhealthy for him, but he was desperate to get his fix (the woman in this case). He may have been self deluding and telling himself that he'd be able to make things right with her if he could just get one more chance. And everyone would end up living happily ever after.

Guilt can and will make a person make horrible decisions. It's also strong enough to make someone avoid people, places and situations that remind them of what causes the guilt in the first place. If speaking to Sam makes him makes him feel shame over his prior actions that were taken/made while he was in a poor state of mind, then he's going to avoid talking to him until he's come to peace with that painful part of his life. That could happen tomorrow, years from now or never.

Of course, all of this is speculation. My particular issue is PTSD, and I've never been obsessed enough with a woman that I've made her fear for her life. But I have been driven to attempt suicide due to my guilt about being a burden on my loved ones, and feeling like I was a grade-A POS. I can also tell you that I understand avoiding someone that cares very much for me due to the guilt I feel about how my actions have, or might be damaging to them.

I have a very dear friend that lives a few hours drive away from me. During my last suicide attempt and the times surrounding it he was the driving force in helping me regain my stability. He acted as an intermediary between me and my family, found me a new job in his area and offered to help me re-establish myself in the new area. I had to end up declining the new job, and the move to the new area partly for legal reasons, and partly out fear. I love the man like a brother, and I can't stand to look him in the face. I failed him and it crushes me every time I think about it. I'm trying to work through it because I miss him, but there's no forcing the matter.

Having said all of that, I'd just urge anyone that reads this that is dealing with a person that's mentally ill to do your best to keep an open mind. I do agree with TV about cutting off contact with someone, but only if you've reached your threshold, or if you think that the situation is going to cause serious damage to you. Ultimately, we're each responsible for our own health, but human beings are social animals and it's natural for those of us with certain needs to have to lean on others a little bit to get by.
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Offline Grappler

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2018, 07:26:02 AM »
I'd say that if you feel you did the right thing in not getting involved between this guy and this woman, then it's ok to just let things be.  He could have a range of emotions, from still being mad, to feeling embarrassed about what had previously happened.

My sister in law is bi-polar and a true narcissist.  Undiagnosed, since she doesn't want to go to the doctor and experience the "trauma" of receiving the formal diagnosis (her mom was diagnosed as bi-polar, so she knows she likely is too).  My wife and I keep our distance and don't get involved in her BS for the most part.  She always sucks her dad (my father in law) into the drama so she can get attention from him, which tends to affect his stress and marriage.  I got very mad at her a few years ago over something and sent her three harsh messages over it and she shut us out of her life for 2 years, in addition to a bunch of drama that she had with my mother in law that same year.  Just recently, she's been coming around more to family events and we all just co-exist.  I don't need to apologize to her because I was in the right, and if I did, I'd just be giving her the attention that she craves, but the family now acts as if nothing happened in the past, and my kids get to have their aunt back in their lives again.

So I'd say that it's no harm if you keep your distance - your friend knows where you stand and how to get in touch with you if he wants.  Maybe he'll come around in time.  That's what we choose to do and it's worked with a few of our family members.

Offline Harmony

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2018, 07:57:19 AM »
Samsara that is a very difficult position to be in.  Thank you for being such a caring friend to tell him the truth even though he didn't want to hear it.  FWIW, I think you've done the right thing.

Consider this though, perhaps in his efforts to get his mental health in order he realized that his old group of friends were now some sort of a trigger into his old ways of coping.  That talking to you or seeing you could jeopardize the progress you hope he is making and will continue to make.  It is similar to an addict trying to stay clean and having to ditch the old life in order to do so.  It sucks that you are in the ditch pile and I understand that.  But his life might very well depend on not going back to anything that puts him back in that mindset again.  Sadly, that includes friends and the very people who saved his life.

If you can reframe it with that knowledge, it might be a little bit easier to understand why things cannot be the same between you two.

