Who Suffers Survivor Guilt
People who don’t remember their dreams
Women who’ve had abortions and/or miscarriages
Those still employed after mass layoffs
One who has spent time in a war zone or involved in support activities of same
People sensitive to smells
Victims of abuse or violence
Descendants of slaves or pioneers
Families of criminals
One who changes jobs often
Children of alcoholics/drug abusers
One experiencing chronic nightmares
Sufferers of chronic fatigue
Families of those with survivor guilt
Parents/guardians of children who died of SIDS, illness, accident
Those who’ve experienced natural disasters – tornado, hurricane, flood, fire
Those involved in national trauma - Holocaust, 9/11
Those involved in local trauma – shootings, robbery, hostage, abduction
Survivor guilt is defined as unjustified feelings of inadequacy that occur in all traumatic situations. It is characterized by chronic unhappiness, feeling guilty about being happy, feeling they didn’t do enough to positively influence a situation. Next week’s article will go into this more in depth.
Briefly, here are some reasons why those listed above may be suffering from it.
+People who don’t remember their dreams – doesn’t want to relive or address the trauma
+Women who’ve had abortions and/or miscarriages – when there is no body to bury, the heart becomes a graveyard; subjects are taboo
+Those still employed after mass layoffs – guilt that friends may be suffering, feel unworthy of employment, may develop resentment toward management
+One who has spent time in a war zone or involved in support services of same – followed orders, but conflict about killing and damage surface
+People sensitive to smells – if a certain smell was present during trauma, each exposure to it brings it back
+Victims of abuse or violence – didn’t do enough to appease abuser
+Descendants of slaves or pioneers – repressed rage against persecutors passed though generations, fear of being persecuted
+Rescue workers – didn’t do enough to save everyone
+Native Americans - repressed rage against persecutors passed though generations, fear of being persecuted
+Homeless – not worthy of a home, punishment for deeds done or happiness felt
+Families of criminals – didn’t see trouble coming, did something to provoke it
+Professional women – happy they made it, but guilty that so many others didn’t, and may resent them for it, guilt that sacrifices may have had adverse effect on those close to her
+Cynics – can’t trust people or world that allowed the trauma, can’t be happy nor allow joy to others
+Hypochondriacs – if guilt isn’t worked out, stress of it produces physical symptoms
+One who changes jobs often – doesn’t feel worthy of security or happiness, may prompt situations that lead to job loss, personality conflicts
+Immigrants - repressed rage against persecutors passed though generations, fear of being persecuted
+Children of alcoholics/drug abusers - didn’t do enough to appease abuser, learns through neglect and criticism that joy is punishable
+One experiencing chronic nightmares – relives the trauma
+Sufferers of chronic fatigue – the burden of guilt too much to bear, not enough energy to address it
+Families of those with survivor guilt – unresolved guilt is passed on to future generations until someone addresses the issues realistically
+Parents/guardians of children who died of SIDS, illness, accident – blame themselves for not being attentive, not doing enough to save child, giving permission to the child to be where accident happened
+Those who’ve experienced natural disasters – tornado, hurricane, flood, fire – didn’t do enough to affect more positive outcome, inadequate preparedness
+Those involved in national trauma - Holocaust, 9/11 - didn’t do enough to affect more positive outcome, inadequate preparedness
+Those involved in local trauma – shootings, robbery, hostage, abduction – guilt over relief that it wasn’t them, fear for themselves and loved ones, loss of trust and feelings of helplessness
+Medical workers - didn’t do enough to affect more positive outcome, inadequate preparedness
Next week look for the article ‘Dealing With Survivor Guilt’, a more in-depth study of it and ways to overcome it.
Part 3 will address an all too common form of Survivor Guilt, on the rise in our society, and particularly painful – that felt by losing someone to suicide.
If you recognize yourself in the list above, or know someone described, start talking. Immediately.
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