Today was suicide prevention day and a lot of our discussions centred around it. We looked at behaviours, either our own, or somebody else’s. How we behave is a choice. Sometimes the boundaries around unacceptable behaviour can become clouded when there is illness involved. Whilst you may have compassion and concern for someone who is ill, that does not make it acceptable for that person to mistreat you. Sometimes we need to let people know that it is not acceptable for them to shout at us, not listen to us, belittle or undermine us. It is important for people to have good boundaries, as it can help you and others keep safe.
As to our own behaviours, we can sometimes recognise that although we may have found a behaviour which helps us to cope, it may be destructive or damaging for ourselves and others. Sometimes the behaviour that we turn to actually results in really unpleasant consequences, and if we can find a way to think of these consequences in that moment of deciding to take a risk or not, this may prevent that habitual behaviour.
The group talked and challenged one another about how family and children are affected by our unhelpful coping mechanisms. For example, if we choose to drink the night away, children’s meals are not prepared, homework doesn’t get done and school clothes don’t get washed and all of this has a knock on effect on the child’s performance at school, friendships and general wellbeing. People in the group used the consequences of their actions as a way of deterring them from that behaviour and finding a new, more effective coping strategy. We also chatted about the times people resisted destructive behaviour and how they managed to push through difficult emotions in another way, which may be just sitting on your hands and having a rough emotional journey, but knowing this will pass. The more you do this, the more you will see you do not need the destructive behaviour, you can cope, you can get through it.