This female contributor lived with her partner. She was wakened in the night to find her boyfriend’s father in the house. He had been called by his son because his son was attempting suicide.
She found them in the bathroom. The cry for help was really aimed at his father. The father was the financial provider for his business but he also craved his father’s emotional support. She was the one having to deal with it all.
Contributing circumstances: her partner being made redundant; becoming somewhat depressed; having other jobs which did not last; drinking quite heavily.
At that point, this woman realised that she was unhappy with all that was going on, and there were additional knock-on factors: a serious accident, suffered considerable pain, dependency on painkillers, anti-depressants, pressure of business. And a childlike need for emotional support from his father which was not given.
With all of the above going on, she questioned what she was doing in this relationship. She was aware or believed that his drug-taking and depression was half illness and half personality. And heavy drinking was still going on. She was aware that if he really wanted to help himself he would. On an emotional level, his father was a wholly negative figure.
The attempted suicide was a scream for his dad’s support. He was unhappy with his father’s life. The father had found a new woman and the son felt ‘lost’.
As a result of these contributing factors, her partner was placed in a psychiatric unit of a well-known establishment for abuse dependency.
This was an unpleasant situation and visiting was deeply distressing. She was also attempting to keep his business running. She had to lie to all his business associates and staff as she tried to keep the business afloat. She was dragged down and very stressed. Trying to remember all the variation of lies was hugely unpleasant. The father was not supportive and the boyfriend was happy to stay in rehab because he was getting lots of attention.
She wanted out, and to be out guilt-free. Suicide was in his family genes. Her partner’s attempted suicide was not a surprise within the family – not a first. She was fearful of becoming a mother like figure and carer to him. She knew she would not take on that role. The visits to the rehab establishment were awful. Not somewhere to take a child. She believed that some patients were ill and some just wanted the attention.
Q. Her thoughts on her decision to leave the relationship.
She believed then and believes now that many people do have a choice about the life they can live. If you are in a position to make a choice, then make a good one for yourself. She did not have to stay with him. She made the choice to leave. The life that loomed ahead was not for her. Overwhelming thoughts of how to get out of it were a concern. Initially she was worried what people might think. She assumed people who did not know the whole story would be thinking: • poor man • an awful accident and the girlfriend can’t cope
She also did not want to be responsible if he tried suicide another time, and got it right!
After the decision to leave her partner, she felt relief. She still received calls from his family members asking for her continued support. They wanted to rely on her but she was having none of it. She was out of the emotional relationship. However, it took time before she could leave the business relationship they still shared. She was now in the position of looking forward to a new life: her own destiny and not beholding to anyone. That excited her. She never worried about being a girl on her own: Much happier to be single than miserable with someone.
One of the main reasons she was able to escape was due to the unquestioning support she received from her parents. She felt very lucky in that respect and put on her practical head to deal with conflicting emotions. When the dust finally settled, she did hit a brick wall.
She now happily married, self-employed and enjoying success. Time is a healer.
When I wrote my book Survive and Thrive after Trauma in 2012 a section shares interviews with those now thriving after an emotional challenge. Those I interviewed who shared their message will have continued along their path of increased learning, self joy and self awareness. We are not alone; should we choose we can learn from others, take and use information generously shared, be encouraged and in some cases, be enlightened.