“Mightier than the Sword”: Healing from a Spiteful Suicide Note

“Mum, I could write to you for days, but I know nothing would actually make a difference to you,” the note begins. “You are much too ignorant and self concerned to even attempt to listen or understand, everyone knows that.”

More hateful words follow, culminating with, “You are a waste of space, ignorant, and a rotten c***.”

A 17-year-old girl wrote this note shortly before she and her boyfriend reportedly killed a police officer and then took their own lives. Such a letter would be hurtful under any circumstances, but as an adolescent’s last words to her mother, it seems especially cruel.

I know nothing about this mother and daughter’s relationship. Perhaps the mother truly hurt her daughter in devastating ways. Perhaps, instead, the daughter’s hatred toward her mother was typical of so many strained relationships between mothers and their adolescent daughters.

Regardless, a hateful suicide note can provoke feelings of embarrassment and guilt, generate intense anger toward the deceased, and complicate the grieving process for the intended target of the note.

Blame and Revenge in Suicide Notes

The adolescent daughter’s suicide note is one of several anger-laced notes that have made the headlines recently. Another is the note of a father who was in a bitter, years-long custody dispute with his ex-wife.

In the father’s long suicide note, which he posted online, he calls his ex-wife a psychopath, states she bullied and emotionally abused him, and blames her father for his “murder by suicide.” (The ex-wife was awarded the copyright for the suicide note and has successfully required many websites to remove it, but other sites have refused to take it down.)

The actress Julia Roberts’ half-sister Nancy Motes died by suicide in February. Reportedly, she left a long suicide note blaming Julia Roberts for her death. 

Most spiteful suicide notes simply go unreported. They may remain a family secret (or a secret from the family), a source of shame, anger or sadness, whether those emotions are directed at the deceased or at the target of the note. 

A Painful Goodbye

I first wrote about suicide notes (“Unwritten Goodbyes: When There is No Suicide Note”) because of the pain those left behind can experience when there is no note – no final expression of love, no goodbye, no explanation for why the person died by suicide. I neglected to say that while the absence of a suicide note can hurt, the presence of a spiteful suicide note can hurt even more.

If you were targeted in a spiteful suicide note, then you might experience a complex barrage of emotions, depending on the nature of your relationship with the person who died. Two reactions are especially common: Anger toward the deceased, and feelings of guilt.

Anger is understandable, even instinctive. If a person’s suicide note blamed you, then you are under attack. The letter writer, serving as judge and jury, convicted you of wrongdoing without giving you any chance to present a defense. The verdict stands.

At least, it can feel that way. In reality, the suicide note captures the writer’s thoughts and feelings during only one moment in time, a moment that often is clouded by distorted thinking, mental illness, addiction, or other forces of suicide.

Recovering from the Attack in a Suicide Note

You also might feel terribly hurt by the suicide note’s indictment of you, even more so if you were close to the person who died. The pain of your loss, the intense grief, is compounded by the expression of raw anger. Feelings of guilt often follow, especially if you wish desperately that you could relive events and prevent your loved one from dying.

To place the suicide note in perspective, it can help to ask yourself the following questions:

Do the person’s criticisms accurately reflect the whole of you and your relationship with that person? (Doubtful, but if so, please be sure to read further below.)

Are the person’s criticisms of you highly selective, focusing only on regrettable incidents in your relationship while ignoring the many other aspects of your relationship that were benign or actually happy?

Are you buying into the person’s accusations without defending yourself?

Was suicide a rational response to whatever shortcomings or misdeeds that you are accused of?

It is also important to consider whether you, too, blame yourself for the person’s suicide. As I discuss elsewhere (“If Only: Self-Blame After a Loved One’s Suicide”), many people undeservedly blame themselves after the suicide of a loved one. Sadly, an angry suicide note can feed into your own fears that you failed the person who died.

But What If the Angry Suicide Note is True?

Perhaps the note accurately reports ways that you caused the person pain. Whatever hurtful things you said or did may be justifiable to you, or they may break your heart.

