Interior Integration for Catholics

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Dr. Peter brings you inside the inner world of so many parents, spouses, children, and siblings of those who died by suicide. Through an imagination exercise, research, quotes from family members, and the Internal Family Systems model of the person, he invites you to a deeper understanding of other others experience a loved one's suicide.

Show Notes

  1. Dr. Peter brings you inside the inner world of so many parents, spouses, children, and siblings of those who died by suicide.  Through an imagination exercise, research, quotes from family members, and the Internal Family Systems model of the person, he invites you to a deeper understanding of other others experience a loved one's suicide.  
  2. Lead-in
    1. The world is full of ‘friends’ of suicide victims thinking ‘if I had only made that drive over there, I could have done something.’ —Darnell Lamont Walker  an artist; a writer, photographer, painter, and filmmaker.
    1. Ok, so we're continuing to discuss suicide here, we're taking on the tough topics
    1. And I want to start with a caution -- if you have lost a loved one to suicide, this episode may be really healing but it also may be really difficult.  If you are raw and struggling with a death, be really thoughtful about when and how you listen to this.  Pay attention to your window of tolerance and if it's too much right now, know that I respect that and I invite you to approach this topic in a way that is right for you, with help from a counselor, a spiritual director, a trusted friend, somebody you know.  

    1. Also, this imagination exercise will be hard to really get into if you're driving or engaged in other activities.  You can try it, but it's going to be really emotionally evocative for many people.  I suggest that you create a good space to engage with 

    1. Imagine looking through your front window and seeing a police cruiser pull up.   One uniformed police officer gets out and a woman in plainclothes and they slowly walk to your door.  They ring the doorbell.  You open the door.  The officer removes his hat and tucks it under his arm.  The man seems nervous and clears his throat.  The woman introduces herself and tells you she is the victims' assistance coordinator or something like that for your county.  She asks your name.  You give it.  She asks if they can come inside and talk with you.  "We have very difficult news for you," she says with sympathy in her brown eyes.  Your heart stops beating.  The officer looks away, he looks like he'd be anywhere else, rather than here with you.  You let them in, now only vaguely aware of your surroundings, the shape your living room is in right now.  

    1. From the couch, in a gentle, matter-of-fact and very calm manner , the victim service coordinator tells you that the one you so love, you so cherish in the world is dead.  She names the name.  Yes, it's verified.  Yes, there is no mistake.  How, how did this happen you ask.  The officer explains the details of the citizens' reports called in earlier in the day. He was the first law enforcement officer on the scene, got there just before the EMTs, he had photographed the body, taken notes, conducted the brief investigation.  His throat catches.  There are tears in his eyes.  He hates this part of the job.  He tells a few details of the suicide scene.  You need to know this, he says, I'm required to tell you.  The woman reaches out her professional hand to you, offering her version of compassion.  

    1. Observe what's going on inside you right now, as you enter into this scene in your imagination.  What is happening in your body, your thoughts, you emotions, your impulses, your desires? Let yourself enter into this experience
    1. The victims' assistance coordinator is discussing a few details "Things I have to tell you" she says.  Standard protocols in situations like this.  Something about confirming the identity in the morgue, something else about an autopsy.  Something about who you can lean on in your support network family and friends.  Something about how hard this all is to take in at once.  And there are some government forms to fill out.  And a very nicely designed brochure entitled "Surviving the Loss of a Loved One to Suicide" that you get to keep for handy reference.  Do you have any questions at this point she asks?  Yes, we are sure it's your loved one.  The identification was very clear, there is no mistake.  

    1. Stay with this experience for just a minute if you can without losing your grounding.
    1. See if you can just accept what's going on inside -- and acceptance doesn't necessarily mean endorsement -- see if you can accept what's going on inside and really experience it -- the feelings, the impulses, the assumptions, the thoughts, the beliefs, the implications, whatever is coming up.   

