The Blame Game by Brook Sanders

posted in: Uncategorized | 8

It is human nature to be curious. “Why?” is the most commonly asked question among any age group. When someone dies by suicide, people automatically want to know why. There has to be a reason. Who did what to them? Someone had to have pissed them off. Thus starts the blame game. It’s the spouse’s fault, it’s the mother’s fault, it’s the child’s fault. It has to be someone’s fault. Everyone NEEDS someone to blame for their loved one’s death. Oftentimes, the family bands together and the spouse or partner, as the outsider, is the source of blame. I have seen it all. I have experienced it all. I have been on the receiving end of it all.

My boyfriend died by suicide. I was blamed for his death, even though I had nothing to do with it. I was not the last one to be with him, nor was I the last one to talk to him. We were on good terms. We had a great day the last day he was alive! Somehow when the family started talking and couldn’t find a single reason for blame (surely not the alcoholism, not the mental illness, not the plethora of reasons it might have actually been), I was clearly the obvious choice of the blame. It stung at first. It downright hurt. These people, just a few weeks prior, hugged me at the cemetery and told me to call if I needed anything at all because they were “so worried about me.” Now, I am suddenly shunned and I truly have no idea why. No one even had the courtesy to tell me why or what they think it is that I did. I can’t even defend myself.


I know immediately that I have two choices. I can let it drive me mad. I can let it consume me and every last bit of my daily life. Or, I can let it go. Do these people’s opinions of me really matter? How does their hate for me stop me in my tracks? The answer, friends, is that it cannot unless I allow it to. They have zero power over me. It has taken me some time to realize that they are grieving and hurting just as much as I am. Actually, more than I am because they refuse to heal. At the end of the day, if blaming me helps them sleep better at night, then so be it. I can take it. I made the decision to block them from social media, from my cell phone, from my life. I removed them from my life just as though I had never met them. I removed myself from my boyfriend’s memorial Facebook page. It hurt like hell to do so, but my life is so much easier now. If I don’t see the negativity, it can’t bring me down. You see, I forgive them. I hold no ill will against them. I have found peace in my heart. I know you can too, friends.

8 Responses

  1. Karen
    | Reply

    Thank you so much. This is an area that I have not been able to reconcile. I keep going round and round trying to answer “why” to my beloved 18-year old son’s sudden departure. I either blame myself or others, even the school my son went to. I am trying to learn to give my “whys” to God , and not try to figure out ” the” answer. I cannot say that I have reached that point yet, but you expressing your experience helped. I am so sorry for your loss.

  2. Lynne
    | Reply

    Perfect! You are a wise woman. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Dianna
    | Reply

    My heart breaks for you. Being a survivor of a loved one’s suicide is hard enough. Getting blamed by the people who should all be supporting you and each other has got to be excruciating. The person with the decision making power was your boyfriend; and I’m so sorry that his choice has hurt you and so many others. But you are right, it is not your fault. I hope you have found a support group of fellow survivors of suicide or a counselor. You deserve a safe place to grieve where you will not be judged. I hope for many blessings for you in the future.

  4. Starla
    | Reply

    Oh what wonderful words. You are a gift.

  5. Kelly
    | Reply

    Beautifully written Brook. 🙂 The blame game is a horrible experience without a doubt.

  6. Tammy
    | Reply

    Wow thank you for this! I, too, am on the receiving end of blame. I have been blamed for my brothers suicide by my own father and it has been crushing. I know in my head that I had nothing to do with his choices but in my heart it hurts to think the man (my dad) that is supposed to love and protect me is now hurting me most is very devastating. I have also had to cut him out of my life as it has become too toxi for myself and my children. I appreciate your words and your honesty. It’s nice to know sometimes we are not alone in our grief and in our pain.

  7. Yolanda DUGAN
    | Reply

    I had only one person to blame and that us my daughter’s partner. My daughter told me why she was moving back to her apartment she had only moved one month prior because her partner moved her 18 year old son in and told my Daughter of she didn’t like it to move out. Then the unforgivable happened, her partner rejected her again! The Valentine Day bouquet of flowers was found next to her dead body, a card addressed to her partner..and she left her a 5000 check she cashed a week later!

  8. Jo Mozer
    | Reply

    I was blamed too. At the funeral they told the minister to say that my husband died of a ‘broken heart’ (because we had split up)… ie…my fault. I feel same as you, not angry, not even surprised.

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