Is suicide really a selfish act?

Discussion in 'Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings' started by tbrant, May 14, 2013.

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  1. tbrant

    tbrant New Member

    I'm kind of tired of hearing how suicide is a selfish thing to do. They say you are condemning your family and loved ones to a life of sadness and questions of what could they have done to stop it. They try to guilt trip you into not doing it, but aren't they the ones being selfish? They would rather have you live a life of misery so their consciences can be clean. They would prefer to keep you in a state of suffering to keep them from feeling guilty. Who is being selfish now?
  2. Crawling

    Crawling Member

    People who say suicide is selfish are usually people who have never felt suicidal and therefore don't understand what it feels like. And therefore they have no right to say it is selfish when they have not experienced what feeling suicidal is like.
  3. pickwithaustin

    pickwithaustin Staff Alumni

    As a parent who lost a child to suicide, I can assure you that it is not about making our consciences clean.
  4. Witty_Sarcasm

    Witty_Sarcasm Eccentric writer, general weirdo, heedless heathen

    If they say it's selfish, it's because they can't comprehend how much pain someone would have to be in to want to do it in the first place.
  5. RenoBill

    RenoBill Active Member

    I'm also tired of hearing the "selfish" remark in regards to suicide. People who have never had serious anxiety or depression or whose life just outright sucks, don't understand what the suicidal person feels like inside. I hear things like "this will pass", "you'll get over it", "take meds it helps". Blah, blah, blah. I've made a trust, and will try to get around to arranging my cremation before I depart. That way those left behind will have an easier time dealing with my belongings. And there's enough that it will significantly help those in my trust. So I don't feel as though I'm being selfish should I decide to end it.
  6. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    someone who commits suicide is not selfish they are not thinking clearly they are so cosumed in pain and sadness but losing someone to suicide i can tell you that when that person dies they take more then their life with them they do
  7. JanL92

    JanL92 Member

    Yes and no , those who say it is selfish clearly don't understand if have never felt suicidal thoughts , if you think suicide if selfish , it's guilt you feel more for those you are leaving behind . It's not a selfish act unless you feel for a spilt second that it is .
  8. JmpMster

    JmpMster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    I have had suicidal thoughts many times - and still do as I get reminded why every day. And yes- suicide is a selfish act. I cannot think of anything more selfish. The entire concept of complete disregard for others to to satisfy yourself or to seek relief for yourself is th every definition of selfish. I could list 10 analogies of things people do to try to make themselves feel better with no regard to the way it makes others feel and you would agree that they are all selfish acts- you simply do not like to call suicide selfish because it hits too close to home.

    self·ish adjective \ˈsel-fish\

    Definition of SELFISH

    : concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others
    : arising from concern with one's own welfare or advantage in disregard of others <a selfish act>

    Suicide goes far beyond ordinary selfish also. Ordinary selfish is when you do something without thinking or without regard to the consequence that it will have on others. It is clear from the majority of the posts here and the 100's of people I have talked with and messaged with it is not only without regards to others but it is often considered with the intent to hurt others. The desire for the attention and "to prove to them how bad they made it" It is not typically written or said directly but the intent and desire is obvious from the wording and the blame and the anger. Many if not most suicidal people get solace and feel better in considering suicide BECAUSE they know it will hurt others and make people notice and talk to them - the ultimate temper tantrum to get attention.

    I have not had a single day pass in over 4 years it has not occurred to me it would be easier to dead. Some of my actions in that time have not been from a place of good judgement. And I have asked myself 10 thousand times why should I be in pain so to spare them and where is the fairness in that - but fairness and selfish are different things and wishing they were the same does not make them the same. It has nothing to do with people that do not understand so they call it selfish. It has everything to do with people in pain looking for ways to justify it is something else.
  9. meaningless-vessel

    meaningless-vessel Well-Known Member

    People have differing opinions and viewpoints, but in the case of this thread and title, I would have to consider agreeing with both pickwithaustin and NYJmpMaster.
  10. Event_Horizon

    Event_Horizon SF Supporter

    This question comes up a lot but it really is not a fair question.

