Fatal Attachments: The Instigation to Suicide

Fatal Attachments: The Instigation to Suicide

Fatal Attachments: The Instigation to Suicide

Fatal Attachments: The Instigation to Suicide

Excerpt

Two events in life led me to study suicide. One was the shock I suffered when Tommy, a five-year-old boy whom I had seen for a psychological evaluation, deliberately killed himself. The other was the experience of seeing my own husband’s turmoil as he occasionally struggled against suicidal impulses. Through these events I was drawn to the idea that at times someone so deeply wishes the death of another person that that other person would kill himself or herself. Tommy’s father had declared that he wished Tommy were dead; my husband’s father punished him as a toddler by holding him outside a second-story window, threatening to drop him to his death. Although my husband’s childhood story is much like Tommy’s, fortunately he overcame his demons and survived.

These two experiences, among others, alerted me to search for the forces that push one to suicide. Although the terrorist attacks of September 11 did not precipitate my writing of this book, the suicideterrorists are prime examples of the theme I explore—that often enough another person plays an instigating role in a suicidal act.

The facts are incontrovertible. We will never know the reasons for many suicides, but it is undeniable that some persons kill themselves because they become trapped in ill-fated attachments. The role of a leader who urges and even compels the suicidal actions is easily recognized, as in suicides of cult members. Sometimes the person who induces the suicidal action is not as easily identified. Several psy-

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