How Abuse Can Lead to Suicidal Thoughts

September 12, 2018 Emily J. Sullivan

Abuse can lead to suicidal thoughts due to isolation, depression, PTSD and more. Read on to learn how abuse can lead to suicidal thoughts at HealthyPlace.

How can abuse lead to suicidal thoughts? Men and women in the depths of an abusive relationship often find themselves considering options they never anticipated they would. Abuse can take otherwise happy, outgoing, social and optimistic people and beat them down into a shell of who they once were. Both physical and verbal attacks have the power to do this to a man or a woman. Read on to learn how abuse can lead to suicidal thoughts. 

How Abuse Can Lead to Suicidal Thoughts

  • Abuse can lead to suicidal thoughts because it can lead to isolation. Victims of abuse may begin a relationship with many friends and close family members and as the abusive relationship progresses, they may grow distant from their loved ones. Feeling alienated from the people you were once closest with can make people feel as if they are alone and have no one to turn to. When in the honeymoon stage of the abusive cycle, the distance from loved ones may be easier to overlook, but when in the throws of the abusive stage of the cycle, it can feel like an overwhelming loneliness. People feeling lonely and isolated to those extremes may consider suicide and have no one to notice the warning signs and no one to talk them off the ledge. 
  • Abuse causes feelings of worthlessness. When people suffer repeated abuse, verbal or physical, their confidence begins to disintegrate and with it goes self-worth. If people become convinced they have no value, they may think no one will miss them or the world would be better off without them. These are, of course, delusions that can be specific to a person severely lacking in self-worth. Luckily, these devastating side effects can be reversed by receiving love. Feeling loved can come in different forms like accepting self-love. This can happen in simple ways like caring for oneself and investing in oneself. Feelings of being loved can also result from building new and nurturing existing relationships and friendships that are healthy and mutual.  
  • Abuse can lead to depression. Depression is a very common symptom of abuse. Depression can be marked by extreme fatigue, sleeplessness, changes in appetite and energy levels, socially withdrawing, and extreme feelings of hopelessness. People who are severely depressed may become convinced there is no hope for their future and they will never be happy. Depression can be a dark, deep hole that feels impossible to climb out of. Sadly, suicide can be a symptom of depression. 
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder, specifically, and anxiety, in general, are common consequences of suffering abuse. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be something that hits you suddenly and is triggered by even the most commonplace occurrences like a loud noise or a person standing too close to you in line at the grocery store. It can bring on intense fear and discomfort and keep a person from having normal relationships and functioning normally in a work environment. Anxiety can be debilitating and also come on suddenly and unexpectedly. Both of these states cause reactions that can overwhelm people's lives making them feel like they can never escape the horror of what they've been through.
  • Heartbreak can lead to suicide. Abusive relationships do not typically begin abusively. They are often in the aftermath of a whirlwind romance that started as two people who seemed head over heels. After the initial infatuation dwindles and the normalcy of each other's company sets in, things may become progressively more and more unhealthy. By the time you find yourself shackled to an abuser, it's too late; you've already fallen in love, you're attached and don't want to give up on the whirlwind romance that got you here in the first place. Going through a perpetual mental cycle of love and loss, again and again, can be exhausting. A person can only take so much heartbreak before thoughts may turn dark.  

If you notice these signs or symptoms of abuse leading to suicide in yourself or someone in your life, please reach out. Suicide is not the only way out for someone who is suffering. Do not suffer in silence -- confide in a friend, family member, colleague, neighbor, counselor, or doctor. Utilize the resources offered here at HealthyPlace and on the Internet. You are not alone. 

If you feel you may hurt yourself or someone else, call 9-1-1 immediately. 

If you need help with distressing thoughts (including suicidal thoughts), call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 

For more information on suicide, please see our suicide resources here.

APA Reference
Sullivan, E. (2018, September 12). How Abuse Can Lead to Suicidal Thoughts, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 22 from

Author: Emily J. Sullivan

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June, 5 2023 at 3:54 pm

I am with an older man that I believe to be a narcissist. It started very warm and compassionate and now(1 1/2 yrs later) he is brutal towards me and then runs back with apologies and gifts and confessions of love. I just want it to stop I want to move to another country.

February, 15 2024 at 9:26 pm

move to another country and never look back.
run away, go live a life that you dream of and have fun. life is too short to e with someone that doesn't make you happy.

August, 31 2022 at 6:14 am

I can related to this so much… unfortunately, I am not yet out. But I will be, soon! The suffering because of my undiagnosed mental illness is also a big issue… he managed to fill those close to him that it’s me who is the abuser… yes, I yell because I cannot take anymore injustice. Why do people have to be so mean to others?!? I’ll never know…

November, 21 2022 at 7:28 pm

I'm in a pretty similar situation. I just got diagnosed with ASD Level 1 (previously known as Asperger's) and I'm starting to get therapy. My ex also got everyone we know in college to picture me as the abuser, so I had to stop going to class. I was top of my year for the first two and a half years, but now I'm completing my major at least two years later than I'm supposed to. It does feel extremely unfair. I do hope it gets better.
Since I found what you've experienced so relatable, I'd like to offer you my email (not the personal one, don't worry) in case you'd like to talk about this a little more (I certainly would). If you do, I'd recommend not using the personal email either; so any risk is avoided. If you don't want to, that's okay, really. I thank you for your comment and I thank the person responsible for this article, of course. Have a good one.
My (not-personal) email:

December, 26 2019 at 5:28 pm

Thank you for this article. It really spoke to me. I have 3 kids. 2 are over 18 now though one still lives at home and in high school. My youngest is nonverbal special needs. I too have often thought of suicide but have stopped myself because of the damage it would cause my children. Starvation was one of my attempted methods since it takes a while and I can change my mind at any time. It also would give me lots of time to think about it and whether or not I really wanted to go thru with it.
But it is my hope that one day I'll have peace in my life. I really don't want to die. I want peace

Fionnaidh Halloran
October, 11 2018 at 7:43 am

My situation is similar to yours. His temper isnt just at me, our dogs get it and my children(his stepchildren) got it too when they lived with us. They both ended upliving with their father, which broke me even more. He never said i couldn't see them but i was. It's the same with going out, had always said he wouldn't stop me going anywhere, but he has. It's one of the reasons i used to love him, as my ex had a big issue with it. He boasts of how neither of us stops the other to anyone who will listen. On the odd times i do go out,its with my aunt, as he knows I'll not be out that late. Though i usually end up coming home earlier as im worried it'll cause a row. I no longer drink as he has issues with it(some of his family abused it)and he complained at me constantly when i did have a drink(though not when my children lived with us??)
Im so glad youve escaped, always remember the bad times IF you start to relent. Im early 50's, and your post has given me so much hope. I have already told myself outloud, that i will leave, and it has calmed me down enormously. Ive been to my dr and told her about him. Here's to the future.

October, 8 2018 at 11:50 am

Thank you for this article. I have recently escaped from a 30 year long physically and mentally abusive relationship, my finances were controlled and I suffered severe sleep deprivation. I remember the despair and the feeling of not wanting to face another day, But I escaped with three suitcases and the keys to a friend's flat. I don't have much money and all our married friends chose to believe his story of how he has suffered with my undiagnosed mental illness. I have no idea of what my immediate future holds but I do know it does not include him and therefore I have never been happier or slept better. I am in my late 50's and my life is beginning. I hope my words give comfort and support to others like me. C.

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