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Aibu to think if my mother had really wanted to kill herself she wouldn't have told us? (Sensitive topic)

(24 Posts)
toastforbreakfastagain Tue 10-Oct-17 11:11:23

I probably am I mean it was years ago and I logically know I should be over it now! She has been dead 15 years (not through suicide I should add!)

My whole childhood and teenage years until my mother died when I was 16 she spent telling us that she would kill herself and that we were better off without her. I spent most of my early teenage years coming home from school wondering what I would find when I opened the front door.

She struggled so badly with depression and anxiety and my heart really breaks for her thinking about how she must have felt.

The last few years I have gone down the same route - and at the worst times I considered
it would be better not to be here at all.
However I would never and have never spoken those thoughts out loud for two reasons 1. I don’t want people to worry about me! And 2. If I had decided to do it telling people would have only led to them intervening.

But now I feel like she was never going to harm herself was she!?

Aibu to feel like if she had been serious she would not have talked about it to anyone and everyone?

I’m ho trying to say she SHOULDNT have at all just that maybe my childhood was spent in a massive panic for no reason..

SleepingStandingUp Tue 10-Oct-17 11:14:47

I'm so sorry OP. That sounds like an awfully hard way to grow up and the repercussions are obviously still ringing in your life.
Its impossible to know of she was being manipulative or controlling, or whether she genuinely felt she was always on the cusp of doing something and told people so she wouldn't or somewhere inbetween.

Are you receiving some sort of support or counseling?

Phosphorus Tue 10-Oct-17 11:23:54

It's impossible to say.

I've known three people die through suicide. In the case if two, they'd never uttered a word about even being depressed/struggling beforehand. Ever. It was completely out of the blue. They made up their minds and carried it out efficiently, there was no way anyone could have done anything.

The third one was a person who was very talky about their intentions. They made lots of dramatic, halfhearted attempts, and when they did die, everyone assumed they'd intended to be rescued.

I really think people had switched off in that case. People were not shocked, just exasperated, and actually felt very manipulated.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 10-Oct-17 11:27:59

YABU, sorry. It is not true that all people who talk about suicide don't really mean it, or that their suicide attempt will just be a cry for help.

I am sorry though, it must have been a really shitty way for you to grow up.

If you are having suicidal thoughts make sure you do talk to someone, GP or Samaritans maybe. You don't need to go through things in your own, even if you are uncomfortable talking tomfriends and family.


KityGlitr Tue 10-Oct-17 11:31:09

Your poor mum, and poor you. There's no blanket rule for people warning others about a suicide attempt. Some people make it clear they're going to do it then do it, some say they will but back out in the end due to fear or something going wrong, some say they will as they truly believe they are going to and others say they are going to with no plan or desire to ever act on it. It's a complex topic and none of us will ever know whether your mum was saying it because she intended to or not.

Birdsgottafly Tue 10-Oct-17 11:32:01

No-one can say.

Either way, her behaviour was a manifestation of her Mental State.

A young man in the next town to me has just hung himself. He had been threatening to kill himself and was sectioned a week before.

We don't know if my Neice killed herself or got mixed with her medication, but she had threatened it previously.

Sometimes saying it outload can shock a person out of it.

My DD is a MH Manager and her experience has been a mix of those who do and don't threaten it.

We can't urge people to speak out and then dismiss them when they do.

mirime Tue 10-Oct-17 11:34:47

I've done Mental Health First Aid training and it's a myth that talking about suicide means someone won't do it.

I also knew someone who talked about it a lot and then did it - was definitely meant as he'd researched it on his laptop and picked a method and time and place that meant he wouldn't be found until after he'd died.

Gumbo Tue 10-Oct-17 11:35:40

My DF behaved very similarly to that when I was a child; he'd often tell me to say goodbye before I went to school as I'd never see him alive again - he even liked to tell me how he was going to do it and carried the relevant equipment around in his car boot!hmm

After years of getting upset about it (and like you, expecting to find that he was dead for much of my childhood) by the time I was in my teens I hardened myself to it and refused to pander/acknowledge it.

