Posted by: Stephanie | 2013-02-12

Friend losing it!

Long story short ... friend who lives in Australia is going through a very bad time, job hanging on a thread, facing bankrupcy, recovering from surgery to remove cancerous tumour, etc. This morning he sends me a message telling me that the only solution to his problems is for him to take his own life. I try to tell him that is the last thing he should see as a solution to his problems and that he will leave many people behind wondering what went wrong. He turned nasty and in not so many words told me to leave him alone and it is his problem and he will deal with it in his own way and in his own time. I told him that it will be as he wishes it to be, I will leave him alone to sort himself out. What does he expect me to do anyway? Jump on the first plane to Australia? I am and have always been very sympathetic towards him and his problems, but I don''t think I deserve to be treated the way he did today. I always enquire about his wellbeing especially when I have not heard from him for a while, but I think I have now given all there is to give to this man. I don''t know what to do anymore, when he is down, I try to cheer him up, when he is angry, I allow him to vent. I also have problems of my own, but I don''t send upsetting messages threatening to end my life. I don''t want to feel guilty about backing off (as he actually wants me to) should he really harm himself in any way. I so do not need all this drama in my life!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Even though one must always assume a degree of risk in any suicide threat, there sounds like a degree of drama queening going on here as well. He didn't have to contact you to announce such a decision. Having done so, he has no basis for getting angry with you for trying to be helpful. Maybe he chose to contact you on a different continent, just because there was very little you could do about it, rather than more sensibly going to a hospital casualty or seeing a shrink who unquestionably COULD have helped him.
Sometimes this is a genuine cry for help ; sometimes its a nastier decision to inflict guilt and a sense of responsibility in someone who is not at all to blame.
The tumour is most probably not his fault, but the bankruptcy and job problems are surely at least in part due tom his own decisions and actions ? Do not accept any invitations to feel guilty. If he wants specific help, he can ask for it and you can evaluate the request.

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