It is impossible not to hurt people from time to time, whether by ending a relationship, saying “no” when a person wants to hear “yes,” loving someone else, expressing needs that a loved one cannot meet, saying words in anger, fighting for what is right, or something else that upsets another person. Causing a person’s pain is not the same as causing a person’s suicide. 

If you inflicted harm in ways that go beyond the normal hurts of life, consider ways to change your actions with others moving forward, to make amends, and to forgive yourself. At the same time, be careful to distinguish between guilt for your wrongdoings and guilt for the person’s suicide. Short of handing a loaded gun to a psychotic person who you know hears voices commanding him or her to die by suicide, it is extremely difficult, perhaps even impossible, to directly cause another person’s suicide.

No one person, no one act, and no one event causes suicide. Emotional pain interacts with other forces, such as genetic influences, learned behaviors, coping skills, mental illness, hopelessness, and distorted thoughts.

Keeping in mind the many forces of suicide can help soothe your anger toward the person who lashed out at you. Above all, this awareness can help you heal.

Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW, is the author of “Helping the Suicidal Person: Tips and Techniques for Professionals,” a psychotherapist and consultant, and an associate professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work.

© Copyright 2014 Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW, All Rights Reserved. Written for www.speakingofsuicide.com. Photo purchased from Fotolia.com

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  1. anon says:

    If I am ever driven to such a point; my anger-filled note will simply end with: “See you soon.”

    If there isn’t an afterlife, then I will happily be released into the nothingness from whence we came while the living waste their time pondering the meaning behind my final words.

    However, if there is an afterlife, I have stacks of plates to break, dark bedroom corners to stand in and well deserving victims to shove down some stairs.

    In the words of my dad (R.I.P old man)

    “The f**k do I care? I’ll be dead!”

  2. Hurt forever says:

    My fiancé committed suicide in front of me two weeks ago. Yesterday I found a note stating that he wanted me to live with it the rest of my life, which is most likely why he shot himself in front of me. He was controlling and jealous and a difficult person to live with at times while also one of the greatest charismatic men I have ever known. He used his suicide as a way to punish me because he knew I was tired of dealing with him and his issues. I never did anything to him and he did this to me on purpose as a final way to hurt me the worst way possible.

    • Anonymous says:

      same exact thing happened to me

    • AL says:

      I’m so very, very sorry he did this to you! I pray you are recovering! That was cruel and self-centered. My father committed suicide 38 years ago, when I’d just had a baby. It was selfish and cruel and I haven’t changed my mind about that in 38 years. Prayers for your peace & healing.

      • Eddie says:

        His suicide was not about you. It is always about the person who takes their own life. Like you said, it is a selfish act. Though I do think describing suicide as “self-absorbed” is much more accurate and less accusing. But there’s no good in beating somebody when they are down. That’s every bit as “selfish”. Like I said, your father’s tragic suicide was not about you, even if it felt that way when you were young. Good luck!

    • rock marsh says:

      Revenge… based on distortions, faulty perceptions, and a sickness in the soul. My daughter did the same thing to her boyfriend. Only she exacted revenge on everyone else as well. It seems like the most gifted, talented and outwardly optimistic people are especially susceptible, making it that much harder to understand and accept.

  3. Art says:

    I agree with a lot of the comments here by those who are living in hell but are told to be quiet and accept it as it is common.

    My ex did everything she could to cause me the most pain possible. She cheated on me, lied to friends and family about me, thew me out in the streets, played the victim and used the court system that was supposed to help victims but instead made a victim out of me. I never threatened her put my hands on her or anything but she lied. That is one of the most hurtful things she did. I have always been the protector of those who could not protect themselves. 10 yrs in the Army and 7 combat tour as an infantry officer is proof of that.

    She hit me at my lowest point in my life. Lost a soldier in May, lost my Aunt in July, lost her in August, lost my health in October with cancer, lost my home in November all becom her action. You bet when and not if I take my life she will be called to account for her actions in my last words.

    • Edward.G says:

      Art, I understand where you are coming from and I hope you found your way back from all that has happened in your life. It was not easy reading your story.

