Who is Responsible for Your Happiness?

Who is Responsible for Your Happiness?

Gina Wilson

I cannot count the number of times a student has been beyond upset, crying in my office looking for advice because the person they’re dating has filled conversations, texts and social media posts with statements such as “if you ever break up with me I will no longer have a reason to live.” 


How did we get here?

I will tell you. It starts out small. You are so happy, and Girl/Boyfriend is so happy and you spend every moment together that you can.

Then you discover that Girl/Boyfriend understands you like no one else. S/he empathizes with what a pain your parents are, understands that siblings are like evil trolls, S/he GETS you. They’ve seen you cry, rage, laugh, they defend your views, support your views.

Next thing you know you’re telling your bestie (or home girl/boy if you’d rather) that you don’t know what you would do if you broke up, because No One understands you the way Girl/Boyfriend does. And S/he feels the same way. You swear you will never break up. Ever. Never.

The steps down the slippery slope have started.      

Then, a week or two, a month or two go by and suddenly that charming giggle, the way S/he chews their gum, used to be so cute. Now it’s just annoying! And S/he wants to be with you All. The. Time. 

Dude, you need some time with Bestie Home Girl/Boy! Right? But that’s a problem with Girl/Boyfriend. S/He starts boxing you in. Depending on you more. Becoming more needy in an attempt to keep you from (emotionally) moving away from them.

Now the slippery slope is icy slick and you feel like you’re no longer in control.

And the texts and social media posts and notes start. 

I don’t know what I would do if you ever broke up with me.

No one understands me except you.

I don’t need anyone but you.

If you left me, I would hurt myself. Do you want me to hurt myself?


Wait, WHAT?

How did you get to be in charge of someone else’s very life?????


The answer is: you didn’t. The only person whose behavior you can control is your own. The only person’s emotions you can regulate are yours. So when (sadly not if, but when) someone you care about tries to put you in charge of their emotional happiness, their very life, you have to, Have to, HAVE TO know that whatever s/he is saying in that regard is not true. 


  That doesn’t mean you don’t want to help someone who is in emotional pain. Here’s the plan:


Step 1: Tell an adult. Tell your parent, your guardian, you aunt, your counselor, your teacher, tell someone.


Step 2: Talk to the person. Call them out. “Tucker, I’m sorry you feel that way. What you’re saying is really serious. Do you think of committing suicide?” Put the word out there on the table. 


Step 3: Ask if they want to call someone right now or go talk to someone (adult) right now. Do not leave them alone if you are with them and you’re worried they have a plan to hurt themselves. If you are not around another adult, if your parent isn’t home, call 911.   


At the end of the day, safety is the number one goal.

If you feel like you have no reason to live without your partner, there is help out there. Caring crisis counselors can listen to you, help you re-discover your reasons for living, and assist you in finding additional help or support. 


If you have a partner who is saying they have no reason to live without you, you can also contact Crisis text line for ideas and support.’


Text Crisis Line at 741741


All of us would rather lose a friendship than lose a friend to suicide.