Murder-suicide is an act in which someone kills one or more other persons immediately before or at the same time as killing oneself. Unfortunately, murder-suicides are rampant now. They are all the rage.
Hardly a week passes that the news doesn’t report another parent or a spouse killing their spouse and/or their children and then killing themselves. Something snaps and the wish to kill is joined by the wish to die. It’s not just, “I want to die.” It’s “I want you to die, too. I want everything to die.” “Existence ends because I want it to.” This act of ending it all for others and yourself is not so much an expression of narcissism but nihilism.
Nihilism is the belief that traditional morals, ideas and beliefs have no worth or value. It is the belief that a society’s political and social institutions are so bad that they should be destroyed, drowned in the bathtub, if you will. A Nihilist believes that all values are baseless. A Nihilist condemns existence. A Nihilist has no purpose except to destroy. They kill off their family. They kill off themselves. They kill off everything. That’s what makes them happy. Death is their highest currency.
A Nihilist will burn down their house. They will murder their children. They will kill and kill themselves in the process.
Reasonable people don’t get the Nihilist. After all, murder-suicide makes no sense. But to the Nihilist, it how they perceive the world. Something, somewhere in the Nihilist’s past went wrong, very wrong. Now his family and the world has to suffer. Everyone must suffer. Everyone must die. His trauma must be fatal to the rest of his environment even as he joins the world in the coffin of his own making.
How can you spot a Nihilist before it is too late, before he has destroyed everything? Listen to his words well. Study his ideas. Watch his behaviors. Does he espouse destruction of familiar, familial institutions? Does he promote actions that hurt and harm? Does he wound and attack, even cutting off his nose to spite his face? If he advocates destruction, take him at his word and keep all sharp implements far away from his grasp.
Humans have studied this trait for a long time. This death wish is not new. It has been with our species throughout the ages. Freud talked about it as a death drive, later coined, Thanatos, the drive toward death and destruction. We all have the innate drive toward the destruction of everything. Some of us are just more drawn toward it and some of us actually act upon it, working toward the death and destruction of everything, even to things once held dear. Let’s face it, some among us won’t be happy until our family is wiped from the face of the earth.
The counter to Thanatos is Eros, “the tendency toward survival, propagation, sex, and other creative, life-producing drives.” Creation is the counter to destruction. Nothing new but well worth remembering, well worth using pro-actively.
I don’t know the psychological treatment plan for those people lost in and consumed by Thanatos. They are probably like the scorpion that stings the frog as he is carried across the river. Just like the scorpion, there is no hope for the Nihilist. It is his nature. I do know that Eros people are well advised to identify Thanatos adherents, steer as clear of them as can be done, and bring all the force of Eros into the world. Don’t carry Nihilists across the river or anywhere else for that matter, lest you be killed by their overwhelming, unrelenting death drive. Give up on them. Get away from them. Protect yourself from them. Escape their rage.
Build yourself a better life without them, lest they kill us all.
Save your family. Move on.