Offline bout to crash

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2018, 07:58:52 AM »
My opinion is that you're giving your friend too much credit. The guy clearly has some serious mental health issues and I'm not minimizing that, but he's also extremely manipulative. Based on what you said about his suicide attempts, they don't sound like legit attempts as much as cries for attention (since he made it possible to find him, etc.). The way he talked to you about this woman was incredibly unfair and manipulative, basically trying to guilt you into doing something you both know is wrong. As somebody with mental health training and somebody with LOTS of experience with this type of shit in my personal life, it sounds to me like he probably has some kind of personality disorder. That doesn't mean he doesn't deserve friendship or empathy, but he does deserve to be kicked to the fucking curb if he treats somebody who is supposed to be a friend that way. I would keep this guy at arm's length at best so there's no chance to get sucked into his drama. I have friends sort of like this who I basically just am friends with on social media but we live far away from each other, and I've learned not to get too close because it always spells drama. That said, none of these people are people who have tried to manipulate me into doing things I know are wrong or stirred up a ton of drama in my life. Anybody who's done that shit to me is out. The older I get, the lower my tolerance for shitty people in my life. So my opinion is to cut the cord. This guy doesn't need you in his life- at best he's tried to use you as a tool to stalk somebody rather than an actual friend. Your past with him isn't strong enough to keep him around IMO. You went to a concert together and wrote each other recommendations- you said yourself you are not super close. You don't owe him anything, and you shouldn't feel guilty for keeping away from somebody who is nothing but a constant source of drama just because he has a history of half-assed suicide attempts. His mental health issues are his to deal with, and the way he's treated you is not like an actual friend.
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Offline Samsara

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2018, 08:05:04 AM »
Thanks everyone. I appreciate the replies. I think I'll just go ahead and stop reaching out (even if I don't do it often any longer), and just refrain from taking a look at his socials. He's obviously going to do what he's going to do, and knows how to get in touch with me. I care, and sincerely hope he's on the path to getting better, but the fact I see signs he's not...well, I'm a friend, I care. But I think those of you who suggested cutting the cord completely is the best course of action.

Harmony, good point about people involved in those incidents being a potential trigger. I am not friends with the other people who reached out to him during the suicide attempts, so I'm not sure if they are experiencing the same thing. My thought is, because I refused to act as that conduit to the woman he was (is) obsessed with, he lashed out at me harder. But I'm fine being in the "ditch pile" (great phrase, lol) if that means he gets healthy.

Appreciate your (and everyone's) perspective. (I just finished reading bout to crash's reply.) Thank you.

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2018, 08:32:28 AM »
First, some very powerful posts up there (@ Harmony... GREAT point).  Second, I think this sums up my perspective accurately:

So I'd say that it's no harm if you keep your distance - your friend knows where you stand and how to get in touch with you if he wants.  Maybe he'll come around in time.  That's what we choose to do and it's worked with a few of our family members.

I (and mrs.jingle.) have lost a lot of friendships over the years, over nothing more than the fact that it was a 1-way effort to maintain the friendship.  Eventually, I came to realize it's not my job to make people like me or want me in their life.  If they want to participate in the friendship, great.  If not, oh well... their loss.  But - as TV also commented around - relationships require two active and willing participants.  When I'm the only one active, it's just not worth the return.  I felt like a car always burning gas, but never getting a refill.  To a smaller degree, that to me is also the definition of a toxic relationship - when the other side is constantly the 'taker' but never the 'giver', well, I just stopped giving.  It hurts, and I mourn the loss of the friendship, but that's what it is ... the loss of a friendship.  I realized amount of effort on my part ALONE is going to make the friendship what it once was.

That's me though.  If anyone else is fine in that scenario, who am I to challenge or tell them they shouldn't. In this scenario, where it's something a little more ... extreme?? ... than just not having your friend reciprocate, I do have to agree with the others that it would be better let the ties die off naturally.
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Offline Stadler

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2018, 10:14:36 AM »
I think Jingle is right as rain, and I would only add that if we ARE going to be friends, it's up to us to be the best friend we can be.   Just like when they have to remind you on the airplane that "bear in mind the nearest exit may be behind you", maybe being the "best friend you can be" means to leave them the hell alone, or not be a reminder/enabler/outlet for their worst impulses.    I, like Jingle, have sort of realized that it's not my job to be the universal friend for everyone, because it's not healthy to ME, first of all, and if I'm not the best I can be, I can't be a good friend to the others that ARE putting in the effort. 
« Last Edit: December 05, 2018, 10:57:03 AM by Stadler »

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2018, 10:34:43 AM »
I think Jingle is right as rain

I am SOOOOOO sig'g this.
I didn't know I could handle another 10 inches and it was rough but in the end I'm glad I did it.
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2018, 12:25:41 PM »
Tough one, Samsara.  Sorry you are having to deal with it.

As with all things, I agree with Jackie on this one.
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Offline Samsara

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2018, 01:03:10 PM »
Thanks again gang. Good perspective here, and I appreciate you all reading. Letting a friend go is no easy task, but it seems it is the right way to proceed.

Cheers.

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2018, 03:11:54 PM »
I agree with just about everyone here.  I think cutting the cord is the right thing to do. Tough situation, and I feel for ya, but it's time to rip off the band-aid.

