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"I Don't Want to be Here." Suicidal Ideation

At times, we might have the answer to our loved one’s pain, but making sure to check in and see that their need is being met can make even more of a difference in how we connect.

If you’ve ever thought about life, maybe you’ve felt fear about death and what it means to you. Maybe you’ve asked yourself, “what will I leave behind?” Maybe you’ve actually experienced a passive thought around life or death from time to time – something like, “what’s the point?” or “maybe this would be easier if I was out of the picture.”


Suicidal ideations are a very important aspect of where we are in life and how we feel. Very often, we might try embracing a new relationship, experience or environment, and we find ourselves questioning, “what’s the point?” or “maybe this would be easier if I was out of the picture,” but we quickly move on to something new. Some of us might’ve learned to embrace defeat by building resilience, and as therapists, this means learning to thrive and push through difficult situations. If we’ve built the consistency around trusting ourselves to process our own emotions, we may build this resiliency quickly, but nonetheless, it is not the same picture for everyone.


We are human beings learning to embrace, not only our relationships and experiences, but also ourselves. One of the cornerstones of suicidal ideation is the component of isolation and withdrawing behavior. You find yourself locked away, maybe physically and emotionally at times. Take into account your safety and trust when it comes to processing your own emotions—I’ll be the first person for clients sometimes, to say, “what happens when you can’t reach out emotionally?”


For those in insecure attachments, who don’t have an environment where someone is emotionally accessible and consistently comforting when needed, they have to take care of themselves. They attempt to tune into their own emotional experiences to cultivate some understanding of what’s happening at any given moment.


For ex.

Teresa reaches out to her husband about losing their son in a car accident.


“My baby, I don’t understand, we were just on the phone two days ago talking about his plan to go off to college.”


Her husband responds, “It’s going to be okay, we will get through this Teresa, I know it,” offering her reassurance at this time.


Teresa makes the remark, “I appreciate it love, but I’m just unsure of how to accept this.”


This simple scenario sheds light on two key moments in the conversation; First, from a place of underlying emotion, Teresa is having difficulty grasping the situation she has just learned about. Second, her partner sees that his wife is struggling, so he cares and wants to provide comfort—he reaches in to provide reassurance, hoping it’ll lighten the moment for his wife.




Sometimes these are the conversations where we start to see a loved one push away or isolate themselves in a very emotionally overwhelming situation.


If you take into account emotional attunement, it’s important for me to understand what my loved one is expressing. If I see sadness, and my knee-jerk response is to fix their pain, I might miss out on helping this individual understand their own pain. Here, Teresa expresses not understanding, having difficulty grasping this situation, and she could very well be coming from a place of sadness or grief.


At times, the consistent pattern in people’s lives is that their loved ones react to their pain versus attune to and show empathy for that individual’s experience. This is a tough scenario, because two people have lost someone they’re very close to, a son. Here, it may be a situation that is difficult for two people to grasp. When you look outside of this scenario, there are relationships where that knee-jerk response to our loved one’s pain is to react to it and fix it, provide a solution, address a need that comes up for you.


While there may very well be an emotional need for reassurance when one is in pain, if they’re struggling to understanding, we might respond, “This is so hard to understand, it hurts me to see you in pain, I want to understand how we can get through this together,” and find a path to understanding that need in the moment.


Care is the core of our attachments, but even looking at our partner’s pain and reacting by providing a solution can lead to disconnect or disengagement. If we feel our partner or loved one turning away from that care, we want to make sure we’re still assess, address and approach what’s coming up for us, so that we can show up consistently in our relationship.


At times, we might have the answer to our loved one’s pain, but making sure to check in and see that their need is being met can make even more of a difference in how we connect.


The reason I share this scenario and information with you today is because there are people who have suffered through misunderstanding and isolation for large parts of their life. The only consistency they might relate to is insecure attachment, centered on disengagement, disregard, and disconnect.


We have the responsibility, as counselors, to attune to such situations as this by having empathy for this individual, couples or family’s experiences. If someone has suffered in such a way that they’ve learned to live in their emotional experiences, unsure of their emotional needs, they may walk in their world feeling lonely—the hardest part about this is how our own internal system struggles to differentiate social pain and the physical pain we feel we need when we’re lonely.


Reach out and schedule an appointment today if you’re looking to build more security and safety in your life. If you’re unsure or feeling misunderstood, let’s walk through it and understand what needs others are being missed out on.


Thanks!


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