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Just recently, Friday, a fine young man of sixteen chose to commit suicide. We had not been close of late, and it has been said that he had anger issues.
I know that in his early teens he was bullied, at a place which should be a safe haven, a little league organization. The adults were afraid, and brushed it off as "boys being boys."
But this particular form of bullying was way beyond that. Could something like this be a root cause to his anger, and the sad result? Somehow it is what I keep coming back to. Thank you for your consideration.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. I am so sorry to hear of this tragic loss of a young man's life. Understandably, your mind is searching for a way to understand what happened, and why. That's a natural reaction to the shock of this type of death.
There is nothing simple or straight-forward about suicide. The victim and perpetrator are actually the same person, meaning this fine young man was the one who took the fine young man's life. Contemplating this helps to sort out your feelings during the grief process. Suicide is an act of violence committed against oneself. It is deeply disturbing to anyone associated with it.
Regarding the bullying, and the adults' lack of intervention, you may be correct in your thinking about that. I have no way of knowing, but you do. I encourage you to trust your own intuition, but also be smart and healthy about what you conclude and any choices you make.
The risk of too much focusing on the adults who were aware of the bullying, or the bullying itself is that you could potentially fall into the pattern of seeing the young man as a helpless victim, and the bullies and adults as perpetrators. It's never quite that black and white, and I strongly recommend that you avoid blaming anyone or directing anger toward them.
Bullying is certainly cruel and can be extremely damaging, and I'm sure it has led to suicide in other cases as well. Adults need to take responsibility for making sure that our youth are safe as much as possible. There are many very good programs currently in place that are very effective at accomplishing this.
In your own internal process, look at everyone who has some responsibility. That would include the bullies, the adults, and the young man himself. He made a choice, but it was not his only choice. To finally be at peace in the grieving following a suicide, I think we have to accept the decision of the deceased to end his own life. It was his decision, and as tragic as it was, it does not erase the value of his life or his contributions to the lives of others.
I hope this is helpful to you during this difficult time.
My very best to you,
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