Q: I’ve been dating my boyfriend for two years now, and I am about to transfer to another school. Things are not going to work between us, but every time I break up with him, he cuts himself, attempts suicide, or generally threatens me with it. I can’t get him to go to the mental health clinic, even as an ultimatum, his family ignores what’s been going on, and none of his friends care. I went to the police station, and they basically said there is nothing they can do unless he makes suicidal threats in front of an officer. I’ve read your advice, to do all that you can, but what if it’s not enough? My brother committed suicide approximately 5 months ago, and I would never forgive myself if my boyfriend did. I have no doubt he will if I completely leave. Please help. I feel that I am alone in my concern.
A: Wow, this is a tough one. The first thing I must say is that you are never responsible for someone else’s choices. Your boyfriend sounds very manipulative, especially if he is doing this after knowing that your brother committed suicide. I am glad that you acknowledge that you need to break up with him and move on and this is exactly what you need to do. There is a chance that he will not really do anything and that it was all a way to control you and there is a chance that he could really hurt himself. All you can do is try to get him to get help and let his family and close friends know of your concerns, which it sounds like you have already done. If he threatens suicide or hurts himself, you may get further by calling your local crisis center and let them take over. They may call the police or an ambulance or they may just talk to him but if you do this you have covered your bases and should feel confident that you did all you could. Then you need to close the door and walk away. You cannot allow him to continue to control you or he will never stop. I hope that he gets some help does not kill himself. Two losses in that manner could be devastating for you but it still doesn’t make you responsible. You may look into a local support group for those who have lost someone to suicide. These can be very healing. The bottom line is do what you can and move on. You have some healing to do which should be your main focus. Good luck.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Nov 2006
Counts, H. (2006). My boyfriend is threatening suicide.. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 12, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/11/26/my-boyfriend-is-threatening-suicide/