Emotional context

This family member is going through a divorce with their ex dragging this divorce out as painfully long as possible so that by the time the divorce is finished they do not have to pay a penny towards child support.

In addition to attempting this they have also been stealing this family members' belongings. As for circumstances I'd rather not give both the ex's and family member's belongings have been moved to a company with joint ownership between the ex and family member. Police have been contacted but since the "property belongs to both of them" there is nothing the police can do.

After having one of their friends kick them out of a flat that was owned by their friend and promised to this family member as a place to stay (rented out to this family member) the family member found a job elsewhere and managed to find love and a partner who loved them. Now recently after I was introduced to this new partner they have quite sadly committed suicide. They are looking to me for some sort of emotional support as they have been through a lot within the past 2 years of their ex tormenting them by thievery and bad luck with their friends.

The question

How can I go about bringing around the best possible solution, which is that I stay where I am, giving continual support throughout the day and whenever possible, while also being able to calm this family member down and prevent suicide?

Additional Information

  • This family member has already called me and told me they are "extremely sad" and "do not know what to do with their life as it is" and "want to quit their current job"

  • The family member is my mum. I am her son and have a younger brother. The ex is my biological father, the same applies to my brother.

  • As her ex is not supporting the children she is burdened with this and tasked with finding some sort of accommodation for her children.

  • Despite having the choice to be able to live with her ex, and although the ex has rooms enough for my brother and I, he often has people to come round and stay in the rooms for my brother and I.

  • A reason why she doesn't want my brother living with her ex is because he has a loud mouth and lets things slip which will be of benefit to her ex in the divorce settlement or in general. For example my brother may state that she has a job and lives at so and so, which allows the ex to tell their solicitor that my mum is working and that she should receive less in this settlement because of that.

  • Previously it has been said by my brother that her ex hit my brother and hence he does not want to live with the ex (although it may have to be a choice soon if my mum cannot accommodate for us both)

  • In addition to my brother having been abused by her ex there is no sort of privacy at all in the ex's place. Despite giving us keys to our rooms they have a set of master keys which allow them to enter whenever he likes and they have already intruded when asked not to both by my brother and I using their master key.

  • She said halfway through that she wanted to commit suicide due to the fact that she was never going to get anyone ever like the partner ever again and life was not worth living thanks to this. Suppose that I suggested she go to the hospital or immediately get some help, then she may have gone through with it before I could call any emergency service to stop herself from going through with it. Instead my plan of attack and action was as the lone answer below had suggested. Which was to talk about the future and steer away from that conversation.

  • I just got 2 calls today from a good friend she worked under who has taken her under their wing for now. This good friend gave me a call and expressed to me urgently that I should come back because (like my uncle expressed who I will come onto in a second) there's no knowing what she'll do alone.

  • My uncle gave me a call and too urgently expressed that we, her children and everyone else, are there for her and that her children need her(to try and make her feel more wanted). He expressed also that I need to text her and call her more.

  • I have now considered the option best for me which would be to stay where I am, continue to keep going with the revision lectures and coursework ongoing and call her every so often and keep the texts going however I suspect this is not enough. I have begun to search for some cheaper train tickets to go back and see her in person. However I fear that I will not achieve the target of calming her down and getting her to relax and stabilise enough before I can go back for some final revision sessions with the lecturers I have and still be well prepared for the exams setting me up for hopefully a good placement in the 3rd year of my time at uni. My brother is absolutely a no go as he has his exams to go through.

  • I have just called samaritans and have had a lengthy talk about the current issues at hand. Hopefully I will be able to convince my mum to talk to these people and get her on the road to recovery.

  • I've received a text from uncle which said that she's living on for her children for now. However she has texted my uncle "I'm just so tired. I don't want to fight their father anymore. I just want peace and quiet. If I'm allowed to die then don't know have to think anymore and there is no pain."Uncle has suggested that the time is a little to early to get her to call samaritans.

  • Just called my mum again and she's still very much attached to him after he recently passed away. Tried to keep reassuring her that my uncle, her good friend, my brother and I are always there for her and we're here to support her every step of the way. Told her to give it some time, take things slow and do things 1 at a time and to take a break go to a spar and relax. Despite all this she kept bringing it back to her deceased partner and how much she loved him etc.

  • I'm 19 years old

  • I do believe my ex can not stretch this part of the settlement any longer and the next hearing will be around June I believe.

  • How old are you? Do you live with your Mum?
    – Awesome
    Commented Apr 24, 2018 at 1:44
  • 7
    @ben, I'm so sorry you're going through this. This really seems like an issue that requires professional consultation, and may require a professional intervention to help your mother; we are not equipped to help here. You also deserve support, and I'm glad you've talked with the Samaritans. You can also call a suicide hotline to talk through these kind of issues. If calling is not good, you can chat with them live online. We wish you the best. Commented Apr 25, 2018 at 17:11
  • 1
    @ben it would be quite nice if you told us your age . Because having and not having your own job can make a lot of difference to the answer
    – M. S. L
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 11:49
  • 1
    Maybe there is a way to make the whole process of divorce quicker, it may be worth trying asking at Law.SE or to your mum's lawyer Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 7:16

1 Answer 1


After carefully reading about the difficult situation, and seeing your three choices, the most noble is #3, where you give a good response; you will likely be asked for more emotional support but that is a gamble you could take.

Option #1 is the least favorable because you could not tell yourself "at least I tried".

Option #2 is possible but not if you are tactful and look for information on how to answer to this type of situation.

Usually when a person is depressed or suicidal, all you can do is be gentle (nor argumentative), try to show that you understand their point of view (even if you don't), and tell them that there will be a way out and things will be OK. Anything with hope and reassurance. Also if you have a religious belief, you can't go wrong having that as support.

As good reading, you could try "Stalling for Time" by Gary Noesner, although it's a little heavy but shows good examples of negotiation and dialog in hard situations.

Best of luck.

  • 3
    @ben Also, remember that when someone is considering suicide, it's not actually because of anything you are doing or not doing. If your mother is still talking about wishing to die, it is important to get professional help. This is unfortunately above our pay grade as a volunteer site, and it is not something you need to take on alone. Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 22:05

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