Suicide is such a destructive force. It robs not only the victim of his/her life, but the economy and colleagues, and friends. Most bitingly it destroys the children. It leaves a horrendous shadow that many kids of suicide victims must live under and can’t overcome. They turn to alcohol, drugs, self-destructive tendencies, and perhaps, suicide themselves to cope with it. Today, we are specifically going to address the alarming suicide epidemic of divorced men.
Suicide Epidemic of Divorced Men
Why the suicide epidemic of divorced men? Because this is disproportionately the highest suicide rate in America. Per the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Of the 44,000 suicides committed in American in 2016, 34,000 were men over the age of 25. The large majority of those were divorced men. Another way to look at that stat is that 115 men commit suicide daily. This is an astonishing fact.
Some would say that the suicide epidemic of divorced men is not that big of a deal. We should lament more the suicide of a teenager. Indubitably, a child taking his/her life is an utter tragedy since he/she has his/her life ahead of them. The potential of a life unlived snuffed out before his/her prime.
The argument may be that a middle-aged man has lived his life and due to whatever circumstances decided to end it. He lived his live…oh well. But before we look deep down at the potential causes of the suicide epidemic of divorced men, let’s quickly glance at how that suicide affects the family of the middle-aged man.
Those children may now live in poverty. Perhaps the man didn’t have a life insurance policy. Perhaps he didn’t have a job. In addition to the emotional and psychological tumult those children will have to endure, their financial prospects may be dire.
Let’s look in particular at the suicide epidemic of divorced men. Why are middle-aged men, most of which are divorced, taking up 75% of all suicides? I can’t be absolutely sure as to the reasons, but I could posit some theories.
Addictions abound in America right now, especially among the middle-age man. The one rapturing the attention and grip of America now is the opioid one. Fentanyl, Hydrocodone, Morphine, whichever form it takes, it is wreaking havoc on America, in particular rural, low-income middle-age men.
The reasons are myriad. For a simple work injury a man is given a prescription for Vicodin. He gets hooked on it since the habit-forming potential of hydrocodone is like lotus-eating in the Odyssey. Once hooked it is extremely difficult to get off of it. Even if the scripts run dry because he has been blacklisted from doctor’s offices, he will just go to the streets to get either prescription opioids or the natural ones, like heroine. It’s all the same to the addict and the body. Learn more about the Opioid crisis by listening to one of our Holistic Health News (HHN) episodes below:
This addiction may result in the loss of his job. Maybe he is a clean-cut, abstemious man who loses his job due to cutbacks or a mistake at the job. Either way, job loss is destructive to men. What does this have to do with the suicide epidemic of divorced men? MEN ARE DEFINED BY THEIR WORK.
Simply put, women may be said to be more defined by their children and beauty, but for men it is output. Men find meaning in work…the idea of providing for himself and his “tribe.” The loss of a job steals that purpose leaving many men afloat in nihilism and depression. Some of these men get back on their feet by finding a better or equal job, but given the economy most of these men become underemployed leading to feelings of worthlessness and depression. Many of them might become divorced because of it.
The most insidious and sad of the reasons for the suicide epidemic of divorced men. “Divorce Rape” is a legal term used to describe the deleterious consequences of divorce for most men. In a typical no-fault divorce in America, the men is bereft of 50% of his assets, saddled with child support and paying for the kid’s health insurance, and is “rewarded” by that theft but having his kids taken from him. He loses seeing his kids from pretty much every day of the month to 4 nights.
Despite the idea that many men are “dead-beat dads,” most are not. Most men love their children and don’t want them to be yanked away. Given that 70% of divorces are initiated by the women and we live in a “no fault” divorce world where no reason is needed to justify the divorce, many men are blindsided by divorce.
Exacerbating this is the community property laws of many states. The man could be making 90% of the income in a marriage but in these states half of the assets will go to the wife, even if she wasn’t working. So the man loses half his assets, will be saddled with child support for the next ten years, might have to pay alimony as well, and his kids are yanked from him.
