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Suicide By a Friend

 
 
Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jul, 2006 11:35 am
On a bitter night last winter one of the local homeless men got drunk, passed out and froze to death.

Evidently he had several brothers and sisters and a great assortment of nieces and nephews. All of them were furious that something hadn't been done to get their poor brother off the street and into a shelter.

They saw nothing incongruous about expressing their grief and sorrow, although none of them had talked to their dead brother for the last three years.

None of them seemed to feel guilt, either. They blamed Social Services for his death.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jul, 2006 11:49 am
Noddy- I would bet that there was a modicum of guilt on the part of the man's relatives. I suppose that is why they blamed social services, but I can certainly understand their feelings.

For years I worked with the seriously, persistently mentally impaired (mostly schizophrenic). When I hired new case management staff, who were BA level people, mostly in their middle twenties, they had difficulty in understanding why many of our clients' families had abandoned them.

As they became more experienced, they realized that often a person with a severe impairment impacts very adversely on all the people around them. Many of my client's families had realized, that in order to maintain equilibrium in their own lives, and the lives of the people closest to them, they simply had to let the mentally ill person go.

I would expect that the families of the alcoholic of which you spoke, were faced with a similar decision.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jul, 2006 11:58 am
Phoenix--

Believe me, I understand the problems of living with mentally ill family members.

In this case, the family was pushing and shoving for the front row in media coverage. They expressed no sorrow for the death of a tormented life--they just wanted to blame Social Services.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jul, 2006 12:01 pm
Noddy.........Oh! I did not realize that!
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jul, 2006 01:42 pm
Just as a person has the ultimate say regarding his own life or death decisison, people have a right to eventually give up on their efforts to help relatives, friends and spouses (but not young children).
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jul, 2006 05:50 pm
My next to youngest half brother adopted a philosophy at age 16, that adults have no right to tell a 16 year old what to do. Period. He followed a path that led him to join a cult, The Children of God, do dope and drink until he passed out as often as possible. Early on, I sought to gain influence, that I might guide him to seek a useful life. To no avail. Eventually, he became so hate filled toward me and so self destructive, that I told him he was cut off. If he ever needed medical, food, money, don't come to me. Our paths diverged for several years. When next I saw him, he told me, "I'm not going to work. God has taken care of me this long. He will continue to do so." During the same period, he also expressed the notion, "I want to get drunk and high the rest of my life. That's all I want." I saw him a few years later. He stood across the street and sent his Children of God friends to knock and beg for money.

About six years ago, I got a post card from him. He told me if ever I want to leave him a message, he keeps a post office box at the address on the card. I ignored it. I think I have the card somewhere, but don't really know if he is alive or dead and don't plan to expend energy finding out.

You would have had to be there to see why no one could help my brother. Only by institutionalizing him could he have been controlled. When I cut him free, it was for a lifetime. I bear him no ill will, but feel no responsibility for him either.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jul, 2006 06:03 pm
Good for you, Edgar. Compassion is one thing; it can motivate us to help others, and it reflects our attempt to understand their situation. But pity is something else. It diminishes others while aggrandizing ourselves. To not pity others is to honor their autonomy. If they choose to destroy themselves that's their business.

Now this statement is one that can stand challenge and modification. I would appreciate such challenges.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jul, 2006 07:32 pm
"Honoring other people's choices" is easy to say.

Honoring other people's right to strut down the Primrose Path to self destruction can very hard to do.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jul, 2006 07:38 pm
In my brother's case, it was not easy at all, but necessary.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jul, 2006 07:46 pm
Edgar--

I've got a stepson like that. God isn't involved, but this "kid" (46 and counting) has a great deal of trouble with "his" and "not-his".
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jul, 2006 08:01 pm
I don't know if you are familiar with The Children of God- -Here is a site dedicated to them. If you look, you will see this is not a wholesome deviation from the churches.

The Children of God
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Lash
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jul, 2006 09:25 pm
I wasn't aware of your connection, edgar. You are aware another founding member has a close connection to the Family, as well?

Chilling.

I'm sorry for what you had to endure. I've read some at that site on and off for a few years. It's heartbreaking.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jul, 2006 09:26 pm
I don't know any others with a connection.
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Lash
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jul, 2006 09:30 pm
PM for member privacy.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Jul, 2006 09:36 pm
I wouldn't mind if the moderator erased all references to the cult. I don't like being a source of anyone's discomfort.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2006 08:45 am
I find the information that the cult exists as disheartening, but eradicating the link from this site won't erase the cult.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Aug, 2006 05:44 am
My brother has never spoken of the inner workings of the cult, and, I know he doesn't stay in close contact with members at all times. Since the center moved overseas, he has not been able to follow, for one thing. Plus, he is so flighty, self centered and unpredictable, he probably wears out his welcome wherever he goes. I saw his face in a PBS documentary on the CofG some years back. He and other folks his age were standing, grinning at the camera, but were not interviewed.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Aug, 2006 08:27 am
Edgar--

I've wondered how members of the Lunatic Fringe can tolerate their peer group and focus on perfection at the same time.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Aug, 2006 05:16 pm
I don't pretend to have insight. Once, I was with my brother on a Sunday, when church was letting out. He looked at the leaving church goers and said, "There go the phony balonies." I have a dead pan reaction to people that betrays nothing in times like these.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Aug, 2006 06:08 pm
Lucky you, Edgar. I have a spontaneous grimace that sometimes invites unwanted confrontation. I'm lousy at poker.
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