    1. Do you notice different parts within you?  Different modes of being, maybe different messages coming to you?
    1. You may just have experienced a taste, a sip of the cup that 300,000 parents, siblings, children and spouses of those who die by suicide experience each year in the US, and millions worldwide.  Hang on to what you learned about your reactions, keep it in mind as we dive deep into suicides devastating impact on those left behind.  [Cue Intro Music]
  9. Opening
    1. Welcome to the podcast Interior Integration for Catholics, thank you for being here with me, it is good to be here with you, I am glad we are together as we face this difficult topic of suicide.  In episode I am clinical psychological Peter Malinoski and you are listening to the Interior Integration for Catholics podcast, where we take on the toughest topics, the most difficult and raw themes that many people want to avoid.  Interior Integration for Catholics is part of our broader outreach Souls and Hearts bringing the best of psychology grounded in a Catholic worldview to you and the rest of the world through our website
    1. This is the fourth in our series on Suicide.
      1. In episode 76, we got into what the secular experts have to say about suicide.
      1. In episode 77, we reviewed the suicides in Sacred Scripture, in the Bible.  

      1. In the last episode, number 78, we sought to really understand the phenomenological worlds of those who kill themselves -- what happens inside?  How can we understand suicidal behaviors more clearly, dispelling myths and gripping on to the sense of desperation and the need for relief that drives so much suicidal behavior.
      1. Today, in Episode 79, released on August 2, 2021 we will take a deep dive into the devastating impact of suicide on those left behind.  We'll go deep into the internal experience of the parents, spouses, children, siblings, and friends of those who killed themselves to see how they experienced suicide.  

    4. Alison Wertheimer: A Special Scar: The Experiences of People Bereaved by Suicide said this: [Suicide] has often far-reaching repercussions for many others. It is rather like throwing a stone into a pond; the ripples spread and spread.  Now, Alison, with all due respect, I think you're totally wrong about that.  It's not just ripples from a stone in a pond. For the spouses, parents, children, siblings and friends who are left behind to deal with the impact of a suicide it's more like a tidal wave resulting from an underwater earthquake than ripples from a stone.  
    5.  Linda Lee Landon -- Author of Life after Suicide said this, which is much more on the money:  Suicide creates a monstrous emotional upsurge of shame and guilt. Everyone participates in feeling responsible and even shamed at knowing the suicidal candidate. 
    6. What those who attempt suicide often don't think about is that suicide is not just an ending.  It's a beginning.  The beginning of many new things for many people, for the ones left behind.  
  1.  Why religions of the world condemn suicide  Article on from June 12, 2018
  1. Mathew Schmalz Associate Professor of Religion, College of the Holy Cross 
Many of the world’s religions have traditionally condemned suicide because, as they believe, human life fundamentally belongs to God.
Many of world’s religions have beliefs that condemn suicide. 
In the Jewish tradition, the prohibition against suicide originated in Genesis 9:5, which says, “And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning.” This means that humans are accountable to God for the choices they make. From this perspective, life belongs to God and is not yours to take. Jewish civil and religious law, the Talmud, withheld from a suicide the rituals and treatment that were given to the body in the case of other deaths, such as burial in a Jewish cemetery, though this is not the case today.
A similar perspective shaped Catholic teachings about suicide. St. Augustine of Hippo, an early Christian bishop and philosopher, wrote that “he who kills himself is a homicide.” In fact, according the Catechism of St. Pius X, an early 20th-century compendium of Catholic beliefs, someone who died by suicide should be denied Christian burial – a prohibition that is no longer observed.
Original Condemnation of Suicide  The Catholic view of suicide developed in the Greco-Roman world where suicide was quite common, easily tolerated, seldom condemned or criticized, sometimes applauded, and quite frequently undertaken for the most trivial of reasons. These teachings developed in protest to the abuse of life manifested in this culture.  Fr. Robert Barry, The Development of the Roman Catholic Teachings on Suicide.  p.  460
The Italian poet Dante Aligheri, in “The Inferno,” extrapolated from traditional Catholic beliefs and placed those who had committed the sin of suicide on the seventh level of hell, where they exist in the form of trees that painfully bleed when cut or pruned.
According to traditional Islamic understandings, the fate of those who die by suicide is similarly dreadful. Hadiths, or sayings, attributed to the Prophet Muhammad warn Muslims against committing suicide. The hadiths say that those who kill themselves suffer hellfire. And in hell, they will continue to inflict pain on themselves, according to the method of their suicide.
In Hinduism, suicide is referred to by the Sanskrit word “atmahatya,” literally meaning “soul-murder.” “Soul-murder” is said to produce a string of karmic reactions that prevent the soul from obtaining liberation. In fact, Indian folklore has numerous stories about those who commit suicide. According to the Hindu philosophy of birth and rebirth, in not being reincarnated, souls linger on the earth, and at times, trouble the living.
Buddhism also prohibits suicide, or aiding and abetting the act, because such self-harm causes more suffering rather than alleviating it. And most basically, suicide violates a fundamental Buddhist moral precept: to abstain from taking life.
  1. Secular positions
    1. “When people kill themselves, they think they're ending the pain, but all they're doing is passing it on to those they leave behind.” ― Jeannette Walls
    1. “Committing suicide essentially said to friends and loved ones and the world at large that you were the only thing that mattered, that your problems were hopeless that you deserved to escape from them and to hell with everyone else.  Suicide was nothing more than a way to look in the eye of the people who loved you and say, "My pain is paramount and I want it to end. The pain you will feel when I am gone, and the guilt you will experience at not having been able to stop me, do not matter to me. I am willing for you to suffer for the rest of your life so that I can take the easy way out of mine.”        ― Christine Warren, You're So Vein
    1. “When you attempt suicide, the counselors try to talk you out of trying it again by asking you about other people, which is good prevention if you care about other people.”― Albert Borris, Crash Into Me 