      I think the point that many people seem to miss is that their actions do have consequences. We are so quick to say ” no one made someone do that” and while that can be true there are always two sides to the story and yes someone CAN create a situation so hurtful that death is better than life or it may seem that way.

      I believe your ex WAS acting in a way that does not line up with what is socially acceptable. I do not know what part you played if any to her actions but outside of physical and mental abuse I don’t see her actions as being without blame.

      We all have demons we work against every day but it is a different story when we allow those demons to become us. I too am a veteran and have seen the worst traits of man. When we are left to our own devices all kinds of actions are excusable. I believe you have seen it based on your experiences in combat.

      I would never want to lose a brother in arms and I hope you have not taken the final mission. If so, I have the watch until you get back…AMI DE MOUVEMENT!

    • Jenn says:

      Are you ok ?

  4. Bobbara says:

    The problem is that emotional abuse is never punished. These people do all that they can to murder someone without actually shooting the gun. When a person has treated someone so badly that death is better than continuing on with that person, then that person should be blamed in the note at minimum.

    My fiancé, Grant, created our whole relationship on the basis of lies. I lived in his fantasy world for five years. He used up the remaining childbearing years that I had believing his lies. He proposed, named our kids, adopted our cat, told me to wait for him in another state and to adopt another cat, and then coldly dumped me by text abandoning me in another state as he moved on as if our relationship never existed.

    I am left to pick up all of the pieces. He isolated me so that there are few people whom I can even tell about this. No one listens anyway; they just think I’m having a hard time with a “normal” break-up.

    If I can’t get over this, you can bet that I will reveal all in the note. Grant behaved in a criminal manner, but there are still no laws against emotional murder.

  5. Tony says:

    I am very suicidal. I have not always been like this. I once loved life and enjoyed it. Now, due to things I have done and what has been done to me, I relish in the thought of one day gathering the strength to take my life.

    As a child, I was physically and verbally abused by a step-father and a step-mother. The step-father acknowledged what he had done. However, those scars are forever imprinted on my mind. The step-mother refuses to accept responsibility for her actions. I do not anticipate her ever changing so I cut her out of my life. Still, the damage is done.

    I was married for over 20 years. After the first 5, things went downhill and never recovered. I stayed because I wanted it to get better but it never did. I was verbally and emotionally abused by my spouse and they never sought to acknowledge their transgressions. I finally had to end the marriage. It is the most difficult thing I have had to do.

    I am not a saint. I did stupid things as a kid that required punishment. However, taking a belt across my face is unacceptable. I did not spend enough time with my spouse and it caused friction. However, it did not warrant belittling me and telling me how messed up I became. I had to request a divorce. Even though I love the person incredibly, I could not withstand the life any more.

    When I do end my life, I know that some of why is my fault. However, they will carry the lion’s share of the burden. My note will lash out. It will be vitriolic. It is meant to serve two purposes. One is to finally attempt to get their attention that their actions caused this. Two, to ensure other people know what they have done and shine a light on that dark corner of their life. I will forfeit my life to give them but just a taste of what they served me.

    Hiding my note will be impossible. It will be released. It will be broadcast. Friends, family, and total strangers will associate their living with my death. Maybe then they will pay attention to their actions.

    • Inna says:

      Please, take responsibility for your own life regardless. You are not the only one who was abused or had unsuccessful marriage. threatening people with suicide is ridiculous.
      If you could just move on with out ruining other people’s lives by killing urself!
      I was targeted in a suicide note and I try all my best to move on. And my dad is a jobless alcoholic who abused me and my sisters. I’m an immigrant living in canada and try to get settled here for three damn years. My husband is with out job for 4 years. I think it’s ideal situation to kill urself and then blame everyone. But I’m strong,smart and beautiful.
      If you have a job and place to live in-believe me you are not in the worst situation. Forgive who ever hurt you and move on!

      • Tim says:

        Do NOT victim-blame. Those people ruined his life. He has a right to mention their abuse with his last breath.

