What’s tied around your neck?

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I can’t shake this story out of my head..in fact I woke up this morning and it was the first thing that popped into my mind, again. I will limit specifics as this is a deeply personal matter for those involved, but the basics are these: An old man shared his horror with a friend upon finding out that his beloved grandson (who I’m guessing is in his mid/ late 20’s) keeps a bullet in a large locket that he wears on a chain around his neck.  He told his grandfather that wearing it reassures him that he can shoot himself in the head if his life gets too “shitty.”

My heart breaks for the shaken grandfather.

Every time I imagine this guy talking to his grand dad about the bullet, I get ticked off all over again. Here’s the deal, this self-centered ‘kid’ could keep the bullet in his sock drawer and still be privately “reassured.”

I know that sounds harsh, but this young man is straight-up manipulating the people who love him. His “jewelry” is a constant reminder to them, an in your face reminder, that he could at any moment end his life, so …..

So what?

So I’m betting that his entire family is on egg-shells around him all the time.. I mean, can you imagine the insecurity?

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I’ve been choking on this story ever since I heard it, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that people do this all the time..not necessarily using the shocking threat of suicide, but other threats:

Divorce- “I’ve got the lawyer’s business card in my wallet so..”

Quitting- “I’ve got my letter of resignation ready to print at any time so..”


Using drugs

Dropping out of school

Rewriting a will

Running away

Breaking up

Not talking/lashing out..all manner of disruptive behavior

While not as dramatic as wearing a bullet around one’s neck, the ultimatums are just as threatening and clear:

“I can do —————— at any moment, so you’d better not ———–.

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Like a toddler throwing a fit for candy in the check-out line, if you respond to being bullied in this fashion you can definitely expect more of the same. It may require some beefed up boundaries to break the cycle of manipulation, but in the end it will lead to a more secure and trusting relationship as well as a healthier, happier life, not just for you, but for the person who is caught in this destructive habit of using threats and ultimatums for attention, sympathy or just to get their way.

Because in the end, the weight of a “bullet necklace” is designed to be borne not just by those who wear it, but by loved ones who see it.

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photocredit:the Rainbow Radish,Jay Cameron, etsy,susanpanzica.com




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