    1.  Marsha M. Linehan, Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder:  “The desire to commit suicide, however, has at its base a belief that life cannot or will not improve. Although that may be the case in some instances, it is not true in all instances. Death, however, rules out hope in all instances. We do not have any data indicating that people who are dead lead better lives."
    2. Sinead O'Connor -- Irish Singer and Songwriter, history of acts hostile to the Catholic church:  Suicide doesn't solve your problems. It only makes them infinitely, un-countably worse.  
  4. Lack of empathy, hardness, even harshness toward victims of suicide.  The pendulum swings.  No Sin, no crime
    1. Huffington Post article Why You Should Stop Saying ‘Committed Suicide’   Lindsay Holmes
      1. The phrase is stigmatizing in a lot of outdated, insensitive ways.
      1. Simply put, “committed suicide” conveys shame and wrongdoing; it doesn’t capture the pathology of the condition that ultimately led to a death. It implies that the person who died was a perpetrator rather than a victim. 

    1. Stop Saying 'Committed Suicide.'  Say 'Died by Suicide' instead.  by Kevin Caruso
Criminals commit crimes.  Suicide is not a crime.  So STOP SAYING “Committed Suicide.”  That is a term that needs to be expunged completely. It is inaccurate; it is insensitive; and it strongly contributes to the horrible stigma that is still associated with suicide.  A much better term is: “Died by Suicide.”
  1. Gabriel's Light, Carol and Brendon Deely.  :Words have power. It is important that we stop using the word “committed” when talking about suicide. Think about phrases like “commit murder” or “commit adultery.”  The word commit harkens back to beliefs that suicide is a crime or sin.
  2. But suicide is a sin
    1. Sin as breaking divine laws
      1. Baltimore Catechism  #3 Lesson 6:  Q. 278. What is actual sin?  A. Actual sin is any willful thought, word, deed, or omission contrary to the law of God.
      1. 1849 Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as "an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law."

    1. Sins break relationships.  
      1. Jesuit Fr. Andrew Hamilton in a post called "Sin, the Breaking of Relationship" on the website:  I think that the best images from a Christian point of view describe sin in terms of breaches of relationships between people, between people and themselves, between people and the world of which we are part, and between people and God. All those relationships have a proper form of respect that considers all relationships and not just the ones immediately involved in an engagement. In sin these relationships are breached by greed, arrogance, rage, resentment, contempt, fear, lack of due attention, and so on. Because respect is the natural expression of love, sin is always a failure to love.
    2. Breaking of relationship with self -- Love your neighbor as yourself.  -- second great commandment
      1. The person who takes his own life is indeed a victim.  He is the victim of a killing, the one who is killed. But he is also a perpetrator -- the one who did the killing.  