      • Tara says:

        Inna, good for you for having good self-esteem and perservering. However, also consider advantages you may have, and be thankful. If a suicide note unjustly targeted you, take solace that you have your truth, your voice and your life, which you value.

        But do NOT take it upon yourself to judge a stranger in deep despair, invalidate their feelings and participate in annihilating their voice.

        People on the verge of suicide are usually those with the least agency. Their experiences are likely to be swept under a rug of reframing, their feelings brushed aside, their choices in life and death maligned. If they want to leave a suicide note, their last missive should be respected. It was the last thing they said before the gave up the thing that binds us all, human and non, at the most fundamental level.

        The living should not coopt, coerce or conceal the voices of the dead. Their note may be all lies. It may focus on the negative. It may be delusional and toxic. But those words were the last they chose to say. The price paid for that finality is steeply personal.

  6. Nancy says:

    My sister was mentally ill, angry, threatening, and attempting suicide for 6 decades. I thought it could happen one day, but was very surprised when she savagely killed herself on my birthday with a note left profanely blaming me for her suicide because I befriended her daughter on Facebook. She also had difficult words for her daughter.
    I have sat on her words for 7 years now, waiting for my heart to digest them. Waiting for something to make this heartless, painful, punishment not so like an invisible knife in my heart that I still must work around daily, but no relief comes.
    Suggestions? I’ve only SSDI to work with, but will try.

  7. Catherine says:

    Hello! This article gripped me. I have found nothing like this as of yet. I have been blamed by my husband (in his note) and his family, for his suicide. It is a very crushing situation to be in. I need help and don’t know where to find it. The guilt and anger are unbearable. If you know of a book or a group I can look into I would really appreciate it. Thank you…

    • MARK YOUNG says:

      Loss Of A Loved One To Suicide;
      Stigmatized: The Suicide Survivor’s Journey;
      Bipolar Disorder Support;

  8. Mark Young says:

    truly appreciate the article… first one i have read that focuses on the effects of suicides and the very difficult circumstances that can come from unfinished business, suicide notes and the power that they can generate even further destroying the lives of those left behind… the linked article is a expression of my own experiences with suicide from both sides of the equation… an attempt to help dispel many of the myths, stigma and ignorance about an enigma that can be so destructive and illusive… please share if you feel it may be helpful… blessings, Mark

    • mark says:

      personal article meant to help others connect to some of the realities of suicide and mental health. please share if you see it as helpful… blessings, M

  9. Tanya says:

    Thank you so much for this very accurate description and understanding of being a self blaming and very guilty widow… I was left with a very nasty and hurtful letter I can never defend.. It hurts me every second of every day.. Hopefully tine can heal x

    • Catherine says:


      I feel we are in the same situation. Very shortly after my divorce my husband ended his life. He left me a very hateful suicide note and his family blames me entirely. I am having trouble coping…as I’m sure you are. His suicide was in March 2018, so longer ago than yours. I would imagine we are going through the same stages of shock, grief, legal battles. Lmk how you are doing and if you have found any helpful reads or groups. Our situation is unique but equally painful. Anger, guilt, and raising my kids alone is a lot. But dealing with trying to understand and rebuilding my life adds even more. And the guilt…

      • Jennifer T says:

        I’m in the same situation. Six weeks after I insisted my husband move out due to his alcoholism and erratic behavior, he ended his life, leaving a changed will and a very mean suicide note. The guilt and anger can be unbearable. And I have three kids to raise and a job to go to amidst this pain.
        I haven’t found anyone in a similar situation in the survivors of suicide support group I attend. It’s a lonely grief.

        • A says:

          Hi Jennifer,

          My husband of 30 years took his own life after leaving a spiteful letter on a public forum and a will change. If you need to talk I can empathise with you. The grief guilt hurt anger sadness are all too consuming

  10. Angela He says:

    Oh please. I fucking hate my parents. I want to die because of them. And you’re saying I should not speak out about their awful behavior in a suicide note, where it’ll have the most impact/virality?

    • Lauren says:

      Yes, THIS!

