Friday, September 02, 2005

We're all killing ourselves slowly

Song: Nine Inch Nails, “Hurt”

Dear Uff Da,
So many of my friends seem so depressed and self-destructive. I hate to see them hurting themselves and, in some cases, wrecking their lives. What do I do?
—Out in the Cold

Dear Cold,
While I cannot speak for the past, there seems to be a psychic malaise running through society these days. Of course, considering the horrific violence, global destruction and natural disasters that seem to be rising as fast as the cost of a gallon of gas, it’s not that shocking.

First, the awful truth: You cannot save them, or cause them to stop what they are doing to themselves, no matter how hard you try. However, it also doesn’t mean it’s necessarily hopeless.

If someone you love is self-destructive, the reasons for their behavior could stem from almost anything: they may have been locked in the attic when they were children, had a schoolmate compare them to the Hindenburg while watching a documentary in seventh grade, been the Siamese twin that lived during the separation, or it could be something more recent … the possibilities are endless.

Most of us know someone who’s addicted to drugs or alcohol, engages in risky behavior, hurts themself or finds someone else to do it. I’ve got one friend who has sex with whoever asks: she’s been told from infancy she’s shit and she figures she’s not worthy of respect; several others cut themselves, drink too much, stay with abusive boyfriends or drive SUVs. All are physically manifesting inner hurt.

If you care about them, and you’re in the position to talk to them in a loving and non-judgmental way, it may be the opportunity they need to start talking about what’s going on, and start healing. Self-destructive behavior, while distressing, doesn’t signal a lack of character or willpower, or mean the person is bad. They are simply at mercy of life’s forces, and coping in the only way they can at this very moment.

Of course, some situations really are hopeless, at least for you, the upset friend/loved one. Confronting someone may make them angry, they may push you away, or try to hurt you in turn.

Sadly, sometimes there really is nothing you can do, and it’s your decision to stand by while the person you love destroys themselves and everything around them.

Sometimes they are almost as hurtful to you as they are to themselves, and you have to save yourself first.

Each one of us has to make our own decisions, but if it seems too hard, or you feel guilty, you might want to consider a support group; community pages in newspapers have groups for everything under the sun. Sounds lame, I know, but oftentimes having people around you who understand what you’re going through, and are going through or have been through it themselves, will help you, and possibly your loved one, get through and move forward.


Blogger PapaCool said...

Think about it... As we’ve seen with hurricane Katrina, disasters can strike at any time. Where should a New Orleans family move to avoid a natural disaster? There are so many acts of God: a California earthquake, Washington volcano, Mississippi flood, North Dakota blizzard, west coast tsunami, Oklahoma tornado, Colorado avalanche, east coast Noreaster, etc. PapaCool likes South Dakota more and more!

5:29 PM  

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