Network for Youth in Transition


“When the hunter becomes the hunted”- The effects of psychological/ mental pressure

By Munyayiwashe Shumba

“A certain man found his wife with another man in his bedroom. Instead of shouting or beating both of them, he just looked at them and went back to the sitting room. He switched on the television and started watching some gospel videos. The wife and the ‘Boyfriend’ were in panic. The ‘boyfriend’ dressed up and came by the sitting room and said, "Sir I am sorry for sleeping with your wife", and the response he got from the man of the house was, "It happens, you can go." The ‘boyfriend’ left. The wife never came out from the bedroom till it was time to sleep. The husband switched off the television and went to sleep in the bedroom. He found his wife seated on the floor crying. The husband said no word to her. He just went straight into bed and covered himself with some blankets. In the morning when he woke up, he found his wife dead. The wife committed suicide in the middle of night as her husband was sleeping. The husband was jailed 20 years for murder.” (Story extracted from a Social Network)

The story above attracts a lot of questions especially on the fairness of the law. Most people have been left wondering; who was unfair, the husband, the wife or the law? Some accused the husband of stupidity, asking why he did not administer instant justice to the morally corrupt wife and the daring boyfriend.

It is only when the brilliant scientists invent a machine to measure mental pressure that the world might come to understand its effects on human beings. This would also change the way suicide (through hanging) reports are written. Normally, one of the statements which characterize ‘hanging suicidal’ reports are; “Death as a result of intense pressure on the wind pipe resulting in choking.”  Much attention is given to the pressure on the jugular, but what about some pressures that the victim undergoes before finally deciding to relieve themselves through the act of hanging oneself?

A lot can be said about the subject, but I deliberately chose to concentrate on the mental pressure that can weigh on an offender to such an extent that they end up being victims of their own wrong doing. What I assume to be common to almost everyone is that stress or rather mental pressure does not choose whether one is right or wrong. It can build up on everyone. And that is one thing humans tend not to remember when they are wronged. They focus on venting out their own emotions on the offender, to make sure the venom is out, to relieve their hearts of the burden of pain and in some other ways to fix and expose the wrong doer.

Who cares about an offender, especially when the offended believes the offending act was deliberate. Some people do not believe in mistakes, rather they know of reckless behaviour. That is why so many people are good at demonising reprobates. They do not have time to listen, no time to engage and have nothing to do with “careless people” whom they think they offend intentionally to hurt people’s feelings.  Now, my million dollar question is, if offenders are that careless, evil, and maybe inconsiderate, why do some of them end up committing suicide?

In my life, I have learnt of people who commit suicide after doing wrong acts. Some claim their lives after killing another fellow, some commit suicide after cheating on their husbands or wives (or even boyfriends and girlfriends), some young boys choose not to live after impregnating their girlfriends, stealing etc. I have often wondered why one would take their own life after doing something wrong. Are they not supposed to just apologize and move on with life? Or rather just brave it out and face the ensuing punishment? I have been regarding some suicide cases as silly moves, probably demonic as believed by many.

However, life has taught me to be careful with other people’s emotions and feelings despite the fact that they would have wronged me. As human beings, it is normal to be frustrated when the other does wrong to us. The challenge comes when we get to take out our frustrations to an extent that the wrong doer feels “evil” and ends up not able to take up the blame that they choose to die. Some may not die physically but can be torn emotionally and psychologically that they may start to behave in a totally unacceptable way, something that could worsen situations. They choose to do things that are in direct contravention of society’s norms and values and are easily labelled outcasts, the black sheep, the outlaws etc.

I do not mean to advocate for offenders or justify wrong-doing but rather raise awareness on the effects of mental pressure, especially on those who go out of way in their actions. There is need for society to be careful with words especially when emotions are high. I would greatly advise that people engage peacefully even with wrong doers, flowing in order to reach peaceful and desirable solutions. Everyone wants to be listened to. It could be difficult but I believe it is helpful that even when in pain or disappointment, human beings must listen to offenders; especially the ones who are remorseful and willing to apologise. It is my confident assumption that no one would feel good if someone was to lose their life just because they were not given time to be listened to. Conflicts are meant to erupt and they cannot be avoided, it is how we handle them that matters.

Munyayiwashe Shumba is a trained facilitator for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution and Transformation based in Gweru, Zimbabwe and can be contacted on; Cell: +263 773 632 866/+263 713 013 861, Email: [email protected]

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