There is a guy I have known for nearly ten years. A quiet man who obviously lives with a lot of frustration. He is in his late fifties, has no children, has never been married and lives alone. I know a few things about him that have really made my heart bleed for him on more than one occasion.
From the little I have gathered about him, based on the stories he has told me about his life, it is obvious that he really has a hard time with himself. As we have talked throughout the years, he has told me about the circumstances that have brought him to where he is today. An abusive father and stepmother, two very successful brothers, his battles with drugs and alcohol over the years, a very unhealthy understanding of his Christian faith and the death of a close friend. There is more, but I can’t remember specific details. He also has a lot of anger issues, and knowing him like I do, I can understand. He breaks things, punches holes in walls, destroys his car, sometimes fails to take care of himself, and truly talks negatively about himself. The classic tell-tale signs of depression, and a lot of bottled-up frustration.
Myself, and many others have tried to talk to him. He has many different people who want to help him, but their words seem to roll off of his back like water from feathers. Nothing really soaks in. We are not professionals, and we aren’t trying to fix him. We simply care about him and know that he could have a better life. We try to encourage him and boost his morale to keep him moving in a positive direction, but he quickly loses hope within himself. He has been beaten down for so many years that it is nearly impossible for him to find any other way. He doesn’t know how.
There is a place that he goes to very often. He talks to a guy on the stool next to him who has “great advice” for him. We have all heard about the wise man on more than one occasion. He is a guy who has a good paying job, has a lot of investments and a great retirement plan. He likes to tell our friend how to live life. Our friend will tell us about the things that he has told him, and we just look at each other with bewildered looks. We cannot believe how this guy treats our friend, and how this guy feeds off of his ignorance!
You see, our friend has made a lot of poor choices over the years when it comes to money. The IRS is constantly hounding him. He plays the lottery with hopes of hitting the jackpot, so he can retire and pay off his high debt. Our friend is not rational in a lot of ways. But this guy, this guy that he calls a friend, sits on his bar stool and feeds these things to our buddy that only brings him even lower than he was just minutes before! A “good friend” he is.
I was speaking with our friend the other day and he’d told me about the bar stool buddy stating that he could cash out his investments and live like a king. The guy obviously knows our friend’s situation financially, and it hurt my heart to hear the story. What hurt even more is what my friend said later on within our conversation. He said, “Maybe I will die today so I can get out of this #&%…” It was an ending that consisted of cursing, mumbling and him walking away. I know my friend well enough to know that his good buddy; the guy who is “there for him” as they drink together, made him feel like a worthless human for being broke. He just fueled my friend’s lack of self-worth, his depression, and probably stirred up all of those lingering emotions that keep him in a place of misery.
It’s not the first time we have heard him talk about ending his life. It probably doesn’t help that he confides in a guy who most likely laughs at his unbeknown ignorance. What a life to live. All that we can do is pray. All that we can do is encourage, and share laughs and with our friend. There is nothing else that we can do. He has made a lot of poor choices, but he has been beaten down for so long that he really doesn’t know any other way.
We have to keep building people up instead of tearing them down. We lose so many people to suicides from the abuse that they receive from others. Their insecurities, lack of knowledge, self-worth and mental state all plays a huge role in their rational decisions. It just sucks to know that I was once a huge jerk like the guy on the bar stool when I was growing up, and it was because of the same pain that my friend is going through. The internal anger. Rage. Thoughts of self-harm. I would take it out on others because I didn’t know what to do with the bottled-up emotions. I needed to release them, somehow. I wonder if my friend’s buddy on the barstool is also hurting inside, and his internal pain is causing him to abuse our buddy?