      1. He has a relationship with himself.  A perpetrator - victim relationship.  

    3. Breaking of relationship with others -- a lack of love, a lack of giving of himself
      1. Whether they want to or not, those who suicide break relationships with others.  

      1. The one who suicides may not be capable
      1. But how did he get there. Concern that considering suicide as not a crime or a sin, and looking at it as a disease for example can make it seem as though it springs up from nowhere.   

    5. Case of 17 year old Michelle Carter
      1. Michelle Carter Case: Facts  THE PUZZLE OF INCITING SUICIDE 

Guyora Binder* and Luis Chiesa**
  1. In 2014, 18-year-old Conrad Roy committed suicide, two years after a previous unsuccessful attempt. Police soon discovered that in the preceding week, 17-year-old Michelle Carter, who described Roy as her boyfriend, had sent him many text messages urging him to develop and carry out a plan to kill himself.  Moreover, Carter had pressed Roy to proceed in a phone call when he hesitated  in the very process of killing himself. And yet Carter had originally tried to talk Roy out of suicide, and only changed her position after he persuaded her that nothing else could relieve his misery.  Carter was charged with manslaughter in a Massachusetts juvenile court. The charge was upheld by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and, in 2017, Carter was convicted, and sentenced to a fifteen-month term of imprisonment
  2. Most people recognize that Michelle Carter's actions in this case were wrong.  
  3. If suicide is not a sin, if it's not wrong, if it's just a choice -- why was Michelle Carter convicted?  
  4. Going to look at impact -- impact on parents, spouses, children, and siblings of those who kill themselves.
  5. Definition of parts
    1. Suicide makes so much more sense if we understand each person not as a uniform, monolithic, homogenous, single personality, but rather as a dynamic system including a core self and parts.  That helps to explain so much, including shifts over time.  

    1. Definition of Parts:  Separate, independently operating personalities within us, each with own unique prominent needs, roles in our lives, emotions, body sensations, guiding beliefs and assumptions, typical thoughts, intentions, desires, attitudes, impulses, interpersonal style, and world view.  Each part also has an image of God and also its own approach to sexuality.  Robert Falconer calls them insiders.  You can also think of them as separate modes of operating if that is helpful.  
      1. Not just transient mood states, but whole constellations of all these aspects.  
    2. Parts are seeking some good for us, even when the means they use are maladaptive or harmful.
    3. Three roles
      1. Exiles -- 
        1. most sensitive -- these exiles have been exploited, rejected, abandoned in external relationships
        2. They have suffered relational traumas or attachment injuries
          1. Suicide is an extreme form of  relational trauma, an extreme form of abandonment in relationship.
          1. Suicide can also be experienced, rightly or wrongly, as a form of rejection.
        5. Exiled parts hold the painful experiences that have been isolated from conscious awareness to protect the person from being overwhelmed with the intensity of the experience of the loss of the loved one.  The grief, the pain, the loss, and also the anger and resentment, the shame and the blame.  
        6. Exiled parts desperately want to be seen and known, to be safe and secure, to be comforted and soothed, to be cared for and loved and healed of their wounds, relieved of the burdens that were thrust upon them by the suicide -- and this is true whether or not the person who committed suicide intended harm or not -- even if there was no ill-will, no intention, it's still wounding, it's still harmful.  
        7. Exiled parts want rescue, redemption, healing
        8. And in the intensity of their needs and emotions, they threaten to take over and destabilize the person's whole being, the person's whole system -- they want to take over the raft to be seen and heard, to be known, to be understood.  But they can flood us with the intensity of their experience, with the intensity of the burdens they carry.  
        9. Burdens they carry:  Shame, dependency, worthlessness, Fear/Terror, Grief/Loss, Loneliness, Neediness, Pain, lack of meaning or purpose, a sense of being unloved and unlovable, inadequate, abandoned
        10. All of those can be created or exacerbated by a loved one's suicide
        11. Young parts, not mature ways of thinking
        12. Filters, lenses -- Suicide of a loved one can confirm and strengthen the feelings of intrinsic badness or unworthiness that an exile carries.  