    What is understandable is suicide harms everyone in ways that are different to a natural death. There will always be a feeling of could I have done more. That will never really go away. I know this from experience and sometimes have imaginary conversations where I had said something different or had just gone round. It does nag at me still. But saying that any death causes pain and sadness. Grief is grief regardless. I am sure most parents would be devastated by the loss of their child to suicide. It is not really selfish to love a person and want them to stay alive, that is pretty much a default mentality. A good parent will try and get help for their child. But not everyone is blessed with good parents. But even this can be selfish, parents that keep their near enough brain dead child on a ventilator for years with no hope of recovery because they can't just let them go. Selfishness does cut both ways.

    A better question would be what is not selfish? Because you will really struggle to find anything that is not selfish in some capacity. We live in a society that is driven by mostly selfish motives. Do you come to SF out of purely altruistic desire or do you get something out of it? Would that be defined as selfish? Helping others to help ones self. Is that selfish? Selfish or not is rather absurd when you consider everything going on in the world. Do you put petrol in your car? We all do and that comes at the expense of other countries. Do you eat food? That is also selfish it comes at the expense of animals and plants. Where do you want to draw the line at what is and isn't selfish.

    Instead maybe we should look at pain. The causes of pain and how pain can be minimised. Because I think it is undeniable people that kill themselves are in pain. Pain clouds your view of the damage you may do to others. If you have ever been in pain you know it is hard to ignore. There have been people tortured in Gulags that contemplated suicide and some followed through. To ask if that is selfish or not is ridiculous it is natural to want to escape pain. Cattle afflicted with illness will smash their heads against the stalls until dead. If your hand is in fire your instinct is to withdraw it.

    The debate around selfish or not is irrelevant if nothing is being done to address pain. I think this world profits too much on pain but that is just my rather bleak view. I have no doubt there are selfish suicides done to hurt others and those would certainly be viewed as selfish. But I am not concerned by attention seeking behaviour. If you are hungry you seek food, if you are in pain you seek some one to stop it. Pain and desperation makes us all very vocal. Maybe we should all shut up then as we don't live in North Korea and drink out of mud puddles. Maybe those people seeking attention need that attention and subsequent help. But what if there is no help? Or you cannot afford help. Or that help has written you off as a cost cutting exercise. Where does the desperate then go? Why are children as young as five killing themselves? They likely don't even have a proper concept of selfishness.

    My friend was very successful in her attention seeking behaviour you should have seen the turn out at her funeral. What a poisonous view of the ill and desperate. No wonder many get encouraged to suicide since vocalising distress is all an attention seeking ploy if they were genuine they would just get on and do it. Facts don't bear that out. A lot of attention seeking is from neglect and maladaptive coping mechanisms not maliciousness.

    Becoming so called selfish seems an entirely reasonable response to chronic pain and a society that does not want to do anything to help that pain.
  11. Foreigner

    Foreigner New Member

    Adam, you wrote a beautiful post. I agree with everything you said.

    I believe a lot of people manage to stay alive because they understand how much their suicide would hurt their families. It is not a life you would like to live though. You feel so trapped.
  12. JmpMster

    JmpMster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    Very well said , Thank you.
  13. Skyfire

    Skyfire Active Member

    I kind of agree. I am of the personal belief that every human being has the right to self-determination, and that includes the right to decide to end one's own life; that is no more selfish than any other personal decision - others would be selfish to try to take that away.

    On the other hand, the thought of my mother finding me dead has kept me from doing myself harm on numerous occasions; no matter how much she hurts me, I can't bear to hurt her in that way. People become selfish with those they love.

    Besides, stripped of all morals and questions, suicide has nothing to do with selfishness as a moral issue, but rather as an instinct. Its an equation of pain vs coping. When the pain becomes too great, the solution is to end the pain by whatever means necessary. When you are in that much pain, you become selfish by nature; humans have an instinct for self-preservation. Backwards as it sounds, I believe that at some point on the upper reaches of the pain scale, suicide becomes a means of self preservation. People say you would only kill yourself if you're insane, but I believe its more often that people kill themselves to keep from going insane; you preserve your sense of self by destroying yourself; its subconscious and emotional, but I believe that's how it works a lot of the time.

