Responses to suicide

A recent comment I came across said : Just a quick search on Twitter will show how many people have little sympathy for those who commit suicide.

I have run many workshops on suicide over the years and one thing I often do at the beginning is ask people – Have you known someone who has completed a suicide or made an attempt.

What is your response? What did you think and feel?

I have collated the various responses over the various workshops and these are some:

Anger, the suicidal person is seen as selfish for hurting those left behind. (Critical Parent or hurt Adapted Child)

Cowardly, suicide is viewed as an act of cowardice. (Critical Parent)

The person has a feeling response of sadness and despondency at the waste of a human life. (Sad Adapted Child)

Some have a contemplative response, by asking the question, why? (Adult)

The philosophical response centres around the belief that everyone has the right to choose how and when to die. (Adult)

Frightening, some find it scary, as the person seemed so happy. (Scared Adapted Child)

Some see suicide as a courageous act. (Free Child or Adult)

Some have a sense of guilt and responsibility that they should have done more. (Self directed Critical Parent and Adapted Child)

Some experience a sense of relief at the suicide. (Free Child)

sui 2

My experience with those who are close to a suicidal person, one finds the feeling and thinking responses to be wide and varied. By no means are they all negative as one might logically expect.


How a person responds is, of course, dependent on those ego states which they find easiest to access as indicated on the list. Of course these will also tend be the person’s racket feeling or racket ego state.

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