Suicide - A psychodynamic/analytic approach

Suicide is the single most aggressive act. It means that all the attachments in the person's life have not been enough to contain their anger and despair. 

People become alone and isolated internally.  They become angry with those around them who could not connect with these feelings. Then a prevailing depression hits a new low - a sense of uselessness, an anger turned on themselves.....

A perceived rejection, unfair and cruel acts done towards them can all be reasons to kill oneself. In any suicide case, it is clear that the person did not feel there was hope in life and they could not bear to go on.

Freud and Klein explored the idea of the death instinct which opposes the life instinct. Death instinct produces sabotaging tendencies and if left unchecked, the person withdraws from the external world because it is too much to bear. 

Our relationships anchor us to this life and this world. Relationships that are attuned and able to touch the deeper core of strong emotions within us, keep the channels of communication open and reduce the chances of strong fixations taking hold. The life instinct becomes paramount and manifests in good relationships, creative hobbies and pursuits.

For the suicidal person, somewhere, connection has been lost and paranoid-schizoid feelings dominate. People become deeply disturbed, suspicious and angry with their near and dear ones. These are not necessarily people who are physically alone. They experience loneliness even among others.

They do not feel understood. Their anguish remains a silent scream inside - full of anger and resentment.

Others seem to forgive everyone around them before dying, passing on their bad feelings to those who survive them.

The thought of ending the anger and loss they are feeling becomes paramount. It becomes an ideal, a fixation.

Grandiose thoughts of how their death will finally get them the attention and empathy they lack are some of the compensatory phantasies.

Broadly, there are 2 kinds of suicidal people - the first may attempt it a number of times and learn to use it to get the attention they sorely need for their deep psychic wounds.

With the other type, they have made up their minds that they are going and it is a secret. A sinister and powerful one. It may be meant to make someone in their lives feel their wound.

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Written by Smita Rajput Kamble, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist

I am a psychoanalytic psychotherapist practising in Milton Keynes for 20 years. I offer both-short term and open ended psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Psychotherapy varies with time and frequency. A long therapy can be stabilising and offer depth and emotional intimacy. But sometimes, short term work  is more suitable.
My trainings (Oxford and London) gave me a classical psychological un… Read more

Written by Smita Rajput Kamble, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist

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