Many don’t think of threats of suicide being a part of domestic violence, but it’s a very common tactic used by abusers to make the victim/survivor feel they are responsible. Threats of suicide may allow the abuser to maintain control over the victim/survivor.
Threats of suicide often occur when the victim/survivor is getting ready to leave or has already left the abusive situation. Often the abuser will include the children in his threat by indicating they will do it in front of them, or in extreme cases threaten to kill the children and/or the victim first before taking their own lives. It’s so common that it’s included in the power and control wheel, a tool used by advocates and victims to help identify the types of abuse they have been experiencing.
Victims/survivors need to know that they are not responsible for these threats nor are they responsible if the threats are carried through. This is a choice made by the abuser to maintain power and control.
Resources are available at Turningpoint to help individuals, families, and community members understand the complex issue of domestic violence.
Alena Taylor, Domestic Violence Services Coordinator