Two reasons behind most suicides

The challenge in therapy is to remove the patient’s differences, built up, like a fortress, by their own experiences of painful deprivation. Many arrive with a defense fortress stockade that has become a prison jail. Those who care and love them do not want to break down their defenses to hurt them. The tragedy is they cannot come out. Their fortresses have become their prisons.  Because they are emotionally closed, they cannot experience that loving fulfillment of bonding. They have become phobic and/or paranoid of that which they need for happy survival.

Time and again, this has been made so clear to me.

About a year ago there were two young women in a three-day workshop with me and 38 others. They were both bright, and in many respects, equal peers. Both had recently suffered the horrible experience of being raped by an unknown man. But their responses were totally different.

One woman screamed out her pain and anger over the incident and then she said, “but I am not going to let that miserable stupid son of a bitch spoil my life. Just because one man is a rotten asshole, I am not going to place all men there. Men have been warm and loving to me. I love men in spite of what that asshole did to me. He wasn’t a man he was a stupid asshole.”

Before she even finished saying what she did, she was out of her seat and going around the room hugging (bonding with) every man in the room. When she finished there was a feeling of warmth and love for her and from her for the men and women in the room. Except for the one person, the other woman who had also been raped. She screamed out in pain and anger, “How can you forgive them so easily? They are all hostile motherf—ers. All they want to do is f— you. Some of them just use more force than others. I don’t trust any of them. I’ll never date or go out with another man as long as I live. If I never see another man again, that will be too soon.” She then proceeded to look at every man in the room and say, “I hate you.” She even ended up in non-verbal screams of anger and finally the pain that was underneath. The pain not only of her rape but finally at her father’s insensitivity and abuse of her, and of the man with whom she’d recently had a three-year affair.

Had she remained in that feeling-attitude state, it is easy to see how she could have ruined her life. Fortunately, in the group, she worked her feeling, and attitudes through.

Even in severe depressions that lead to suicide, most people who kill themselves do so for one of two reasons, both interrelated. They do not feel “good enough and/or lovable.” And, they have developed a feeling of hopelessness and/or helplessness.

They do not recognize that their feelings have to do, not with the world, but their own phobic and/or paranoid defenses that have locked them in. Their own defenses prevent them from fulfilling their biologic need for bonding. It is not what happened to them that killed them. It was their defenses that they evolved to protect them from pain that finally killed them, just like an alcoholic or drug addict’s defense. It is the drugs and alcohol that finally killed them. It is really so sad because they could’ve lived a happy life.

It is too late for the dead, but it is not too late for the living. Where there is life there is not only hope there is a solution and resolution of the pain and an excellent opportunity to learn how to enjoy living on the Road to Happiness.

Written by Daniel Casriel, MD

Daniel Harold Casriel, M.D., born in New York City on March 1, 1924, was an American psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and writer. He was a past president of the American Society of Psychoanalytic Physicians. He founded the Daytop treatment centers. Casriel died on June 7, 1983 at the age of 59 from a form of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). After graduation from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine at age twenty-five, Casriel began his residency at the Kingsbridge Veterans' Administration Hospital. Less than a year into his residency, he was drafted and sent to Okinawa where he served as an Army psychiatrist. Beyond shaping the field of addictions treatment and psychotherapy, Casriel profoundly influenced the launch of relationship education. His intensive couples workshops for Lori Heyman Gordon's Family Relations Institute in Northern Virginia provided the framework for what emerged into the range of PAIRS' relationship education seminars and trainings that have touched millions of lives. Casriel popularized the theory that the "emotion of love" comes from the anticipation of pleasure. Based on Casriel's theory, "bonding," which he defined as "the unique combination of emotional openness and physical closeness with another human being," is central to sustaining healthy, intimate relationships. Casriel taught that symptoms of bonding deprivation include: "illness, fatigue, depression, rigidity, constriction, isolation, and the range of anti-social behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse, gambling and sex addictions." Casriel considered bonding a biologically-based need similar to the need for food, water, air, and shelter, yet unique as the only biological need people cannot meet for themselves.

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