Susan slumped over the tub as she sobbed and mourned. She clutched the bottle of pills more tightly wondering how she could go through with it. Susan didn’t want to die, but Rick had said, “Our family would be better off if you were just dead. Your damn attitude keeps me from enjoying any happiness.”
Susan yielded to Rick by taking on responsibility for all the family problems. She believed the lie that all problems were her fault. Maybe the family was better off with her dead. She decided she would not torment her children as her mom had. He mom loved the family dearly, but her love was often at a high price. Rick loved Susan as well, but his love left bruises on the spirit and the body. She hoped these pills would stop the cycle, but the act of taking her own life felt immoral.
Susan is a helpless victim, and Rick manipulates and deceives her. Each is aware of serious problems in their marriage, but neither realizes his or her role. Health issues also factor into the relationship. Mental health is equally important to physical health. If Susan’s foot felt painful enough to want to cut it off, she would go to a doctor. If Rick got cancer, he would seek the best medical treatment. Does Susan, in the bathroom considering suicide, consider going to a doctor, a licensed psychologist, or a counselor? Does Rick, who told his wife he wishes she were dead, think about getting mental health assessment? Couples or individuals who have serious thoughts of harming themselves, or one they love, should seek mental health services. No one should wait to seek help until they are holding a bottle of lethal pills! There are places to go, even if one does not have insurance.
I lived this life! I was raised by a mom and dad who loved me dearly, and they loved each other for fifty years. They had problems, though. Those problems created more problems for my brothers and me. I did seek help beginning at age 18, and I have now learned the reason I went to licensed counselors on and off throughout my life. I was not taught appropriate skills for mental and emotional problem-solving. The fact that I have a heavy background receiving counseling is something I am proud to acknowledge. I learned skills from the experience.
I married young and fifteen years later we divorced. My first husband, also a victim of childhood family conflict solved his anger problems with fists, and excessive alcohol. Unfortunately, I blamed myself and considered suicide on several occasions because I was afraid. Fists and fear do NOT solve problems. Facing the problem and finding an appropriate solution do help.
Step 1: Call someone and tell them what is going on. A trusted friend can encourage you to seek professional help. Just make sure you find someone licensed to assess mental health for counseling.
Step 2: Stick with a plan to get help. Do not give up, or fall back into the same cycle. If the first counselor you choose is not a good fit after a few sessions, find another.
Step 3: Adjust the plan as needed to get the outcome you need to learn better strategies for your life. Remember that counseling is like any type of education. You must apply what you learn before you accomplish any really change.
Step 4: Continue to work on YOU. Nothing will change in your future if you continue a negative cycle of behavior from your past. I had not been taught correct skills, but once I began the process of relearning how to think, little changes started to happen around me. Eventually, I became who I was intended to be.
My process began with me telling a close friend that my husband was hurting me. I thought HE was the problem. My friend made me promise to call the police if he hurt me again. I stuck with the plan, and I did call 911 because nothing else I had tried had worked. Unfortunately, it did not help my husband, nor did he seek help. However, that call put ME on the road to recovery that night.
I had stuck to the plan my friend and I made, but beyond that, I didn’t know what to do next. A plan was in the works for my family.
The police told me to go to a shelter that night with my children. The shelter staff helped me figure out a plan that would give my husband a chance to change, AND teach me to replace the behaviors/thinking learned in early childhood.
I loved that man with all my heart. Of course, it has only been a few hours and I blamed myself for the violence. So, I bailed him out hoping for remorse from him. He only wanted vengeance. I chose to continue my plan for myself-to learn new behaviors; a Protective Order was needed, so I filed for divorce. Judges restricted P.O.s. to those who file for divorce in my community.
The shelter counselor was a good start. I needed more help because I realized I had modeled bad living skills for my kids. We found an independent counselor and stuck with her for years. When I’d recognize something wasn’t good, I’d go back in and talk to her for a few sessions. I read books she recommended and tried strategies for change. Things slowly got better.
Don’t wait! If you have insurance, get busy today. If you do not have insurance, call local organizations. I went to Al-Anon for a long time because it is free, and they helped me understand how serious problems develop from incorrect thinking. Counseling is learning a new way to think about events and a new way to act in our daily lives. I have managed to change my thinking into a positive self-nurturing quality. Life is wonderful, but I ( did you read the word I?) I HAD TO CHANGE. If you believe that your life will become better if someone else will change, YOU ARE WRONG. You have to get in the driver’s seat.
I believed that my changes would eventually make a difference to my marriage, but a marriage is an entity comprised of two. To salvage a broken relationship, both must change, AND they must change in the same direction if they are to stay married.
I hope that my article helps at least one person to make an effort to get help. Drop a comment if you feel strongly about the article; even if you disagree. Thanks readers!