It might be a ghastly case of misplaced empathy.
Try this at home: Bring up the topic of suicide and note how folks react.
On the radio yesterday, one of the south’s ubiquitous Christian family stations, were some astonishing statistics about the outrageous suicide rate currently in America. The host’s conclusion, not surprisingly, was that these poor, long-suffering individuals had not found Jesus.
I beg to differ. In fact, the suicide that hit too close for comfort this past spring, was committed by a woman who had just found Jesus, had just been ‘born-again’ baptized, and was attending a local church.
Sympathy was oozing from every direction for this apparently fragile, misguided woman, who left behind three teenage boys.
The responses I get when repeating this story always include, first and foremost, something along the lines of: “Oh, how terrible, that poor woman!” The boys are lamented also, but along the lines of how awful it will be for them to be without their mother.
And I’m thinking, “Seriously?”
The woman who spread far more pain and chaos around her than joy and caring is the one who gets the caring attention, even in death.
Why is violent sociopathy rewarded with sympathy in our culture? Suicide is extremely violent. Violence is violence, whether or not it is self-inflicted. It is also extremely manipulative, as one is freed from one’s own pain by unloading it on everyone else.
This was a grown woman, who had abandoned her children, was addicted to untold number of drugs for at least a decade, and who was unresponsive and ungrateful to the help lavished on her from countless well-meaning hosts and wanna-be saviors for years.
What about all those who were forced to witness her self-violence? What about all those who were subjected to her lies, her manipulations, her emotional and physical abuse?
What about her boys, and her parents who are forced to raise them, while she partied her life away?
Has anyone ever considered that maybe they would feel relieved to be rid of her, once and for all—that is, if relief were a permissible social option for them? Instead they are required to feel sorry for her, forever.
What about “God helps those who help themselves?”
What about the obvious fact that the suicide rate continues to rise, as the churches continue to fill, as the preachers continue to preach, as the psychiatric profession proliferates, as the pharmaceutical sales flourish, and as the entertainment industrial complex offers ever-more fun for everyone?
Might it be remotely possible, perhaps, that all the misplaced empathy and coddling to sociopathy, and the elevation of weakness, cowardice and powerlessness to a station of social superiority, might play into this problem at all?
Of course, if I point out this difference of perspective, I’m the heartless bitch with no sympathy, for the violent dead woman.
Well, I confess. Let’s just write it off as yet another case of compassion fatigue.