I dont know if there is a "right" formula for how to deal with people's selfdestructive tendencies.....
From my expereince-
One of my older sisters has always been very selfdestructive. She tried to kill herself several times while I was a child. She used all kinds of drugs selfdestructively. Self- mutilated. Got into some unhealthy relationships. My parents tried relentlessly to try and help her. She was in and out of mental hospitals often until she was in her early thirties. She was put on several different medications. Several different labels given to her "problem". The one that helped her and seemed most appropiate was manic depression, (bipolar), and after a few types and change of doses of medication it did seem to help- except when she would decide that she was "better" and didnt need her meds, then after a few days or weeks, she would hit a really low point and attempt teh same kind of selfdestructive behavoir. she often talked of voices in her head telling her to do these things....
My Mom esp. has always tried her best to talk with her, and try anything that might help, to encourage her with whatever new plan she had thought up to try and "turn her life around" - once it was joining the Marines (went well for a few months, then she tried to kill herself again)- several times it was going to college- to try and help others like her or for art- etc. there were a lot of good ideas but they never panned out in the end. , which only fueled her depression.
She really had a lot of heavy issues and self loathing to work through. She has always had lowselfesteem. No one could help her with this, except herself. It took a very very very long time.
But now, she has been drug free (except for her medication and pot) for about ten or more years, married to a woman for ten years, just bought a house a few years ago, working at dollar store and restarant, taking care of her partners children. She is happy, well, as happy as possible- there are still some problems as in everyones lives. She still has her demons. My dad unfortunately is homophobic, and though my sister and dp live less than two hours away from my dad and stepmom, they never visit. My sister tries, my dad finds some way to avoid her. He is a right wing christian. He thinks she is going to hell, its very sad. My sister had to just accept his fear and homophobia, and it has been very hard on her.
I grew up watching my mom try everything to help her. She listened and talked, physically went and tried to "save" her from some destructive situation or another, talked with her doctors, tried everything she could think of.... In the end, it was only when my sister finally had had enough, that she moved on and lived her life in healthier balance. So, there wasnt much my mom could control to help the situation. She was just patient and waited, and of course worried. Now, they have a great relationship. So, maybe my sister needed all that from her. I don't know. She didnt seem to want to be saved, though.
My Mom didnt of course want to let her selfdestruct, but she really had no power to stop it.
My ds is only 19 months. I wont know what I'd do if he got into a selfdestructive path. I am hoping that by giving him respect, love and trust, he will be centered enough to not self destruct. But of course , I know that even if I was the most perfect parent
it could still happen. So, I will take it day by day. I am planning on talking with him more honestly than my parents had done. I am ten years younger than my sister, but when my parent were still married, there was alot of stuff unsaid. My Dad never wanted to admit that there was drug use in a catholic school....
I will try and be more open and accepting of my ds with whatever he is going through.
Theres no right or wrong, it seems. Of course, we do not want dc to selfdestruct, but how much can we control?