Psychology behind suicide
By MILENA STOŠIĆ (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We asked Tony White, well known psychotherapist and author of the book Working with suicidal individuals to comment their suicide notes, also in light of speculating circumstances around these deaths. With the limited information at hand it is impossible to provide rigorous understanding of the psychology of these people, but one can find out what suicide notes in general can tell us. What driven these famous individuals to commit suicide is in area of guessing, but here is what their last words possibly can reveal.
Adolf Hitler (20th April 1889 - 30th April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party, most well known for his central leadership role in the rise of fascism in Europe, World War II and the Holocaust. The last will and testament of Adolf Hitler was dictated by Hitler to his secretary Traudl Junge in his Berlin Führerbunker on April 29, 1945, the day he and Eva Braun married. They committed suicide the next day (April 30), two days before the surrender of Berlin to the Soviets on May 2, and just over a week before the end of World War II in Europe on May 8. It is usually interpreted that this act is consequence of his determination to avoid capture.
The Last Will
As I did not consider that I could take responsibility, during the years of struggle, of contracting a marriage, I have now decided, before the closing of my earthly career, to take as my wife that girl who, after many years of faithful friendship, entered, of her own free will, the practically besieged town in order to share her destiny with me. At her own desire she goes as my wife with me into death. It will compensate us for what we both lost through my work in the service of my people.
What I possess belongs - in so far as it has any value - to the Party. Should this no longer exist, to the State; should the State also be destroyed, no further decision of mine is necessary.
My pictures, in the collections which I have bought in the course of years, have never been collected for private purposes, but only for the extension of a gallery in my home town of Linz on Donau.
It is my most sincere wish that this request may be duly executed.
I nominate as my Executor my most faithful Party comrade, Martin Bormann. He is given full legal authority to make all decisions. He is permitted to take out everything that has a sentimental value or is necessary for the maintenance of a modest simple life, for my brothers and sisters, also above all for the mother of my wife and my faithful co-workers who are well known to him, principally my old Secretaries Frau Winter etc. who have for many years aided me by their work.
I myself and my wife - in order to escape the disgrace of deposition or capitulation - choose death. It is our wish to be burnt immediately on the spot where I have carried out the greatest part of my daily work in the course of a twelve years' service to my people.
Tony White's comments
This is interesting for a number of reasons. It illustrates the type of statement that is part suicide note and part last will and testament. These are typically like an unemotional business letter as compared to the next suicide note which is highly emotional.
This is not a good sign if one finds a loved ones suicide note that is business like in its style. Firstly, it indicates the person still has well functioning cognition or thinking ability. If this is the case then they can employ that clear thinking in planning a suicide attempt in the same manner. Thus the suicide attempt is more likely to be being completed compared to the spontaneous and not well thought out suicide attempt.
Secondly, it indicates this person has made the decision to end their life and it is just a matter of time until the planning is finalised and the attempt will occur. The ambivalence of "I want to die vs I don't want to die" that most suicidal people have is not apparent. This person is clear they have made the decision to end their life.
This most often happens over an extended period of time. The individual, in this case Adolf Hitler, may have made a series of decisions over years where he slowly backed himself into a corner where the only way out, in his mind, was to end his own life. This is usually done initially at an unconscious level but can become much more conscious as the time draws closer. The person finds them self caught up in a situation created by them (and now all those around them) and can see no way of getting out of it. They suddenly realise they are on a fast moving train and can see now way of getting off.
At the beginning they cannot see where all this is heading but as they proceed on it becomes more obvious. Other examples of this can be with financial ruin. The person makes a series of decisions over a long period of time where the likelihood of financial ruin becomes more likely. Eventually it happens and they take their own life.
Some do the same with a loss of reputation. The politician or high profile person engages in what is very unwise behavior often of a sexual nature. Eventually they are exposed and their reputation is ruined. This is same reason why pedophiles are a high risk group for suicide attempts. They behave in a way over time which significantly increases the risk of being found out. When they finally are they feel they have no way to turn, their reputation is ruined and thus they make an attempt on their life.
The point here in the suicide note of Adolf Hitler is it reflects a business like approach to making a suicide attempt. This commonly results from a protracted set of decisions made by the person which slowly but surely backs them into a corner, such that they can only see one way out.