Are you a teen-ager contemplating suicide or the parent of one? The following case study may help you solve your problem.
When I met Jill, she was sixteen years old and in counseling for four years. When she was twelve years old when she tried to commit suicide by taking an overdose of pills. The teen-ager was taking medication for depression and mood swings, and attending a small private school to help her cope more easily with life. Besides all these helpful measures, Jill was still getting upset easily and over-reacting to situations. She was also often missing school for psychosomatic illnesses (caused by emotions).
Jill was living with her mother, step-father and step brother. She had an older sister and brother who lived outside of the home. Her mother, Kate, a forty-four year old woman, was unhappy in her second marriage. When she called me for counseling, she was very concerned about her daughter because she was talking about suicide again.
During our first session, I asked Jill to complete the sentence, “I want to commit suicide because...” Jill responded, “I want to commit suicide because I feel trapped. I can’t be myself. I have to take care of my mother.” Then I continued, “Jill if you could be free to live your own life, would you want to live? “Yes,” she replied.
In the course of counseling numerous teen-agers, I had noticed this as a common feeling for the last child in the house with parents who are in pain. It is interesting that no one tells the child directly to rescue their parent but they unconsciously feel obligated. I have also found that the mother gives unconscious messages to the child not to grow up because then she will have to face her personal unhappiness and marital relationship, and let go of her role of “Mother” which has been her identity for most of her adult life.
To assist Jill, I helped her visualize and cut the obsolete “umbilical cords” that were unconsciously connecting her to her mother. I also used some therapeutic processes to help her raise her self-esteem. At the end of the session, I asked Kate to come back into the office and encouraged Jill to share her new awareness with her mother.
In other sessions, I worked with Kate alone to help her cut the “umbilical cords” that she had unconsciously connected to her youngest daughter, face her unhappy relationship and build her own self-esteem. *
Getting to the core of the problem quickly resulted in immediate changes. With higher self-esteem, both Jill and Kate started to dress nicer and looked more attractive and happier. They also encouraged each other to be separate, independent people, and responsible for their own lives.
Jill soon had less psychosomatic illnesses and upsets and was able to quickly calm down if she did overact. She was no longer talking about suicide and proudly told me, “I don’t need my medication anymore.” Two factors that helped Jill improve so quickly were that Kate was attending a church that taught positive thinking and she was willing to work on her own growth.
If you are the teen-ager contemplating suicide, you can show this article to your parents and ask them to help you to solve the problems. Or if you are the parent of a child thinking about suicide, it could be very helpful to explore the above issues and resolve them with a professional counselor.
Helene Rothschild, MS, MA, MFT, is a Marriage, Family Therapist, intuitive counselor, author, speaker, teacher and workshop facilitator. To empower people, she developed a unique process, HART: Holistic And Rapid Transformation. She offers phone sessions, teleclasses, a self-help on-line program, inspirational books, e-books, tapes, cards, posters and independent studies. http://www.helenerothschild.com
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