      • Anon says:

        My husband left a spiteful suicide note, blaming me for his death… making sure our children would blame me, too. It’s been a living hell with my children who are cruel, spiteful now. Why won’t they go to therapy? My husband was a community hero in a high profile job, but he was also diagnosed with severe major depression who stopped taking his medication, wouldn’t go to therapy, wouldn’t follow his psychiatrist‘a advise to reduce his workload… fired his psychiatrist because he didn’t want to hear it. Attempted suicide in previous years and would threaten suicide when he didn’t get his way. He was a selfish man, loved his high profile job more than his health or our marriage. To public eye he was funny, kind, hero, but at home he was angry, abusive, controlling, selfish. Due to his suicide in 2018, 1, maybe 2 of our children act just like him.

  11. Nisha says:

    I don’t think leaving a spiteful suicide note necessarily means a person had a thing wrong with them. Sometimes it really is that bad. What are they supposed to lie about why it is they chose to die?

    • Guess Who says:

      Exactly. Why should I have to lie about the cause of my pain or go silently?

    • Anon says:

      The very fact they took their own life shows that they are not thinking clearly. Mental illness …. Mental illness…. They always had choices other than taking their own life. Please research facts before you write your unsubstantiated claims.

  12. Cat says:

    What abuser-loving bullshit. Just because some people survive being beaten doesn’t mean it’s not murder when someone else dies from being beaten. Likewise, the fact that some people survive abuse doesn’t mean you’re blameless when the person you abused doesn’t survive. You’re not, and you deserve to carry that guilt forever.

  13. Olufemi says:

    “Even in the case of a vicious ex-spouse, a sadistic bully, or a mother who may have harmed her adolescent daughter, there is no “murder by suicide,” in my opinion. Legions of others have been hurt in the same way, or worse, without ending their life.”

    Even if I am driving along at 40 mph when the speed limit is 20 mph, I am not to blame if I strike and kill a pedestrian. Plenty of people speed much worse than that all the time- and nobody chooses to walk out in front of them to get killed.

    So no blame for the death, only blame for the speeding lol.

  14. J says:

    What a disgusting load of bullshit. Every narcissistic parent whose child has commited suicide is FULLY RESPONSIBLE for it. But instead you’re like “ohh mental illness did this” and blah blah blah, when those parents ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT MENTAL ILLNESS. And same for every narcissist/psychopath who ruins anyone’s life. And instead you want to pretend the mental illness came out of nowhere and that it was no one’s fault, disrespecting the memory of anyone who has been a victim of these monsters.

    You disgust me.

    • Frank says:

      In many cases the accuser was, as the article points out, I’ll or acting irrationally. However, there are many cases in which such notes are not only justified but should be investigated. You blanket the entire thing with words of comfort for the accused, and are incredibly irresponsible for that. By the same logic any woman raped by her husband who makes the accusation is a whiner and we should comfort the husband. Do you have neither regard nor respect for accountability? Do you not understand the human instinct to survive – something so strong one should always take pause to wonder what kind of anguish must the dead have undergone to have short circuited that instinct? I myself struggle every day to find reason to go through yet another in which my life is on hold as I dangle on the thread of someone’s promises – promises that continually are broken. I am disabled. I cannot survive without at least a bare min of things in constant threat of being taken from me, as if it were a game. My only upside is that person needs my help with a few things. I have cried for help to doctors, friends and written my fingers bloody trying to reason a way that I can survive (I want to live – I just can’t bare the abuse and threats anymore) or at least take my exit without blaming, because everyone says “don’t be a blamer – straighten up man”. But how can I simply vanish knowing that person will get off emotionally Scott free (the person is a narcissist) and will get lots of sympathy for how mean I was by doing this… Seriously!? And they’re delusional enough they’ll be thinking that without any help. Let’s give all the kids gold stars, let’s remove winning or losing from their sports and on and on – it sickens me the culture of zero responsibility we’re engendering, and this is yet one more example. If you slap the dog, you damn well expect to get bit.

    • Olufemi says:

      This entire website is an exercise in covering up and whitewashing. A stark refusal to acknowledge the ugly reality at any cost.

