This is an impossible and un-keepable promise.
I remember talking to a friend of Charles’ who had attempted suicide and saying something like this. When we say, “Don’t do that again,” we think it lets the other person know how much we care.
We want them to guarantee they won’t hurt or scare us again and we can’t imagine life without them and want them to know that. We hope we are communicating we’d miss them when they are gone. But I think the person to whom I said it felt shamed at a point when she already felt that way.
After a suicide attempt, survivors often feel embarrassed. I think that’s why some of us feel angry when someone completes a suicide. We take it personally. How could they do that to us?
But it’s not about us. It’s not personal. And it’s not because we didn’t love them enough.
Suicidal thinking is not rational moment. It’s hard to understand that if we don’t suffer those intense thoughts.
Think of it like a heart attack. Would you ever tell someone who had a heart attack not to have one again and expect them to keep that promise?