Releasing the past in order to find myself

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


This post is a hard one to write.  It is very, very personal to me and very painful.  It may cover things I've already written about in my blog before, but I needed to approach the topic from a different angle.

Suicide has touched my life more times that I'd like.  There's been a couple of friends, a couple of acquaintances   Recently, friends of friends.  Everyone always wonders, what went wrong?  I always find it disheartening when people say "Well, they didn't seem like the type to commit suicide!  They always seemed to happy."  Seemed, people.  No one usually walks around looking like a suicidal person.  It's not as easy to spot as you might think.

The first time suicide touched my life was during my parents' divorce.  I was around 13 at the time.  I say around because so much of this incident is spotty to me.  Washed in shades of black and loss of memory.  I had been sleeping.  My bedroom door opened and a police officer walked in with a flashlight.  I was frozen, stunned, and terrified.  He left the light off but began looking around my room, in the closet, around my dresser.  He asked me if my dad was in the house.   I told him no.  I hadn't seen my dad.  My dad had moved out.  The cop left.  He shut the door and I was left in the dark.  I didn't move, I couldn't move.  No one came for me.  My mother didn't come in to check on me.  I was left alone in the dark.

I don't remember how I learned what had happened.  I know my mother didn't offer up the information.  I know I had to ask.  She told me that my dad had showed up late at night drunk.  He had grabbed a gun from his bedside table.  He had had it in his mouth and was threatening to shoot.  My little sister had heard the screaming and went downstairs.  Why hadn't I heard the screaming?  I'm not a heavy sleeper.  I can only assume that I had heard, but blocked it out.  Regardless, my sister went down and saw my dad.  My mother was screaming at my dad and screaming at my sister to call 911.  From what I can gather, it was terrifying for them both.  My dad must have finally come to his senses.  He put down the gun and had left when he knew the police where on their way.

My mother hadn't seemed terribly shaken up when she told me what had happened.  I had asked where my dad was now.  She said she didn't know.  This was the next morning and I can remember feeling terrified for him.  My mother got my sister a couple of therapy sessions.  Obviously, not enough.

I got no therapy.  I don't even remember being asked if I was OK.  I look back now and wonder how a mother, knowing that a police officer was going to walk into your daughter's room and wake her up, didn't go up with the cop.  Why she didn't come and check on me.  I wonder why she never talked about it again to me.

My sister has tried to commit suicide more times than I can count.  On top of that, she engages in such reckless behavior that I can only image is meant to hurt herself.  Between the ages of 16 and her mid twenties, I lived in a constant state of knowing that it was a distinct possibility.   We were all tethered to my sister's suicide attempts.  My mother, in particular, held herself hostage to it.  She enabled and babied my sister (more than she already had) to compensate for my sister's fragile ego.   My sister went to the psych ward once.  Again, too little therapy was offered and nothing changed.  I lived in a state of hyper vigilance  always expecting that late night phone call to be the one telling me she'd followed through.  Often times, it was her, drunk, and I talked her off the ledge.  Several years back, she seemed to stop.  But it's always there.  Even with my sister's latest troubles, that was one of my mother's first concerns.  That this might just be the thing that drives my sister over the edge.

When I was 16, I felt hopeless and lost.  I remember being hysterical and in my car.  I remember feeling so upset that I was, literally, looking for that cliff to drive off.  I couldn't take it anymore.  I couldn't deal with the pain.  I felt I had no where to go.  My sister talked me out of it.

In my early twenties, I again got serious about killing myself.  I remember feeling that I was such a worthless human being.  I had tried, repeatedly, and desperately to get someone to love me and I was being rejected again.  I was being rejected by a boyfriend but the hurt of 1000 rejections was piled on that one.  I remember feeling so much pain that I could not move past it.  Stress and loneliness and exhaustion were constant companions for me.   The boyfriend talked me out of it.

Earlier this year, I sat with a gun in my hand.  Ironically, I just realized, the same gun my father had planned to use.  I was at the end.   I sat battling myself.  I just was so tired of the push.  The push from all those around me who blamed me for their problems.  The push of people who implied that, if not for me, things would be perfect.  I felt completely hopeless.  I felt I had tried and tried and tried to make things work but that nothing I did changed things.  I was giving in to the belief of other's around me that I was the problem . That I was harming my kids, that I was ruining my marriage, that I was destroying my extended families.  I knew in my heart that it wasn't but I was battling for my life.  I could not rationalize how, if everyone around me felt I was such a horrible person, that I wasn't that person.   In my deluded mind at that moment, I felt I would be doing them a service.  I felt that if I could just get out of the way, then things would be better for my family, my husband, my kids.  Sure, they might be upset for awhile,  but I truly felt I was doing them more harm than good by being here.  I can not describe accurately what it felt like to sit there in that moment, trying to sort through the mess that was me, trying to figure out what the right thing was.

