Guilt trips are awful. We all use them from time to time, often when we shouldn’t. They can be extremely damaging. But used properly, you may just save someone’s life.
Sounds a little outrageous, I know. That is me for you! When you are in crisis, and speaking to a mental health professional, they often ask “So why haven’t you killed yourself?”. At the beginning, I thought they where asking me to get on with it. Eventually, I figured out the were asking about my ‘preventative factors’. These are the things that stop you from killing yourself. Mine includes my daughter, family, and the fact that I have had lost a friend to suicide and two to accidental suicides.
So, where does the guilt trip come in? Well, if you know someone showing suicidal behaviours, your little guilt trip could become one of their ‘preventative factors’. Saying something like ‘I would be so lost without you, I need you here’ could be the difference between self harm and suicide.
Of course, there is a harsh word of warning attached to this. It could have the opposite effect. People with suicidal tendencies are emotionally unstable. Said wrong, a guilt trip could leave them feeling worse about themselves increasing the chances of self harm. It is vital you think carefully before you speak, and word your comments in a way that shows love rather than trying to hurt someone. Words have such powerful effects on people, and can both build them up and tear them down again.
Showing someone you love them and want to support them is good. Telling them they have hurt you deeply with their actions may not be the best thing to do.
If you know someone who self harms, then I implore you again to read and then show them my blog about a crisis box. It has saved my life time and time again.
It is amazing how much a listening and empathetic ear helps. You might find it hard, but if you are able, take a little time out to spend it with that person. People that commit suicide firmly believe the world would be better off without them. Show them that is not the case. Try not to shut them out of your life. Invite them out with you if a group of you are going to the cinema. Give them a phone call just to see how they are.
In the end, the more preventative factors someone has, the safer they are. Think of was to empower them. Make them feel more in control of their life. I found speaking out about my problems hugely helpful. I speak publicly, I write (and obviously blog :D), I write poems and I try my best to give out sound advice. There is little that can lift your mood more than helping someone else.
If you are nervous about using a guilt trip, why not ask them for their help with something. If you are decorating, see if they want to hold a roller. If you are cooking a meal, ask if they want to join you. The aim of the game at all times is to make them feel valued and safe. Showing them you wont run away because of how they feel will help tremendously.
And, I find myself repeating this a lot, get help for yourself too. Loving someone who does not love themselves is really hard work. And I know it devastates my family when I self harm. Getting support for you is vital to help you get through it. There are some brilliant charities out there that can help. I will be putting a page together with support numbers, but until then The Samaritans, Mind, Rethink and The Mental Health Helpline can all offer brilliant support. They should not have to deal with this alone, but neither should you!