      1. Managers
        1. These are the proactive protector parts.  They work strategically, with forethought and planning to keep in control of situations and relationships to minimize the likelihood of you being hurt.  They work really hard to keep you safe.
        1. "Never again" attitude toward the exiles.  

        1. Very much about reducing risk of overwhelm.  

        1. controlling, striving, planning, caretaking, judging, 

        1. Can be pessimistic, self-critical, very demanding.  

      1. Firefighters
        1. When exiles break through and threaten to take over the system, like in Inside Out, remember the parts and the control panel?  So when these exiles are about the break out, the firefighters leap into action.
        1. It's an emergency situation, a crisis, like a fire raging in a house.
        1. No concern for niceties, for propriety, for etiquette, for little details like that.  

        1. Firefighter take bold, drastic actions to stifle, numb or distract from the intensity of the exile's experiences.  

        1. Intense neediness and grief are overwhelming us!  Emergency actions -- battle stations!   Evasive maneuvers, Arm the torpedoes, Full speed ahead!
        1. No concern for consequences -- don't you get it, we are in a crisis, 

        1. All kinds of addictions -- alcohol use, binge eating, shopping, sleeping, dieting, excessive working or exercise, suicidal actions, self-harm, violence, dissociation, distractions, obsessions, compulsions, escapes into fantasy, and raging.  

        1. Parts can take over the person 

  6. Impact on Parents
    1. Amy Evans, Kathleen Abrahamson 2020 review article Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services:  A systematic review of the literature was conducted to evaluate the impact of public stigma on bereavement of suicide survivors. A total of 11 qualitative and quantitative studies were reviewed. Suicide survivors reported feeling shamed, blamed, and judged. They perceived a general discomfort and awkwardness surrounding the suicide, which contributed to avoidance and secrecy. Higher perceived stigma levels were associated with global psychological distress, depression, self-harm, and suicidality.
    1. Suicide Bearing families report higher levels of rejection, shame, stigma, the need to conceal the loved one’s cause of death, and blaming.
    1. Ilanit Tal: Death Studies 2017 those with complicated grief after suicide had the highest rates of lifetime depression, pre-loss passive suicidal ideation, self-blaming thoughts, and impaired work and social adjustment compared to other causes of death.  

    1. Ultimate failure of parent -- > Shame
    1. Desire to disconnect
    1. 2018 article Parents’ Experiences of Suicide-Bereavement: A Qualitative Study at 6 and 12 Months after Loss  Victoria Ross, Kairi Kõlves,* Lisa Kunde, and Diego De Leo  2018 article International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.  Research in Queensland, Australia.  7 mothers and 7 fathers (no couples) who had lost a child to suicide.  
      1. Death of a child by suicide is a severe trauma, increases risks of psychological and physical symptoms.  Increases risk of internal fragmentation, increasing disconnection among parts.  
      2. Three major themes
        1. Searching for answers and sense making  -- the question of "Why?"  Reflective process
          1. Where there had been no previous indications that the suicide would occur, parents described their feelings of shock and bewilderment, and reflected on their many unanswered questions about the motivations for the suicide. 
            1. From a mother, six months after her son died by suicide:  “There are times when you start to think and you think, why? I mean we had no idea that he’d ever do anything like this, we didn’t think he would. He even said that he would never ever do anything like this, and then to turn around and do it.”  
            2. Father, six months after his son committed suicide:  “You question so much all the time. Because you’re going to naturally question whether it’s you, whether he’s in trouble at uni, money trouble… Maybe he was depressed. I don’t know. We didn’t see any signs... It would’ve been nice to have someone who would’ve had the answers, to tell you the thought processes that could go on. But no one’s really had any idea. Just the questions behind why—give us some ideas why he would’ve done it.”