I've come a long way from that night.  I am still battling with the voices that want to label, and blame, and shame me.  But I'm not going to sit with a gun in my hand anymore.  I know that I did not want to die.  Ironically, I'm terrified of death, of being gone, of not existing.  But I've cleared my head enough to know that I would've destroyed my children.  That they would never have understood.   I don't choose to live  today for my kids.  Although they deserve their mother, and do not deserve to live with the legacy of my pain, it is also not their obligation to give my life meaning and purpose.  I choose to live today because I'm finally coming to believe that I have a right to exist, just as much as anyone else.  Fuck all of you who've told me differently.

**Reader's reactions to this post have prompted another post.  Please be so kind to also read the second post.  Choosing Life


  1. {{{{{{Jessie}}}}}}

    Thank you for sharing this.

  2. This is incredibly painful to read and I'm so sorry that you've ever felt this low, that you're grief has ever pushed you to your limits the way you've described. And to know that it was only the beginning of the year when you most recently thought about suicide is just so awful. I think of you, my friend, my dear, bright, strong friend and I have trouble imagining you in that place.

    God, Jessie, I'm so sorry. But I'm also proud of you. So proud. You are so strong.

    1. Thank you. I struggle to think of me in this place too. It hurts and I'm embarrassed that I've been so weak, so broken, so fragile.
      This moment was one of the last breaking points before I started this blog. It was one of the last moments I have felt so alone and hopeless. You, dear friend, and others like you have lifted me up in ways you'll never know. I will always be thankful to you and the ACoN bloggers for what you've given me.

  3. Jessie, you are amazing. Wonderful, honest, and brave. Thank you for sharing this.

    Probably most of us who read these blogs can relate to what you've written here. I've been right where you describe, wanting to die for all the reasons you had, and yet also afraid and not wanting to die. I, too, have had suicide come so close, too close, to my life. (And shame on your mother for not going with the police officer to your room where you were sleeping! What the hell was she thinking?)

    Oh, but I LOVE the end of this post:

    "I choose to live today because I'm finally coming to believe that I have a right to exist, just as much as anyone else. Fuck all of you who've told me differently."

    AMEN. Maybe we should have something like that printed up on a t-shirt: "I have As Much Right To Exist As Anyone. Fuck All Of You Who've Told Me Differently!"

    That would make a fashion statement, wouldn't it? Ha.

    ((((BIG HUG FOR JESSIE))))

    1. Thanks Charity. I actually thought of you a lot when writing this post. I have lots of feelings that revolve around "embarrassment" when it comes to this post. But I really felt I needed to speak the truth, kind of lay it on the table. I really, really needed to speak about this and thinking about all of the things you've shared that you've been afraid to share gave me courage. Thanks Charity.

  4. You are not alone in these type of feelings. I am glad you caught the vision that you are an amazing woman and living is worth the struggle. I understand needing to find a reason to live and knowing that needs to be within yourself. I am cheering you on. It is a dark place and struggling out is a huge task. You are doing that.

  5. "I felt I would be doing them a service. I felt that if I could just get out of the way, then things would be better for my family, my husband, my kids." Surely this is got to be the effect that narcs have on us because last time I went to see my parents that's exactly how I felt. I had these really strong feelings that I was such a problem for everyone and that everything would be better if I was dead. It was so strange because I could tell these thoughts weren't mine but something that I was picking up from my FOO. Like they don't tell you that their not happy with you but it must be readable in their facial expressions and body language and your brain picks it up and deciphers it as suicidal thoughts that aren't really suicidal because they never happen when we are left alone to get on with our life. I think that's the real danger of "subtle" narcissists, that they drive people to mental illness or suicide while not leaving any trail pointing to them at all. So people looking from the outside will just say: oh, that's a shame, they must have been messed up. When in reality we're being attacked emotionally. Made me think of that horrid letter Upsi got, that is along the same lines: since there was no physical abuse you're parents must have been ok. Ugh! Well, like you said, we have a right to exist just like everyone else.

    1. Thanks Kara, and you have stated beautifully what I was trying to say. There is some movie or scene in theater that I've seen where the evil person hands someone a gun and gets them to pull the trigger on themselves as the evil person whispers little things in the person's ear. Earlier in my life, I was just so desperate and scared that I didn't know where else to turn. But this last time was so different. It was THEIR thoughts in my head telling me over and over that I was the root cause of everything evil in their lives. And I owed them to get myself out of the way. It is crazy making at it's best.

