Coping with Blame: Advice for Survivors of Suicide Loss

For those who have experienced the harrowing nightmare of the loss of a loved one to suicide: I am sorry.

I feel your pain. You thought there could be nothing as painful or confusing as the loss of your loved one to suicide, until….

You encountered the blame game.

I think we have all been there. At least most of us. We long for comfort and love from our fellow loved ones left behind, only to face a finger pointed in our direction from those same persons.

Yes, I have been there more times than I care to remember…. finding a finger pointed at me. I have either literally encountered the words “it’s your fault”, regarding my brother’s death, or had it implied, and have watched other beloved family members encounter the same.

It is perplexing. It is outrageous. It is ridiculous. It is unfair.

So how do you navigate it? How do you cope? How do you respond to the most painful, hateful, despicable words and attitudes pummeled in your direction?

It is simple…

You don’t.

Take a lesson from my mistakes. I have tried pleading, reasoning, acquiescing, apologizing, you name it. None of that  works. Like a victim of an armed robbery, with a gun pointed towards them, throw your hands in the air in surrender, and slowly back out of the room. Escape with your sanity. Get as far away from that person, physically, emotionally, psychologically, as you can possibly get. DO NOT ENGAGE. Do not respond. Do not pass go. Just get far, far, far, far, away from that person for now. They may have to be absent from your life for a long, long time (until they come to their senses), or just a brief amount of time, the timeline is completely up to you.

It is excruciating. It is sad. You will miss them. But you, and they, are not without help…

Pray for them. They are hurting. They are coming from a place of despair and unthinkable self-hatred and self-blame. It is easier for them to project it onto you than to face it head on and cope with it themselves. Beneath it all, they are experiencing harrowing guilt, that they are either totally in denial of, or extremely uncomfortable with….They are looking for a fight, for emotional release. Don’t give it to them! It will only lead to more hurt and confusion, and will make a bad situation worse.

I know, their pain and self-blame are no excuse… because all survivors of suicide loss are feeling self-blame, including you. You would never do the same to them or to anybody else… you know it’s no one’s fault…

Good for you! You have better things to do…like go out into the world and spread love and happiness and joy and work hard to prevent further suicides….

With prayer, with God, I have faith they will come back around to us. But until that time…engaging with them can not have a happy ending..

For now…

This is where your fellow survivors of suicide loss come in. Cry with them. Hold them. Scream if you have to. Vent. Listen to the song below and emote. Do whatever you have to do to keep your sanity. Be there for one another.

Perhaps I sound cold when I suggest escaping from the blamers. That is not at all my intent. It is for both parties sake that you must excuse yourself from the conflict. You have endured enough pain, enough blame from yourself. You do not need that to be reinforced by others. And they need to face their own feelings of internal conflict, in order to master them and come out on the other side of the darkness stronger and wiser. They can’t do that as long as they have someone else to project their conflicting feelings onto. It will hinder their progress.

This is a blog about beauty, fashion, and mental health. At times it is cheerful, encouraging, and uplifting. At times it is emotional, chilling, and raw. That is the deck of cards we survivors have been dealt. I try to tie things up with a beauty/fashion metaphor in every blog in order to lighten up the mood and brightens things up a bit. This is a subject that is so painful, however, so excruciating, there is no way to lighten it up. Besides, all the mascara in the world won’t make it better and will only melt down your cheeks from the tears and the pain…

I wish there had been a handbook for  suicide survivors when I made the mistakes that I made. But there wasn’t…. so for now, it is goodbye to those who lay blame…and perhaps it may need to be for you as well…

Until you meet again, in happier times:  you must slowly back away, with your hands up in  surrender… Escape, flee, run

Into the arms of your Savior, your Higher Power, who will love and comfort you…and ease your pain.

Finally, visualization is a powerful tool toward inner peace and future change, along with prayer. Listen to this song, and visualize the one who has hurt you singing the appropriate lines to you, with you singing yours back. Follow with a prayer for reconciliation. It will help you to have empathy for them, and just may send out a message to the universe that you are open for reconciliation when things can be dealt with more fairly and delicately. With God in our hearts, there is no hurt that can’t be healed, no chasm that can’t be filled, and no conflict that can’t eventually be reconciled.

If the one pointing fingers of blame is you toward yourself, give yourself a break. It is not your fault.

God’s peace, my friends….




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I am a wife, mother, RN, make-up artist, and musician, who also happens to have a mood disorder. Fortunately, I will not let the latter define me. I am also a survivor of suicide loss. This website is dedicated to my brother, Jefferson Joseph Blanton-Harris ("Joey"). This site is to share thoughts about beauty, fashion, and most of all, mental health. Because fabulousness starts with good mental health! ~"I only want to see you laughing in the Purple Rain" - Prince

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