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2018, 03:24:17 PM »
I would let it go Sam.  You've done so much to keep in touch.  The ball is in his court now.  Let him make a move to reconnect.  If it's meant to be, he will.  :)
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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2018, 03:25:50 PM »
I agree with just about everyone here.  I think cutting the cord is the right thing to do. Tough situation, and I feel for ya, but it's time to rip off the band-aid.

Yup, also Harmony might have hit the nail on the head.  That was what I was thinking, maybe your friend just associates you with his past and needs that space.  Doesn't mean he dislikes you, but just needs to be away to stay in his better place.  Sucks from your perspective of losing a friend, but you did the right thing and it seems you sacrificed your friendship for his life.  That's commendable and I'd like to think your friend knows that but also knows he needs his boundaries. 

At the end of the day, you got to cut the ties to toxic relationships. 

Offline TAC

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2018, 06:53:23 PM »
Brian, can't really add anything, but I am very sorry that this is weighing on you. When you reach your point you will know it.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Offline MoraWintersoul

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2018, 06:29:01 AM »
First of all, congratulations, you made the right and obvious choice. While we can't pick our disorders and dysfunctions, and we all have the right to be helped, he needed to be helped to live a normal life and not to stalk another woman and make her fear for her life. Since he declined the help he needed and your friendship, you really don't need to feel bad that you cut the cord when he wanted help with the other thing.

As a fairly and sometimes severely depressed person, I know how hard it is to keep up with me when I look like no progress is happening and I am being super difficult. I admire everyone who kept in touch with me and helped me throughout the years. I am lucky that my illness hasn't made me do anything that harms another person or is too difficult to forgive (though I kinda almost ruined my marriage at one point). Having said that, I also have a friend who seems to attach his self worth to having a woman in his life, and when he had a complicated heartbreak-filled year involving three or four different women, he snapped and just went from bad to worse. It was difficult to talk to him sometimes, and difficult to see him just bounce from one terrible romantic choice to the next - believe me that a fifteen year old would be able to see having the kind of relationships he was having wasn't worth the heartbreak. Now that he has a stable romantic life and a seemingly decent, supportive girlfriend, I feel more comfortable talking to him, because it was hard to hear "well, my life would be perfect if she loved me and was with me, but since she doesn't, I guess I'm a piece of shit and should just wait for death" and not snap and say terrible, unhelpful things.

The one thing every person with mental health issues should learn is that our wellbeing doesn't have to hang in the balance of our relationships. Sure, it's better to be in a good relationship than to be single, and we all yearn to be loved - but just because you have the right to be loved, doesn't mean you have the right to demand love from a specific person.

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Offline Stadler

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2018, 08:13:48 AM »
...we all yearn to be loved - but just because you have the right to be loved, doesn't mean you have the right to demand love from a specific person.

Wow, really well said.  This is golden advice right here.

Offline kingshmegland

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2018, 08:20:44 AM »
Sam you are doing the right thing.  You reached out but only he can help himself.  It sounds like he doesn't want the help.  You should have a clean conscience the way you handled yourself. 
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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2018, 09:19:22 AM »
I really appreciate the outpouring of thoughts and support everyone. From my perspective, the cord is cut, and I've moved on. Thanks again, as I needed some outside perspective on all of this.

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2018, 09:40:05 AM »
I really appreciate the outpouring of thoughts and support everyone. From my perspective, the cord is cut, and I've moved on. Thanks again, as I needed some outside perspective on all of this.

Everyone... I think this is code for "I got it!"   :lol
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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2018, 09:55:21 AM »
:lol, point taken

As with all things, I agree with Jackie on this one.

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Offline Grappler

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2018, 11:05:37 AM »
Hijacking this thread slightly.  I'm not putting any of this on social media, so I just feel like venting here a bit, since I've pretty much only been talking to family about this for 2 days straight.

Without getting into too many details and the incredibly long story behind things, my father in law attempted suicide on Saturday.  My brother in law was worried because his missed his grandson's hockey game, which never happens, so he went to check on him.  He arrived to find the car running in the garage, with the interior door to the house open.  The house was flooded with exhaust fumes, and he saw his dad laying in bed, motionless.  He ran out and called 911.  The paramedics discovered that he was still alive, barely, and resuscitated him.  They had never seen a home with carbon monoxide levels that high, ever.  So we got the call of "dad's dead, he killed himself," and then 15 minutes later, after an awful car ride to his home, learned that he would survive.  A rollercoaster of emotions.

Aside from this entire weekend feeling completely surreal, I feel anger most of all.  The reason for the suicide attempt was ridiculous and ties to my father in law's usual MO of taking a perceived or actual problem and hiding it rather than talking about it.  He received a letter from the Social Security Office and misunderstood its meaning.  Rather than call us (we assist him with his finances), he didn't sleep for 2 nights, didn't eat for 2 days, tried to OD on OTC sleeping pills and then nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning because he thought the world was over.

