The Inman diary: Some Reflections on Treatment
A commonality about suicide is that there are abundant precursors to selfdestruction in the suicidal person. Suicide has a history. In Inman’s case, his early life is most significant. Although he did not begin the diary until the age of 24, his reflections on his early years are revealing. Inman himself was acutely aware about the essentials of such antecedents toward his self-destruction. Even about his birth he wrote, “ M y coming into the world was as arduous and painful as my l i fe” (p. 19). His mother was very ill (something for which Inman never forgave her). Inman’s birth and infancy were problematic. His mother described him as “fearfully detached.” Inman’s environment was equally detaching. His father was described as forceful, attempting to break Inman’s will. Inman described his early home life as “ a terrible thing.” Even before birth he was rejected by his father, who had wanted a girl. His mother was described as no better, succumbing frequently to abuse. Of one such physical incident, Inman wrote, “ M y own mother had treated me unfairly, so unfairly that there was no excuse for h e r . ” He saw the physical abuse as “hear t less ,” adding, however, “that real cruelty always lurked behind the cruel words she often sa id” (p. 32). Inman’s early years were traumatic. Obviously, even then treatment for the family would have been necessary, yet little of such help was available in those days. Indeed, in the early part of this century, the medical profession explained all illnesses with a few basic concepts, and psychotherapy, as we know it, was virtually unknown.