Rhonda blames herself for the deaths of her parents.

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When Rhonda Britten was 14 years old, she witnessed a crime that destroyed her life for two decades—she saw her father kill her mother and then turn the gun on himself.

After that tragic day, Rhonda says she was plagued by guilt. "I pretty much blamed myself," she says. "[I thought], 'I'm the only witness. I'm sitting there with the gun, and I'm watching this whole thing unfold.' I believed that somehow I should have been able to stop it. I should have been able to save my mother. I should have been able to do something."

Rhonda says she felt worthless and powerless. For the next 20 years, she put herself through hell. "I personally tried to kill myself three times," she says. "I felt that I didn't have a right to live. If I wasn't able to save [my mother's] life, how did I have a right [to live]?" Rhonda also abused alcohol to dull the pain.
FROM: Why They Beat the Odds
Published on March 01, 2007