      We really should not expect anything else. I’m sure Stacey is a fine therapist – even if she isn’t a psychiatrist – and she deserves credit for at least talking about these issues openly.

      However, she is also out of her depth. Who is to blame, whether the action was justified or not, and what it means are questions of philosophy, not psychology.

    • Nisha says:

      I agree with the above. I am very sick as a result of parental abuse and they use this to FURTHER SCAPEGOAT. I have been very suicidal the last few years and if I do kill Myself it won’t be THEIR FAULT per se but it will be absolutely, because of them. And they are very well aware of this because I have warned them about what is happening and guess what? whatever i tell them they use to further harass. Unless you know the dynamic, intimately, you may not be aware that this does happen. In these cases the victim is the victim, the one who is dead. Not the perpetrator.

  15. Lili says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I was the victim of a revenge suicide just four weeks ago. It is the most difficult thing I have had to endure in my adult life. At this point I am struggling both mentally and physically each and every day. I hope I get through this…

    • My husband also left a very brief message “for me” which he knew the cops would find first. He killed himself while I was out of town. It made it very clear that his suicide was my fault. The cops even asked me about “the circumstances behind the note.”

      Like the writer above, I hope and pray I’ll survive this. Tonight, I have my doubts. The suicide was horrible enough. The last note has done serious damage.

      • Catherine says:

        I relate with you. I am in a similar situation and am desperate to deal and understand. My husband ended his life very shortly after our divorce in march 2018. The guilt is consuming me. If you are willing to talk or direct me to some resources I would appreciate it. Thank you!

        • Lili says:

          Hi Catherine. I am the original poster on this thread (Lili). It has now been six years and I am so much better. I was diagnosed with PTSD approximately 3 months after the event and I was in a very bad way. It took me a good four years to get to the point where I could function relatively normally again. I felt like my entire life had been ripped away from me. Two years on from those four and I am as close to the person I was before, as I’ll get. I still have PTSD and my world has become a lot smaller than it was prior to that day..however, I am doing pretty well and I’m happy. I no longer hold onto any guilt and realise that while what was done to me was cruel, I am stronger than the punishment he tried to sentence me with..I hope you are doing much better too. Sending love.

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

          Lili, it’s very kind of you to update us about how you’re doing. So often, readers of this site never get to hear how people are doing after they’ve moved through their trauma or other crisis. It sounds like you have experienced growth and healing, though of course pain remains. It reminds me of an analogy I once read about trauma that I like: trauma is like a big rock that’s blocking the path of tree roots. The roots must grow around and over and under the rock, integrating the it into their life. Perhaps that’s not as hopeful as it could be, but life goes on, and it’s good your roots — and your tree — continue to grow. You are bigger than what happened to you. Thank you for sharing here and, in doing so, giving others hope.

  16. aleia says:

    No , no one is responsible for anyone ending their life. I agree. I am here to tell you that although my suicide note was kind, thoughtful, and simply asked not to be allowed to live if I ended up brain damaged, I was abused most of my life by paren’ts who simply were emotionally incapable of raising children. I was 23 when I chose to do that. I did in fact, die. I am 57 today. I never chose to do that again, although all the mental health professionals at the time insisted I would , if I were not sent away for a long time. My sister insisted that I come home, and be allowed to recover in my own time. I did, i sought help from therapists who finally knew what they were doing. I am the mother of a wonderful son today. I ended up in a profession that allowed me to help thousands of people over the years, and tomorrow, on my radio show for the first time, I will discuss the stigma, shame, and misconceptions of sucidies. No, of course, a spiteful letter left cannot be taken as fact 100 percent. I am however, weary of hearing about suicide’s as selfish, hurtful, awful people. And, survivor’s are not those who are left behind. They are those who have surivived an attempt. There should be another name for the families and loved ones left behind. My point is this: very healthy famililal relationships do not induce spiteful letters left behind Suicidal people , do not want to place a burden on anyone else. That is why they do what they do. Selfish people DO NOT commit suicide. They are usually the ones who are dumping their feelings on everyone else.
    . I understand the guilt, I understand no one makes anyone do anything, but I also understand the indifference, bullying, negating, abusive behavior toward someone who is considering sucide while they were alive. My father , in hearing I was suicidal , said ” so She’ll kill herself, and we’ll all move on “. Today, I understand exactly what he meant. He meant, enough !!! we can’t allow our lives to be ruled by this child. She either will or won’t. I get that now. At the time, all I heard was, ” my father doesn’t care if I live or die”. Does he think today, 30 years on, that he had anything to do with my choice? of course not. He thinks he was a wonderful father. His words. I could tell you stories that would make your hair stand on end about how good a father he was. It’s just time people “get” that young people don’t want to kill themselves for “no” reason. No matter what else was going on in their lives, ie drugs, bullying from peers, etc…. family foundation is and was the most important factor . Unfortunately, Im sorry. Its true.