        1. Coping Strategies and support
          1. Avoidance, e.g. excessive working  
            1. From a father whose child died by suicide 12 months earlier:  “But we don’t really talk about it—if you mean the incident or what happened.”  
            2. Manager activity -- proactive

          1. Excessive drinking to avoid the pain of loss
            1. From a father whose child died by suicide six months earlier:  “It’s the weekly, every day drinking in the week that’s definitely increased. Whereas before, we’d try not drink for three days … but now it’s definitely, at least one bottle to myself, every night.”
            1. Firefighter activity -- reactive

          1. Quote from a mother whose child died by suicide six months earlier: “Like I said, you know, you either collapse under the pile, or you scrabble up with it, dig in your toes, and your fingernails, and even your teeth if you have to, to just rise above it …”  

          1. Adaptive processes -- come more from the self -- engaging with internal experience
            1. Writing letters to children
            1. Celebrating birthdays
            1. Visiting gravesites
            1. Psychotherapy or marital counseling
            1. Support groups

        1. Finding meaning and purpose
          1. Learning process
          1. Reflecting and re-evaluating their lives
          1. Changing priorities
          1. Making positive contributions
          1. Mother , 12 months “I have good days and bad days. It’s horrible, just horrible. There’s probably not a day goes by that I don’t have a cry ... It just doesn’t get any easier.”

        1. Importance of integration. 

  11. Impact on the Spouse
    1. Reactions
      1. Rejection and betrayal
        1. Broken vows, commitments abandoned
        1. Could not look to you for help.
        1. How is this not a breaking of relationship?  

      1. Unspoken criticism stemming from negative judgment
        1. Proactive manager parts asking questions like this -- What was so wrong with the marriage that he would prefer to kill himself?

      1. Shame -- deeply burdensome.  

      1. Guilt -- frantic looking for what I did wrong, in an effort to make sure this never happens to anyone again.  

    1. JAMA Psychiatry Article Yeates Conwell, MD et al. Association Between Spousal Suicide and Mental, Physical, and Social Health Outcomes: A Longitudinal and Nationwide Register-Based Study.  Denmark.  
      1. 3.5 million men (4,814 of whom were bereaved by spousal suicide) and more than 3.5 million women (10,793 of whom who were bereaved by spousal suicide).
      2. Major Findings
        1. Spouses bereaved by a partner's suicide had higher risk than the general population of developing mental health disorders within five years of the loss.
        1. Spouses bereaved by a partner's suicide had elevated risk for developing physical disorders, such as cirrhosis and sleep disorders, which may be attributed to unhealthy coping styles, than the general population.
        2. Spouses bereaved by a partner's suicide were more likely to use more sick leave benefits, disability pension funds and municipal support than the general population.
        3. Compared with spouses bereaved by other manners of death for a partner, those bereaved by suicide had higher risks for developing mental health disorders, suicidal behaviors and death.

  12. Impact on Children
    1. Children are existentially vulnerable and they know it.  It's obvious to them.  

    1. Johns Hopkins researchers: 2010 Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Those who lost a parent to suicide as children or teens were three times more likely to commit suicide than children and teenagers with living parents. However there was no difference in suicide risk when the researchers compared those 18 years and older. Young adults who lost a parent to suicide did not have a higher risk when compared to those with living parents. Children under the age of 13 whose parent died suddenly in an accident were twice as likely to die by suicide as those whose parents were alive but the difference disappeared in the older groups
    1. Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, Commenting on that article:  Even more than an accidental death, a suicide generates horror, anger, shame, confusion, and guilt—all feelings that a child can experience as overwhelming. The biggest risk to a child’s emotional health is not being able, or encouraged, to express these feelings, and get an understanding of what happened that he or she can live with. When a mother who has been depressed commits suicide, for instance, we want that understanding to be that she suffered from a mental illness, a disorder in her brain that caused her death, despite the efforts of those who loved her to save her.
    1. Guidance: The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health teaching hospital and one of the world's leading research centres in its field. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto
      1. Did I do something to make this happen?  Is it my fault
      1. If I'd only done what Mom asked me to do."  "If I hadn't fought with my brothers so much." 