It's a lot of pressure to put on a child - and no, your mother shouldn't have been telling you that, she should have sought help from the GP etc (as should have my father). It's a form of emotional abuse.

KinkyAfro Tue 10-Oct-17 11:37:38

My dad committed suicide a couple of years ago, we will never know why. I'm so glad he didn't ever threaten it, I couldn't live with wondering when and how

guilty100 Tue 10-Oct-17 11:46:33

I think it's impossible to say how serious she was.

But serious or not, it was not OK for her to inflict that level of worry on you as a child.

Illness makes these things understandable, but it doesn't excuse them or make them OK. At best, it allows us to be compassionate to the fault.

I am sorry to hear you are feeling bad. Please do try every avenue you can to get help. Things can and do get better.

TatianaLarina Tue 10-Oct-17 11:49:09

I’m sorry you had to experience that.

But no, I don’t think that’s true OP. Some people talk about it in advance and some don’t.

Either way she may well have been verbalising a genuine suicidal ideation.

She shouldn’t have told you, but I guess it was part of her mental illness. Perhaps saying it out loud, however wrong and destructive, was part of her coping mechanism.

Mummyoflittledragon Tue 10-Oct-17 11:52:52

You should never have had to go through this. I’m sorry you did. And gumbo too.

Tbh my initial thought on reading your op is ‘what a bitch’. You were the child, you needed protecting. I feel deeply sorry for you, as a child suffering in silence. To me, this is the act of a narcissist as you are living in a state of constant fear and permanently in fight or flight.

It is sad for your mother that she wasn’t able to be a better mother. But I struggle to feel real pity for someone, who chose not to get help and put so much pressure on her child.

Scaredparent Tue 10-Oct-17 11:55:47

I had the same problem the weekly visit to the dr was terminal news, would pretend to be dead in a room somewhere, talk about ending it or asking us to do it.

I found that I was ok with life until I had my child then it started to dawn on me what a messed up childhood had, there was other things that went on you knew was wrong but it was all the wierd headf**k stuff as well they done.

I’m not over there passing I don’t think I ever will be as I didn’t have the parents that my child has in me or my ex (even though there a nuisance there still a great parent)

So you not being mean you are just processing things differently

becotide Tue 10-Oct-17 12:09:03

Bluntly, that is a shitty way to treat a child and your mother needs a slap.

giddyasakipper Tue 10-Oct-17 12:09:15

My mum suffered from several mental health issues including bi-polar disorder and alcohol addiction during my childhood. I came home from school one day and she told me she had taken an overdose - it was a cry for help. Thankfully she got the help she needed and we managed to build a relationship once I moved out as a young adult.

I’m sorry you went through that op - it’s so hard as a child to deal with. Maybe talking to someone about it might help reconcile some of your feelings and memories?

toastforbreakfastagain Tue 10-Oct-17 12:42:07

Thanks everyone 🙂 I haven’t really talked to anyone about it because she died so long ago - of a heart attack nothing to do with suicide.

I just never really considered it as a “thing” until I started having those thoughts myself and realised how much her words were still with me!.

I don’t feel bad feeling of any kind towards her really she was a lovely mother - the only negative memories I have really are of this one thing. I just don’t think she realised how much it would affect her children even decade later.

Ellendegeneres Tue 10-Oct-17 13:18:04

Baring myself a bit here, but here goes.

From the age of 12/13 I've not seen the point in my life. Under the care of mh services. I must say, it was an incredibly traumatic childhood and didn't get much better until mid twenties. So anyway, aged 16 or so, I took my first overdose. Taken to hospital, they made out I was a drama queen and didn't help me at all. I won't go into detail, but several other episodes later, I got to early 20s and spent months alone, taking overdose after overdose, each time more fucked off when I woke up alive still. Saw it as a failing on my part, just another thing I couldn't do right.
I think looking back, I needed answers to stuff I'll never get answers to. It was a mess.
I was finally diagnosed bipolar affective disorder a year ago, and it helped make sense of things a bit.

Last time I was admitted to hospital was this year. I am a very good parent, but struggle intensely when my mood drops. I've tried asking for help, I don't want my kids growing up not having had a good childhood, messed up by my issues and repeating the cycle. The mh services though, while improved from 15yrs ago, are still woefully inadequate in my area.