It might be difficult for women reading this blog to understand the concept of “divorce rape.” Most women possess a righteous anger when it comes to divorce. They feel it is perfectly fine to take from the man all he has as a quasi-vengeance and to make the man atone for whatever she perceives he has done.
To these women, I would say to you “How would you feel if you had half of all you worked for your entire life taken from you? Your children stolen from you. And you have to pay remittances in the support of child support to someone who divorced you…AND YOU HAVE NO SAY IN THE MATTER AT ALL.” And this is one of the most salient points when it comes to the reasons of the suicide epidemic of divorced men. The man had no say in the matter.
Even the staunchest feminist will admit the court system is set up to benefit the woman. The wife could have had 50 affairs in the marriage, yet she could divorce the man and still get half his assets and take the kids away from him and he has no say in the matter. She holds all the power. Let’s look at 50/50 co-parenting for a second.
In this format, each parent gets the children for 14 days a month with the father not having to pay child support. (Each parent pays for the daycare fees/costs associated for those two weeks a month.)
This format seems to make the most sense. The children benefit since they get to see their father from 4 nights to 14 nights a month, the father benefits for obvious reasons, and the woman gets much needed time off from parenting. But in many states, 50/50 can only be accomplished WITH THE MOTHER’S CONSENT. So if a woman does not want to do 50/50, it isn’t going to happen. No input or caring as to the desire of the father is the norm.
Given the court system vis-à-vis marriage, it is understandable why many divorced men are depressed. They lose their children for all intents and purposes; they lost half their assets (perhaps to a woman who didn’t contribute at all to those assets), plus in many states they have to pay alimony to the woman who 70% of the time ended the divorce.
And this is the culmination of the reasons for the suicide epidemic of divorced men. Assuming they still have their job, they realize that anywhere from 30-50% of those wages will be garnished by the State for child support. They might have lost their family’s inheritance due to the wife taking half of it. His savings and retirement could be gone. His children could end up hating him due to insidious forms of parental alienation exacted by the mother.
These men are distraught, angry, disconsolate, and wrought with guilt and befuddlement. Many turn to alcohol, drugs, perhaps prostitution to numb the pain at the expense of their finances and self-esteem. This in itself is enough to provoke a man to take his own life. Compound that with the loss of a job or a drug addiction (which debilitates the senses and our reasoning) and it is understandable why there is a suicide epidemic of divorced men.
What can we do to help? This is the difficult part because of the nature of man and because the nature of society. Men tend to isolate in general. We are the hunters who can live in the wild for decades alone back in time immemorial. Our default is to isolate and not communicate with others.
Women are the opposite. They tend to have a large community of women from which to extract sympathy and support. Men don’t. So the onus is on the man to reach out to other men to express their feelings. It is imperative to prevent these calamitous events like suicide.
Society doesn’t help. We don’t like to hear in general that a man is struggling. We see it as a form of weakness on the part of the man. Men must sublimate their feelings like John Wayne. If not, they are “sissies” or “manginas.”
Resources are scant for these depressed men. Case in point, abused shelters. There are plenty of abused shelters for women. How many for men? None, plus men are not allowed to use the female shelters even though the government itself admits 50% of abused cases are perpetrated AGAINST the man. So many men feel discarded by society. They feel no one cares.
Regarding post-divorce life, even those who don’t fall to the suicide epidemic of divorced men are scarred in relationships. Many embrace the MGTOW movement (Men Going Their Own Way) which espouses that men never get into long-term relationships and certainly marriage given their aforementioned reasons in the article.
It exhorts men to remain independent and find their own identity and forge their own path independent of dating and women. Many of these man embrace it simply because they suffer a quasi-PTSD from their past relationships. A good Holistic Health News episode echoing some principles of this mindset is 7 Reasons To Avoid a Long-Term Relationship.
Either way, know the facts. The suicide epidemic of divorced men is here and growing. If you know any of these men, reach out to them. Try to help them talk about their divorce trauma and get them to reach out to friends, pastor, or join some Meetup groups. Whatever it takes. These men deserve the attention if for any other reason, we don’t want their children going through the horror of having a parent take their life. Let’s mitigate the Suicide Epidemic of Divorced Men.