Why Suicide?

October 15, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Why People Die by Suicide by Thomas Joiner.  It is not an easy read but helpful. Am re-posting this from 2007.

Joiner says people commit suicide because of thwarted effectiveness or the “sense that one is a burden” and thwarted connectedness or the “sense that one does not belong”.

A final necessary  factor occurs when a person has acquired the ability for lethal self-injury. “This comes from fearlessness about confronting pain, injury and death.”

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  1. April 19, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    I have had two sisters and a brother all commit suicide and I have come to the conclusion that suicide occurs when the pain of living is greater than the fear of dying. It’s difficult for me to see any fearlessness in confronting pain, injury and death, so I do not get this concept of acquiring the ability for lethal self-injury. I obviously have now studied suicide extensively and most people agonize for a very long time because of how difficult it is to follow through on lethal self-injury.
    From my understanding the “sense that one is a burden” makes sense for the high numbers of senior citezens who commit suicide and the not belonging fits well for youth, but not the majority. Pain and a lesser ability to cope thats what I have seen.

    • April 19, 2010 at 4:42 pm

      Appreciate your comment and I want to say that I am so sorry for your experiences with suicide in the family. Hope you have processed that with others. For me, attending a SOS group (Survivors of Suicide group) was helpful even though it came twenty-five years after the fact. Have not read Joiners’s book in a few years but I think he was saying that once a person gets over the fear of harming their self, then the possibility of suicide becomes a possibility. Maybe there is a built in barrier that we have inside us that keeps us from harming ourselves. But, perhaps a gradual desensitization (sp?) occurs and at a certain point we no longer have this fear or dread of killing ourselves. That is but one pre-condition that has to be fulfilled. The other is the sense of worthlessness or hopelessness. When these two are in combination, we need to be aware of danger. But, I am not a psych person, only one that has walked through these pains, personally and with others. I think your explanation, “greater pain of living than fear of dying” could make a difficult topic understandable for many.

  2. April 19, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    I have tried to commit suicide twice. Once by jumping off a 35 foot bridge and once by slashing my wrists. The explanation of “greater pain of living than fear of dying” is absolutely accurate. I’m very sorry for both of your losses. I am still here due to a good psychiatrist, a disobediant dog and luck.


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