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I am the only survivor. Why do I feel guilty?

14 Answers
Last Updated: 06/23/2015 at 3:53am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Deane Rain Marie, LMFT

Marriage & Family Therapist

I take a holistic approach in working with eating disorders, mood disorders, relationships, and the LGBTQ community. I use EMDR, Dreamwork, Stories, CBT and Cinema therapy.

Top Rated Answers
JamBam718
September 14th, 2014 8:03pm
You feel guilty because you may feel like someone else could've lived, but you did. Don't feel guilty! God gave you another chance! You should take it!
Anonymous
October 23rd, 2014 8:41am
This is something called "Survivor's Guilt". It is not unusual for a person to feel guilty if they have made it out of a traumatic situation and someone they're acquainted with haven't.
GregoryLyle
October 25th, 2014 1:07am
Based on the type of situation and the severity of it, it is common to feel a level of guilt for being the only one to survive. Usually, it would make you feel unworthy and then you may take on the burden of the others who weren't fortunate enough to make it out because you may feel indebted to them.
javalent
October 27th, 2014 6:53am
You feel guilty because you think the others deserve the same thing, but they did not. What you can do is living your life to the fullest to honor them and being grateful instead :)
TruthPrevails
October 28th, 2014 2:31pm
The guilty is from you the fact that you have no one alive to take care of and that you think for some unforeseeable circumstance you are the only one kept alive.
Aldaris
October 28th, 2014 8:43pm
It's possible that you feel like you could've done something for other people, or even died along with them, or in their stead. You feel like you shouldn't have survived because all the others didn't, and it doesn't make sense why you are still here.
Anonymous
November 12th, 2014 4:23pm
Everyone feels guilty sometimes for no reason whatsoever. It's just best to ride it out and talk to the people close to you.
RegularSoul
November 15th, 2014 1:25am
You feel guilty because you think you should have perished with the others. However, you were given a chance to live on, and if at all possible maybe instead of feeling guilty, you should live your life to the fullest for those that didn't get the chance. Life is so beautiful and is meant to be enjoyed.
Pandette
November 17th, 2014 8:34am
I believe only you can answer this question, but I can give you insight in to someone I know. He was also an only survivor and it made him feel so guilty because he believed it was unfair that others had lost their lives and he didn't. He felt guilty because he felt as though he should have been able to save them. He felt like their lives were too short and they had so much going for them in their lives, they had families back home, and he didn't. He just felt like he didn't do enough to save his brothers (he was in the military).
Anonymous
December 26th, 2014 6:36am
Survivor guilt is most common among war veterans. A survivor might feel guilty when something bad happens which results to him/her losing a loved one and he/she surviving that event. Survivor guilt is a self-protective mechanism. This is also often intertwined with feeling of responsibility towards the person who passed away.
KaytheBirdd
January 2nd, 2015 7:23am
Survivor's Guilt. It's not uncommon. Whatever it is you're going through, know that this sense of guilt you're feeling? It's probably natural. A lot of times surviving brings forth sets of questions you're not prepared with answers for. "Why me? What if?" etc. Whatever the circumstances, rest assured, your guilt is probably something a lot of people relate to. Delve deeper into it, explore the root of your guilt. Weed it out.
Anonymous
April 24th, 2015 4:22pm
This is actually a very common situation known as the survivor guilt. I believe that the guilt occurs naturally. However, don't let that consume you because You shouldn't feel guilty for not being able to control the uncontrollable. It was way out of your reach that has caused what has happened and its totally not your fault at all. You should feel lucky that you're the survivor. Don't let the guilt overwhelms you.
Anonymous
June 23rd, 2015 2:57am
You feel guilty because you didn't do what everyone else did and that's okay to feel that way.......
Anonymous
June 23rd, 2015 3:53am
Might be because you think it's your fault that that happened. Just know it's not. It happened for a reason. Now it's up to you if you want to keep moving forward and learn from that.