    2. How amazing! I was also thinking of an evil person whispering in someone's ear. I have a vague image of a Hichtcock black and white film in my head but I can't remember either.

  6. I have felt so many times that being dead would be such a relief. I didn't want to kill myself, but if I just ceased to exist it would feel so good. That there was no reason for me to exist anyway. Thoughts of my kid saved ME too.

    You're RIGHT. You DO have a right to exist. We all do. I'm so glad you have arrived at the beginnings of peace.

  7. I know how you feel Gladys. I used to think if there was a button I could press and just disappear I wouldn't think twice about pressing it.
    I don't know why these freaks had kids.
    I knew I wouldn't be up to the task and had it dealt with. Why couldn't they?

  8. Oh Jessie,

    I am so sorry to hear of your pain (such BIG pain). It's brave of you to share it, and it's a REALLY GOOD THING to do so, too. You take away it's power by exposing it to daylight!

    I've been there too. I'm always sure that my DH and those I care for would be better off without me. My DH has saved my life insisting that it would NOT be better for him. Because I've lost a friend to suicide, I know how it's true - I miss my friend, and we weren't even that close! How much more would I miss the person I married?

    The thing is, it's IMPOSSIBLE to see this when you're in that pit of despair. Which is why you've gotta get rid of that gun. Seriously. It caused you pain when you were little, it causes you pain now. The gun should be ceremoniously dropped into the deepest body of water you can find (just make sure it's not loaded when you drop it!). Deep-six it; let it disappear. It would be so symbolic to sink the thing that hurt you before and which tempts you now. (Just a suggestion). ;-)

    Very proud of you for living for yourself. YOU'RE RIGHT YOU'VE GOT A RIGHT TO EXIST! Heck, you matter TO ME! And I hardly know you! Imagine how much you matter to everyone else, whether they realise it or not!

    Oh my dear friend, you matter so very much. Your life has had such terrible pain in it, and therefore you have knowledge and wisdom and character that other people don't have - you can help so many others!

    I hope you are giving yourself every opportunity to heal, Jessie. :-) That you've invested in a very good counsellor or psychologist who HELPS (not hinders), that you treat yourself to massages and spa days, that you give yourself allowances to make mistakes (we ALL make mistakes! So do the people you love! How come you're not allowed to? :-) You are so hard on yourself, and you don't need to be! You're a fantastic person that doesn't need to take a beating from herself!).

    The religious view is one of the devil whispering lies in your ears. Whether or not your ascribe to that or wish to personify the negative thoughts, they are LIES, HATEFUL LIES, DESTRUCTIVE LIES.

    And I hear them too. And at least once a month, more often 2-3 times a month, I completely buckle under their words and I have a full-fledged break down. And thankfully my DH knows this and won't leave me alone if I've slid into the pit. I'd be sitting with that gun too, if I had one.

    Kill the gun. Kill it today, when you can. Symbolically KILL the voices that are trying to kill you! Drown 'em! Take them out of existence! They hurt you, they hurt me, they hurt Gladys, they hurt q, they hurt Ruth.... they hurt us ALL! :-(

    I say get rid of the gun that's been following you around your whole life. It's you or it - I don't want that pile of metal to win over a precious human life in the form of Jessie - a valued member of the "ACoN" group. We need you on our side, so we can travel the road to healing together. :-)

    (someone you routinely help!)

    1. Thanks QG, That's a very good suggestion.

      And to reassure you. This person who felt like suicide is light years away from who I am today. That feeling was the finally straw that made me realize I really needed to figure it all out. It was back in April. I hardly recognize the person who would feel that way. It was before I knew about NPD, it was before I started blogging, it was before I started healing. It was my ROCK BOTTOM. I love my kids more than life itself, and I knew in my head that removing their mother would've been selfish and horrifying for them. But somewhere I kept hearing these messages that I was getting in the way, that I was causing them pain by struggling with all of my family. And I kept blaming myself over and over for those struggles. Because, after all, I was the common denominator. I just could NOT figure out what I had done wrong except want to be myself. And the feelings of despair associated with having to choose between being myself or getting along was such a gigantic weight.
      I finally am able to realize, that although I contribute to the problem, it is NOT me in many of the situations. I quit blaming myself. I'm still WAY too hard on myself, but I'm working on that.

      Thanks for your sweet, kind, and caring thoughts. It means a lot to me.