I'm angry with him for the constant insecurity in dealing with financial matters (this is nothing new for him) and the fact that he willingly put his children in a position to have to walk into that home, full of car exhaust, and find him dead.  My brother in law hasn't been able to sleep and had panic attacks that first night.

My wife and her aunts are handling things with the hospital, so I'm home with my kids.  And I think that's good.  I'm in no mood to deal with my father in law and would likely yell at him, which wouldn't solve a thing.  He's a very stubborn guy and willingly tunes out any conversation that he doesn't want to hear.  He will completely ignore his own grandchildren if they are throwing a tantrum, simply because he doesn't like the sound of upset children, rather than try to comfort them.  Ignore, ignore, ignore, ignore.

Right now, he's just saying "I just made a mistake, I'm fine and ready to go home."  Ugh.  He has some inpatient mental therapy ahead of him over the next week, which might force him to open up and talk. 

I'm sure the anger will subside, and a lot of the anger comes from the last handful of years and dealing with his prior behavior.   I know that every situation is different and prior experiences factor into how a person feels when something like this happens, but I just don't' find myself wanting to give him any compassion right now.  Maybe that will change in time.  But  I doubt that he will change as a person - he will always be very selfish and not considerate of how his actions affect his family.  Everything is "poor me, my poor life," and having everyone rally around him to make his life easier at their own expense.  So it's hard to feel compassion towards him right now, when the common perception of suicide is that I should. 

« Last Edit: December 10, 2018, 11:29:43 AM by Grappler »

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #26 on: December 10, 2018, 01:44:36 PM »
Wow man that is tough, I don't blame you for feeling the way you do.  Good luck with that situation, it must be really difficult.

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2018, 01:47:29 PM »
How is Mrs. Grappler doing?
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2018, 03:39:56 PM »
Dayum.  I got no words of wisdom, but clearly this is a product of many years/decades of life.  We all bring that, as do our previous generations - I know my parents and in-laws have a lot of their own baggage.

Sorry to hear anyone going through this.  Hopefully the inpatient stuff helps him in some way.
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Offline Harmony

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2018, 05:18:27 PM »
So it's hard to feel compassion towards him right now, when the common perception of suicide is that I should.

Your post rang some bells for me.  Let me start by saying I'm sorry you are going through this.  I'm going to post this to hopefully offer you some perspective - not to judge in any way.  I am in NO position to judge anything and you're going to see why in a moment.

The abbreviated version.  My mother and step-father separated but never divorced about 15 years ago.  My step-father essentially raised me with my mom and I consider him my dad.  He has had major health problems since just prior to their separation and died after a year+ in hospice care just this past October 17th.  My mom helped in his care at the very end and thus I believe they mended some fences before he died but they would have never reunited and should've gotten divorced years ago.

Mom was always secretive about their finances.  I knew some - behind in their taxes, garnishment of their pensions, 2 mortgages on the house my mom continued to live in.  She was constantly in a state of worry about how she would manage when he died and his pension checks stopped.  Her joke was that she would end up as a "bag lady" on the streets but I knew she wasn't really joking.  A few days after my dad passed, I spoke to her and she admitted she was "feeling sorry for myself" and we had a very blunt discussion about how there could be no more secrets, that she had to let her family help her with financial planning for the remainder of her life.  It was heated, but we made up about it a few days after and she agreed we could continue the discussions.

15 days after my father died, my mother died unexpectedly after collapsing at my brother's home.  911, paramedics, CPR with AED - that woman went down.  She survived a few days in the ICU but eventually succumbed.  These past few weeks have been a blur.  But one thing I know is that she lost her will to live.  She didn't actually commit suicide but she didn't fight to live either.  She was so scared and embarrassed and stressed out about fucking finances.  And the kicker is, she didn't know the truth of it but had built it up in her mind as this big, bad thing.

Grappler your statment, "...usual MO of taking a perceived or actual problem and hiding it rather than talking about it." is exactly my same experience.  Same about getting letters from the government or bill collectors and not understanding them correctly.  That was my mom too.  I don't know what the answers are here, but I do know my heart goes out to you.  I understand your anger and your frustration.  Fear is a powerful thing. My mom kept so many secrets but had she had the courage to talk to us about them, we could've done so much to reassure her.  Had we had the opportunity, she might still be alive.

Your father-in-law is still alive.  And yes, he's going to need some help with his depression and his fears.  But you have an opportunity now that I obviously dropped the ball on.  Once the anger has dissipated a little, maybe you or your wife and her family can get him to come clean about his fears and help him with his finances.  That could be the thing that helps him the most.