I started writing this thinking I was one of the people who keeps saying they'll do it, and to a degree I guess I am. But not to people who know me, the professionals who are supposed to help. I'm terrified of the next time I get so low that I'll succeed and leave my kids without a mum. I don't want to scare my kids with my demons like your mum did you I guess op. I'm sorry she did that

ToastyFingers Tue 10-Oct-17 14:31:29

my mum did this. I doubt very much she'd have gone through with it, she just liked to mess with me and bring all the attention back to her. I mostly ignore this sort of behaviour from her now.

londonrach Tue 10-Oct-17 14:47:56

Im sorry op. Sounds like you didnt have the best childhood. I doubt she would have carried it out. The two people i know were attempted suicide neither mentioned it before the attempt ever. One was sadly successful. the other wasnt but only due to a sudden change of plan by his teenage son to come home that day at lunchtime rather than stay at school. After treatment his father says he doesnt remember why he did it (he lost his job due to a medical situation). I know the family carefully watch him now but hes not mentioned it again.

toastforbreakfastagain Tue 10-Oct-17 18:03:05

Ellen please don’t worry - you seek help from the right people and that makes a huge difference. flowers

IvorHughJars Tue 10-Oct-17 18:10:18

How sad for you, I'm very sorry that you grew up in that situation and that you've experienced these feelings yourself.

In my own experience I had a mil that threatened suicide constantly and self-harmed. She made several attempts in places she'd be quickly found and was saved several times. She did kill herself in the end; but, again, she did it in a relatively public place and perhaps believed she wasn't at serious risk of death because she'd be found quicky.

I hope that things get better for you.

Scribblegirl Tue 10-Oct-17 18:18:26

I was talking to my counsellor about this yesterday. I think that, for some people, a suicide attempt or threat can be somewhere in the middle of a genuine desire to die and 'attention seeking/cry for help'. I think that sometimes people are just flailing around without a clue how to make it stop hurting and they just want to be rescued, by any means possible. It makes me think of 'not waving but drowning' - often it's not one extreme or the other, but in their panic and desperate need to have someone notice and acknowledge the pain they are in, it can look like manipulation or attention seeking.

Obviously we can't know what the situation was with your mum. I'm so sorry you had to go through that as a child and yes, despite all the above there is a part of me that feels that burdening a child with all that is abhorrent and wicked.

I think OP, as wiser PPs than me have said, the important thing is not what her motivation was but the fact that it made you feel so upset, and that is a completely valid emotional response to something horribly upsetting.

It's so hard when you want answers, I know, but sometimes the only answer is to be kind to yourself and the people you love and look forward. I'm sorry if that sounds cliche or unhelpful sadflowers

BlackPepperCrab Tue 10-Oct-17 18:21:00

I really respectfully disagree with PP saying that she should've chosen to get help. There's a lot of nuances to something like this. Suicide is very rarely a "one event" thing. Sometimes it's a combination of a few major blows, sometimes it's the culmination of decades of the little things, sometimes it's perhaps even nothing at all.

I often see "get help" being reiterated in such threads WRT these issues and no doubt it is extremely good advice. The thing though is, people who are on the edge don't often see that as something within the realm of possibility. Shame could be one, for instance. Or maybe something like feeling as if they're so trapped in their despondency that they can never be "saved" - that any sort of help would merely be a waste of time and/or money.

Telling her children wasn't the best choice, yes. But who really knows what's going through her frame of mind at the time? She could be using her children as a clutch in times of desperation. She could be using the verbalisation of it to try and "force" herself to finalise what she's been thinking. Any number of possibilities, and speculating from an outside point of view is both futile and incredibly frustration because it falls into the category of "things you'll never know".

I'm just saying, of course this isn't something that should be condoned, but similarly, it shouldn't be something that we should condemn someone for either.

giddyasakipper Tue 10-Oct-17 18:48:00

Scribblegirl I think you summed that up beautifully and accurately. Thank-you for putting into words what I couldn’t!

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