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by Nemislenina

noctuabunda in science_beta

psychology question - suicide

Hi everyone,

I'm planning on writing a story where one of the characters kills himself.
He is a lifelong victim of abuse by his father, hates himself for being gay and was just betrayed by the one person he absolutely trusted.

I've once heard that certain methods of suicide are associated with certain motives... for example Kurt Cobain using a shotgun to his face meant a high level of aggression towards himself, hanging oneself means you're ashamed and so on. Is that true or amateur-psychological BS? (I'm beginning to think it is, because I couldn't find anything on that particular topic.)

If it's true, what would an 'appropriate' method be for the abovementioned case? He doesn't have that many options cause he's in jail (thanks to the betrayal), so I guess all he really can do is slash his wrists or hang himself or maybe OD on drugs.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! I'd hate to ruin a scene that's sensitive enough as it is with an unrealistic description-


You may want to try posting your question at little_details. The comm is full of helpful people answering questions from fic writers, and has an extensive and useful tag list. Just make sure to read the posting rules about what searches/research you've already done. Good luck. :)
thanks for the tip! Joined the comm; even though my question is answered now. :)
I haven't read an specific studies on suicide profiling, but what you're talking about sounds an awful lot like killer profiling, or looking at the method used to identify the killer. Knives and multiple stab wounds indicate rage and personal relationship. Placement of the body, particularly post-mortem dressing and making the victim look "nice" often indicates remorse. And then there's organized/disorganized killers. Organized often plans everything and shadows victim, disorganized tends to be more of a crime of opportunity, more emotional, possibly a little sloppier.

It sounds like your victim has a lot of rage about his identity. Identity about himself as a man, as a son, as a person. It depends on what the state of mind is when he kills himself. Is it a grief filled, "I can't take this anymore," impulse, and by impulse, I mean impulse. A bridge is there and he drives off the side. He gets drunk and winds up on the roof...he walks out into traffic, stuff like that. Is he looking for a way to end his pain?

Or is he so angered by the betrayal that it's the match to a long simmering powder keg. Not only is he going to end his pain, he's going to make as much collateral damage as possible when he goes. It's a revenge killing, only he's the victim.

There is no way, in his mind, back from the horror his life has become. Is he looking to payback everyone who has hurt him? If he's so unimportant to these people in his life - a thing to be used and betrayed, whose feelings are unimportant - he may want to offer the one and only fuck you he's ever been able to give. Maybe he'll kill himself at his father's place of business, a place where his father is respected and no one knows he's a monster.

Maybe he'll do something that will expose and humiliate both the people who wronged him and also erase his pain. Because that's what he's doing. They started erasing his identity, his value, and now, maybe he feels that the only option he has left, the only way he has control over his life, is to choose the time he leaves.

He'd probably choose something violent and to the head. Erase who he is. Hope that helps.
So not really BS then... hm, thanks for clearing that up.
And even though most of the methods you mentioned aren't available to him (as I said in the post, he's in prison), you've really helped me a lot with your thoughts on his motivation and feelings; and with choosing a method from his limited range. Thank you very much for your help!
I"m a Psych major, I recently took a class that dealt with suicide, I personally have never seen any research that showed a connection between methods of suicide and personal issues, so I'd say chances are, even if it's true, right now that information isn't coming from the scientific community. It's also an extremely difficult study to conduct given that you can't analyze someone in retrospect AND to be taken seriously a study needs ot be reproduced many many times.

There is data however that methods of sucide differ stastically between women and men, and there are theories about why that is, but it's not segregated by personal issue, but by gender.

Having said that, I think any method of suicide in a fictional narrative can be made to seem 'appropriate' - hanging yourself cos you're asheamed, shooting yourself cos you're ashemaed and don't want to have recognizable remains left, slashing your writsts cos you wanna suffer for your shame as long as possible, etc.