When other threats and manipulations fail, many bullies and narcissists blackmail their sources of money using threats of suicide.
Vicki’s 50 year-old brother, bright and articulate, had worked only sporadically in his life. He’d sponged off their parents and after they died, he demanded that Vicki give him the whole of their small inheritance, not the half they’d left him. He said he needed it all in order to fund his next project and scheme (a trip around the world with his new girlfriend taking pictures).
When Vicki said, “no,” he barraged her with emails and texts about how needy and deserving he was. When she still said, “no,” he barraged their extended family with Facebook posts and emails about how jealous and mean she’d always been, and how she was violating what this parents had actually wanted.
When Vicki still said, “no,” he barraged her and the family with threats of suicide, blaming Vicki. He said it would be her fault for ruining his life and she’d be remember as cold, heartless and unloving, having driven a wonderful brother to suicide.
Some questions to ask ourselves.
This is a very difficult area because we have to make careful distinctions in each situation and because a life might be on the line.
- Has the person been depressed, anxious and suicidal all their lives?
- Have there been previous, serious attempts?
- Do they have a specific, detailed plan?
- Has some specific and devastating situation arisen?
- Do they threaten suicide only when they don’t get what they want?
- What does the doctor say?
- Do we believe they’re serious?
Vicki was clear.
Her brother had been a narcissist all his life. He was selfish and felt entitled to be supported in doing whatever he felt like. He’d blackmailed his parents using this threat all his life to get whatever he wanted. He’d only contacted them or her when he needed money. He never seemed serious enough to carry out his threat. That is; he never has specifics or detailed plans; just threats.
But her parents had given in; in part because they couldn’t live with their guilt if he carried out the threat. And also, in part, because they hoped that each gift would bring their son to a sense of responsibility and duty to take care of himself. He was certainly capable of doing so if he was willing to struggle in order to succeed.
Vicki wrote, “no,” to her brother and sent copies to the whole extended family. She had her own responsibilities and she was kicking her brother out of the nest. She’d live with the consequences of her decision.
She told him if he ever threatened suicide again, she’d call his local police and ask them to do a psychiatric evaluation. She also told him that if he did kill himself, she’d cry but she’d blacken his memory as a weak, coward and selfish loser.
The decision is much harder if the person threatening is an adult child or a parent who’s getting old. Or if you’re sure they’re serious. In those cases, our considerations of love and duty may shift the balance.
Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation. The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:
- Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
- Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.
Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.