Manager parts -- seeking to prevent future tragedy
  1. Could I have prevented Mom's suicide
  2. What could I have done differently?
  3. Will I die by suicide too?
  4. Are you going to die, too?  Will I be left alone?
  5. If I die by suicide too, will I see mom again?  
  6. Why am I so sad?  Will I be sad forever?
  7. After the death of a parent, children may also feel:
    lost or empty.
  1. When will it stop hurting?  When will I feel better
Suicide is never anyone’s fault. This message needs to be repeated over and over again.
  1. Damaging to self esteem --  I was not worth living for.  Loss of protection, caregiver, mentor.  
  2. Impact on Siblings
    1. Taylor Porco's brother, Jordan, died by suicide  National Public Radio August 25, 2017 "I was really depressed and in such extreme pain. Nothing, literally, mattered to me after he died. All I wanted was my brother back. I never loved someone as much as I loved him," she says.
      1. Siblings have deep, protective bonds.  Shared experience of sharing parents.  

    1. Psychotherapist Leah Royden Psychology Today February 15, 2019  -- Lost her brother to suicide when she was 21.  
      1. It’s confusing, painful, and hard—with more challenges than "normal" bereavement.
        1. A marked sense of guilt and responsibility around the death -- often carried by exiles but also by managers
        1. Intense anger, stemming from a deep sense of rejection and abandonment -- the exiles, but also the firefighters
        1. Feelings of shame and worthlessness -- exiles.  

        1. Overwhelming anxiety and fear -- this is the exiles breaking through.  

      4. Siblings suffer intensely—and they also tend to suffer invisibly -- attention tends to go to the parents.  
        1. surviving siblings “often find themselves not only neglected, but expected to put their needs aside in order to spare their parents further distress” (1992 dissertation by Ariate S. Rakic, 1992, p. 2).
          1. Rakic:  Even though they shared many demographic similarities, the sibling survivor group were operating at well below their potential. While the other bereaved siblings were taking positive, active steps towards a secure future, “all the siblings in the suicide group … envisioned a narrow range of possibilities for success, and blamed themselves for the decisions and choices that proved to be detrimental to their lives.”
        3. Royden:  presence of anger towards the dead sibling—let alone its expression—is usually viewed as highly inappropriate and unacceptable, even in families that can speak relatively freely about emotions.
      5. There’s usually no space to talk within the family—and nowhere to talk outside of it either.  I would add not a place to have an internal dialog about it all.  
      6. The loss can cast a very long shadow, affecting the siblings’ sense of security in the future, in relationships, and in life itself.
      7. Many siblings eventually create meaningful, purposeful lives out of this emotional nightmare—with a greater sense of perspective and empathy.

  3. Impact on the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ
    1. 1 Corinthians 12 12-14 

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 
 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 
  1. As Catholics, we are all in relationship with each other.  If one of us dies by suicide, it's not just some isolated choice but a separate person, with no impact.  We are part of the same body.  The mystical body of Christ.  There's a real loss there.  
  1. Action Items
    1. If you are having suicidal thoughts or know of someone who is, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911. 

    1. Subscribe to this podcast -- like it on social media, leave reviews on Apple Podcasts or whatever podcast platform you use.  

    1. Resilient Catholics Community.  

    1. Catholic's Guide to Helping a Loved One in Distress
    1. Conversation hours T, R 317.567.9594   

    1. Pray for me and for the other listeners
  4. Patronness and patron

What is Interior Integration for Catholics?

In the Interior Integration for Catholics podcast, together, we seek fundamental transformation in our lives through human formation, via Internal Family Systems approaches grounded in a Catholic worldview. Join us as we sail through uncharted waters, seizing the opportunities for psychological and spiritual growth and increasing resilience in the natural and spiritual realms. With a clear takeaway message and one action in each weekly episode, you can move from dreading what is happening to you to rising above it. Join us on Mondays for new episodes. You can also check out the Resilient Catholics Community which grew up around this podcast at