    • Nisha says:

      What a horrible thing for your father to say. period.

    • mark young says:

      thank you for your frank and, for me, well said perspective… the enigma of suicide is one that most likely we will never really find a solution or resolution… blessings, M

  17. Anonymous says:

    While your article looks closely into the feelings gripped in the people lefr by suicide of a closed one. It is still a very selfish look into the whole big picture. Please remember that it takes every cell in your body to end your life. Ending your Life is in no way a selfish act. Probing into a suicide and finding the why is a selfish act. People who feel they are responsible for someone’s death and feel hurt and dont see why are selfish. It takes a lot of pain and suffering to realize that Life is just not worth it. There is no such thing as survivors of suicide of loved ones. It is all just a selfish little group of people who want to feel better about themselves

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      “Anonymous,” why so much negative judgment toward people who desperately – and legitimately – hurt because someone they love died by suicide? The suicidal person’s suffering does not negate the suffering of those left behind. All suffer.

      And the search for “why” is a natural, very human search, even if the answer is ever elusive. I fail to see how it is selfish to want to know why a person hurt so much that death seemed the most viable solution.

      I agree with you that suicide is not a selfish act. It is an act born of many things, usually a profound need to escape intense feelings of hopelessness and emotional pain. I am very curious about what in the article led you to view it as condemning suicide as selfish, because that was certainly not my intent.

      • Lisa says:

        I get that the survivors are how you make money, but many of them are looking to be absolved of others perceiving them as guilty.
        “Yes you sexually molested your child but it did not cause them to put the bullet in their head.”- says the social worker being paid to pacify the “victim” of suicide..the survivor. SMH in disgust.

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


          Interestingly, I’ve never had a conversation that remotely approximates the one you’ve presented, and I know nobody who has. I have, however, had a great many conversations with people (clients, colleagues, friends) who blame themselves for things that were either outside of their control or were everyday actions that only in hindsight could be identified as missed opportunities to help. This applies not only to a loved one’s suicide but other things, too. One of the many ironies of life is that the people who most need to look at their actions often don’t, while those who least deserve to blame themselves do so the most.

    • aleia says:

      thank You anon. Tomorrow on my radio show, I am finally going to talk about how much courage it takes in fact, to make the decision to end a life. I am sick and weary of hearing about “survivor’s” , loved ones left by a suicide as ” survivors” . They are not. They are people who are left to deal with their feelings, guilty, ambivilant, sad etc…. Most often they will do anything to exonerate themselves from having had anything to do with it. Frankly, no husband, wife, friend or group of people like peers, can make anyone commit suicide, but the people who raised us, mother father, siblings etc… have such a strong influence on what happened and why, that they need to be dealt with. No, no one is responsible. That’s fair. So be fair, and stop trying to insist anyone who attemps commits suicide, and lives or not, is selfish, self centered, spiteful and cruel.

