A lot of finger-pointing goes on every time a bullied child dies of suicide, and sometimes, those fingers point at the victim’s parents.
When the subject of bullying comes up, people are quick to blame the parents of the bully.
But here’s a fair question: Is a bullied adolescent or teen more prone to a suicide attempt if they get bullied (a.k.a. emotionally or physically abused) by their own parents?
Imagine how hopeless this child would feel: first shift is the school where they are harassed and ridiculed.
When the school day ends—it’s home to a second shift of bullying by corrupt adults.
There is no respite, a never-ending loop of torment. Suicide may seem like a great solution. And which shift is worse? Sometimes it’s the second shift!
In fact, could bullying by classmates simply be incidental in the case of a child who dies by suicide?
For example, I witnessed a boy in high school (“N”) bullying a classmate named John after school. I was the “bystander” who (and I regret this) was more interested in watching a train wreck unfold than in stopping the event (which I could have; I was physically stronger than the bully and assertive).
The bully wouldn’t let John leave. John said in a trembling voice, “If I’m late getting home my dad will whip me.”
With a monster parent like this (whom I doubt was good at making John feel valued), it’s easy to imagine John one day feeling hopeless and ending his life.
Everyone might have known about the school bullying, while nobody outside the family would know about the repeated whippings by Dad (except “N”).
Therefore, John’s bullies, and the bullies’ parents, are blamed for his suicide.
There is no question that school bullying is part of the multi-factorial process of suicidal thoughts and attempts.
However, perhaps the greatest experts in this area are survivors of teen suicide attempts who were bullied. What do THEY have to say?
I combed through all of the comments to a Yahoo! Shine article on bullying and survivors of teen suicide.
Below are selected comments, copied-and pasted (not edited; there are typos, poor grammar) from people who, as teens, were bullied and who attempted suicide.
Each paragraph pertains to one post (seven paragraphs = seven different posters).
Suicidal Bullied Kids Place Blame on Their Parents (and other family members): Actual Posts
“I attempted suicide at 14 because my family turned on me as some horrible kid for skipping school and at school i was spit on daily and assaulted regularly.”
“My mother was the biggest bully in my life. All my growing up years Mother Dearest bullied myself and my sister mercilessly after our father walked out (because he could not stand my mother anymore).
I and my sister were both suicidal almost all throughout our teen years but especially she was at age 13 and I really had to watch her closely because I was afraid she really would take her own life then.
I also knew I had nobody in my world who would understand my pain if she didn’t live through that.
Yes there were bullies at school and yes they totally exacerbated the problem, especially for her. It really hurts when you can’t go to your own mom about bullies because the biggest bully in your life is her.”
“As a teen, I struggled with depression. I became suicidal. It was NOT a result of bullying, even though I had been. I went to my mother for help. You know, since parents are supposed to listen.
She would roll her eyes and tell me to get over it, because teens can’t get depressed and have no idea what depression is really like.
She was also aware of the situation that started the downward spiral and didn’t believe that either.”
“I’ve thought about taking my own life since I was seventeen. Actually attempted several times. I should have been on meds and seeing a therapist as a teenager.
My family, however, viewed therapy as a personal attack on them and the way they were raising me. I was told to quit whining and grow up.
How many teenagers in this country are dealing with just this kind of home life?”
“I have found from dealing with a family member who has attempted suicide 3 times in his life last being 15 years ago that he grew up in an abusive home was bullied etc. it was more that fact that as he says the people that should have cared didn’t it wasn’t the bullying it was other family members not being there. they tried professional help etc but it’s not just getting them the help its really having to reassure them that you are there for them and not going anywhere and what they mean to you and others who do really care.”
“I attempted suicide as a young teen and in my case it was because of bullying and being the one to get blamed for everything at home.
My mother always said that I was just like her sister, with whom she always had a rocky relationship. I have come to realize that is the reason she always treated me like I was the family demon.
The truth was that I had a more adventurous spirit than she or my older sister and she couldn’t relate to or accept it.”
“I tried twice, once when I was just 14 the other when I was 23.. I came from a broken and violent home.
I was picked on as a kid because we were so poor we would have to wear the same clothes to school twice in a row and of course we didn’t have much.
My attempts had far more to do with my parents and their screwed up issues than it did with bullying, but just like him [a suicide survivor featured in the Yahoo article] I think it did affect my self worth and made it easier for me to attempt suicide since I didn’t think I was worth anything.”
Are the parents of a suicide victim who was bullied partly to blame for the child’s actions? You be the judge.