Good luck.


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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #30 on: December 10, 2018, 06:15:42 PM »
Harmony, I am deeply sorry for your loss(es). 

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Re: Suicidal friend turns his back. Your thoughts?
« Reply #31 on: December 10, 2018, 08:09:44 PM »
How is Mrs. Grappler doing?

Thanks all.  She's doing alright.  The moment of that phone call will forever be seared into my brain.  We're still coming to terms with the suicide attempt and his methods, just being incredibly creeped out and bothered by it, thinking that it just can't be real, but being forced to know that it is.  But it's back to normal for him and her - he's bossing the family around from his hospital bed, and she said "you know, it would be so much easier if he were successful," rather than having to deal with his constant neediness.  My wife is managing two kids under 4, a household and 10 hours per week of part time work, and she has to be the one to make calls to his doctors when he's sitting on his ass watching tv in the hospital because he won't do it.  It's more frustrating that he has zero contrition and is acting like this was no big deal and just a very minor lapse in judgement.  He won't give anyone straight answers when they ask him about it.  The police said that it was very well thought out and not a half-assed attempt.

*snip*

I'm so terribly sorry for what you have been going through and noticed your absence from the forum for a while.  I've always enjoyed reading yorr posts on the P/R section, though I don't contribute much there.

My attitude stems from prior experiences with my father in law and is the "big long story" I alluded to.  He's the single most frustrating human being on the planet.  He has his great moments at times, but he does what he wants, when he wants, regardless of whether it's right or wrong.  He was a workaholic and never managed his Crohn's disease because doctor appointments would interfere with work and sitting in a waiting room was wasting time to him, so he'd let episodes go too long until they damaged his body and required weeks or months of hospitalization at a time.  He'd lay in bed, honestly bleeding and starving himself to death, moaning about "poor me, life is hard," and telling his kids straight to his faces that they should go away and let him die.  The emotional scarring of having that type of conversation multiple times over the years is deep and he grows more selfish every year.  His visits to our house to see his grandkids last all of 15 minutes per week, now that there aren't any little babies to hold and he doesn't want to play with them as they get older.  He hasn't been a father to my wife or her brother in years, and their stepdad assumed that role and is such a great guy.  So we have a complicated relationship with her real dad, and it makes it hard to want to be there for him right now when he's done nothing but hurt us all by his behaviors over the years.

We took over his finances two years ago, during the last 2-month hospitalization event.  His Crohns led to sepsis, a small heart attack and 2 strokes, all within a week, and nearly dying from it all.  We were paying his bills and discovered that he had 17 credit cards, with a total debt of $40,000, which he hid from everyone.  He refinananced his house so many times and pulled all of the equity out.  After 30 years of a mortgage, he owed MORE on the house than when he actually bought it.  30 years of paying a mortgage and he NEVER paid down the principal by one cent, and it actually grew from the refinancing costs.

So we helped him file for bankruptcy, which was traumatizing for him, being such a prideful guy.  But it was a clean start and he realized it was the right move.  It gave him freedom again.  Then he burned through a lot of money after he retired a year ago- and we had some very serious conversations about how quickly he was losing money and would lose his home.  That set in a new bout of depression and feeling sorry for himself.  A few months ago he decided to sell the house and we have him on a short waiting list for affordable senior housing.  He was actually excited for the change, which is a huge step for him.  He physically can't maintain the house and would actually have money to do things like eat out again.

But again, his MO is to ignore the problems.  He doesn't talk to me about his finances, he doesn't ask how he's doing or if he needs to transfer more money.  He doesn't want to know so he doesn't have anxiety over it.  It's frustrating.  Talking to him is like talking to a brick wall, since he doesn't take advice from us, but expects us to do all of the work for him.  So this situaton was 100% preventable with one phone call or visit to us to talk.  We are all hoping that being forced to go through therapy sessions over the next week or so will help break through his emotional wall.  But he's 67 years old and has always been like this, so I am not expecting a change.  He acts like he changes, then settles back into his old routine after time.  I'll keep forwarding his mail to my home for as long as I can and remove a trigger for him, but sadly, part of his independence as well.

I truly appreciate the pep-talk and have been feeling a bit better about things tonight - it's still very raw after only two days.  Sometimes it feels like we're the only ones in the world with a difficult parent, so it's nice to know that others deal with the same exact struggles that we have, and that those problems are solveable.  We just have to see how he responds to treatment before we can understand what his and our futures look like.

Keep your chin up and take care - as wacky as our relationships can be with our parents, we know that they will always love us, even if it's not expressed.