    All that aside, I think that telling a suicidal person they are being selfish (or weak, or a coward, or going to hell, etc) is a good way to make everything a million times worse. A person is feeling low enough that they want to stop living, and so we add insult to injury by calling them names and listing their failings? If we're selfish, then they're stupid. Even if someone thinks it, they don't have to say it out loud.
  14. Blackbird33

    Blackbird33 Well-Known Member

    No suicide isn't a selfish act especially when most of the people in your life don't care two shits about you.
  15. pickwithaustin

    pickwithaustin Staff Alumni

    But if they do care, is it then a selfish act?

    Let me elaborate on my take since I have been affected greatly by the aftermath of such an act (changed my life, occupation, direction, attitude, etc.). I don't consider suicide as "selfish" because I don't think that the person who is doing it is doing it selfishly. By terms of definition, however, yes it is absolutely selfish. Again, I don't consider it to be though. I don't really think it matters either way, if it is or if it is not. I think it is important for people to understand suicide, to understand depression, and to learn more about awareness, understanding, and prevention. Should someone do anything and everything they can to prevent someone from carrying out this act? Yes, without a doubt.

    Less time spent labeling and worry about labeling, and more time focused on seeking out wellness plans.
  16. Blackbird33

    Blackbird33 Well-Known Member

    I don't for a minute underestimate the pain you've felt (feel). But my own mother hasn't spoken to me in over a year what does that about how meaningful my existence is to humankind? My co-worker passed less than a month ago and days later I was like he never existed people's lives just went on. That's the harsh reality for some of us life just goes on like we were never here after we die. Of course not everyone fits into this category.
  17. CJKitti_85

    CJKitti_85 Member

    If people--namely family members were so freaking concerned--why'd they ignore? Why'd they trivialize? Isolate? Invisibility and dehumanization really hurts.
  18. snarrylover

    snarrylover Well-Known Member

    It's selfish of the people around you to ignore your pain, or to make it seem trivial. It's selfish to be refused help. Once the initial pain of suicide is over with then those people around you are free. A person doesn't commit suicide to hurt others - they do it for peace and to stop hurting.

    I would never call someone who is suicidal "selfish" because that is a horrible, negative word and has the power to do more harm than good.

    The only time I've thought a suicide was selfish was when they've taken other people with them. Not only is that selfish, but it's murder and there is no love in that.
  19. JmpMster

    JmpMster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    The way people do help or not help is actually very little to do with it. People are not necessarily refusing help or support at all- but in out pain and darkness we choose to or are unable to see it for that. Further, if we are unable to help ourselves why is it somebody else responsibility? If every person on here says they see no possible way to be helped and most scream they do not WANT help then why are we suddenly entitled to call people selfish for not helping?

    There is far far less "don't care" and "won't help" then most perceive when they are deeply depressed - because you can't recognize it as a function of a mental illness does not mean it is not there. The same perception problems that cause the self esteem issues cause people not to see the caring and help offered and to rebuff - just exactly like on here with the thousands of threads that say "my (insert parent/boyfriend/girlfriend/family/spouse/friends) tell me they want to help but they don't care ....5 lines later - I do not want anybodies help here so don't tell me advice or to get better". Then calling those people selfish? No, that is not right. It is not being selfish for wanting you to be better and not knowing how to do that FOR you when actually many people try to help a large portion of the time and we do not want to listen or accept it.

    The worst part of mental illness and depression is that it skews our own perception - that is why we feel like we are alone - it is a symptom of the illness as often as fact.

    edit add - and if you believe that about the initial pain and then it is done go to the loved and lost and read a few more hundred posts in crisis and suicide forum of people that are depressed and suicidal because of death or suicide of a loved one...years later.
  20. pickwithaustin

    pickwithaustin Staff Alumni

    And yet, you call everyone around you selfish for not helping you.
    The thing to understand is that without experience or education on the topic, people do not understand suicidal thoughts. People who are not depressed have trouble understanding depression as much as you have trouble understanding their happiness.
    Why are they selfish for not comprehending?
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