Sibling Suicide Attempt

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

My family this past year has been dealing with my sisters suicide attempt. Since the attempt my parents started by asking me if I was alright for weeks on end, then they have turned to not talking to me or blaming me for the majority of the bad things that happen at home.

My mother won’t even talk to me anymore and if she is it is to only yell at me, I’m still in school, but they act like if I wasn’t around their life would be better. My youngest sister is hating me because I want her to pick up her stuff so I don’t trip on it when I get home late at night since we share a room, my sister who attempted suicide blames me for everything and tells every one she hates me.

I feel like my life has started to spiral out of control just because of the situation my sister thinks is my fault. I have gotten over the fact that I just couldn’t do anything to protect her, and I have begun to not care about anyone anymore in the family. I don’t know what else to do. I can’t move out because I have to pay for school out of pocket. I can’t hang out with friends because they are always busy or my parents won’t let me use their car to go visit them.

Anyway to she’d some positive light on the situation I was born into years ago?

A: I’m very sorry to hear about your sister’s suicide attempt. It seems to me that the dynamics in the family are extremely intense, negative, and not conducive to your well-being. Because of this there are three options that I think make sense:

First, I would talk to your parents about the need for family therapy following your sister’s attempt. Often families need counseling to cope with the reaction. It was a traumatic event for everyone involved. I would look for a family therapist to assess where the family is at and offer guidance and perhaps some brief therapy to get the family going in the right direction.

Second, if this isn’t an option for you and your family I would look for alternatives to living at home. You state your age as 20 and it may be worth looking for a roommate you can share expenses with and find some room to breathe. While I realize the financial situation may be difficult, staying at home seems to be a much greater burden.

Finally, if neither of the first two options are viable I would suggest you plan for moving out. Having a plan, even though it may be a year or more in advance, will keep you motivated, focused, and perhaps a bit more able to cope.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Sep 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Sibling Suicide Attempt. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/09/27/sibling-suicide-attempt/