How to Process Survivor's Guilt-3

As we talk about survivor's guilt, many people may identify with "not doing enough". They go over and over the incident and feel responsible for what they could have done. It's important to check your thinking and challenge your thoughts. Don't Give Into Negative Thinking

When you think about the disaster, it will be natural to think, "If I had just done this" or "I know I could have done more!" Those are all normal to the process of healing. Our minds need to look at the situation and process it. However, you want to really challenge the negative thoughts. In a disaster, there is usually too much for everyone to do. There is no way someone can do everything. Look at what you did do and know that you did enough.

Many people will feel they are to blame if someone died in their care. Remember- you did not cause the disaster. Someone or something else is to blame for it. In most cases people are doing everything they can. They just can't do enough. It's too overwhelming and not enough help.

It's important to allow yourself to grieve the fact that you couldn't help everyone. It's ok to grieve the feeling of loss that comes with not being able to do enough. Grieve the loss of safety and stability maybe you felt prior. Go over all your losses and grief them each individually.

It would be very helpful to do this step with a therapist. It's very hard to see when you are in the grief what is "normal" and ok. Many times we've been able to help someone see things in a different light and grieve what needs to be grieved. The pain will always be there but it becomes more manageable and easier to deal with when you get rid of the irrational thinking.

If you are reading this and have gone through a disaster, we are truly sorry. Our heart goes out to you. Please know there is help and hope!

Tomorrow Joleen will discuss ways to find support.

*Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC, LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling.  We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.