    • Sandra brown says:

      I can’t believe you could say something so cruel about people family’s. partner’s mother’s sisters brothers father’s ..the list goes on all of us trying to come to terms with a massive loss ?!!!grieving .crying feeling lost and heartbroken and you have the cruel hide to say were just a crappy little group trying to feel better about ourselves

    • Sandra brown says:

      You discust me

  18. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for providing this website. My Mother recently committed suicide in front of me and I’ve been struggling with raw emotions of guilt, shame, loss, anger and confusion. Your writings bring to light the illogical components associated with an act of desperation and are helping me come to terms with it all.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      “Anonymous,” what a horrific trauma you have endured. Your mother’s suicide by itself is traumatic. To have witnessed it – how painful!

      I am glad the post was helpful to you. Also, there are many good resources out there for suicide loss survivors. You can find info on quite a few in the “Resources” section of this site.

      I am wishing for you peace and healing!

  19. Anonymous says:

    I do not feel the person is disturbed just because they have so many negative feelings going through their heads 24/7. You really can’t read a book and fully understand what goes on in their minds. I’ve been there many times, you feel hatred, despair, useless to everyone.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      “Anonymous,” those are good points. I think in many cases where people leave a spiteful suicide note, it is out of character for that person. It is one moment in time frozen amid all the other fluid moments.

      But…if having so many negatives going through one’s head 24/7, so much hatred, despair, and feelings of uselessness, does not qualify as “disturbed,” then what does? Being emotionally disturbed does not have to mean wanting to go on a mass shooting. There are degrees of disturbance, of despair, of hopelessness. Each hurts terribly, and each can result in venomous anger that, once the disturbance settles, also settles with it.

      I don’t mean to say that you are or were emotionally disturbed, but I do want to help break down the stigma of what disturbed means. It’s not a statement about a person’s character or personality – rather, it is a statement about their suffering and torment.

      My best wishes to you on your journey!

      • Bobbara says:

        That’s not “disturbed”; that’s the aftermath of abuse. If someone hit you once and you hide from that person the next day but leave a note that says “do not hit me again”, does that mean that you are “disturbed”?

    • I am 2 years late on this but I thought I should add my 2 cents says:


      I disagree. By the same logic, I could say it’s ok for me to call disabled persons “retarded” because it is a statement about their intellectual abilities and it’s not meant to be insulting. I could say it’s ok for me to call disabled persons “lame” because it’s a statement about their physical limitations and it’s not meant in a derogatory way; it’s another way of saying “handicapped”.

      Do you see the problem with this? These words have histories of being used as insults and are commonly used in degrading manners; so even if you are using the word in a non derogatory way, it can still be insulting.
      When I hear the word “disturbed” I think of someone who is wacko. That is honestly the connotation I get behind the word, and that is the image that is pulled up in my brain. So why associate the word wacko with someone who is suffering from a mental health disorder? The last thing a person who is struggling at a low point like that in their lives when the thing they need the most is love and support is being called a word like “disturbed” to describe their mental state. It’s honestly degrading and insulting and it makes a person feel bad for feeling the way they do. Who would want to be called disturbed?

      I feel it adds to the stigma of mental health when words like “insane” “crazy” and “disturbed” are used to describe someone who is suffering from a mental health disorder. It alienates the person from others and puts them in a box marked “weird”.
      Not to mention how hurtful it is to be called words like that and be told that it is totally justified to be called such words because no “normal” person would be acting the way you are (i.e. the symptoms you have when you suffer from a mental health disorder) and only “crazy” or “disturbed” people would be in the state you are.

      Sorry if I came off a bit strong on this or even angry; this topic just means a lot to me because I have had first hand experience being called “crazy” and things like “she has issues” when I suffered from a mental health disorder and I know how extremely hurtful and painful it is.
      I feel there are plenty of better words (and ones without histories of being used as insults on the daily) to use to describe the state of a person suffering from a mental health disorder.

  20. Ms M Figes says:

    I could blame the Therapist who was supposed to be understanding in my problems like my GP said she would be however she wasn’t but then that lady would just make an excuse and say the signs were not there .

    • Anon says:

      I just wanna say ppl are not born disturbed..in many cases its abuse by the ppl around them that makes them so

      • Anon says:

        Are you qualified to make such a statement? Do you have a professional degree and experiences in the field with hundreds? Please be careful because your ignorance is hurtful to others.

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