A community of peers created by the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation
I was reading some posts in the Long Term Illness Group and there was some questions about guilt and grieving. I was looking through my grief support handouts and came across this and thought I would share it.
Guilt is the feeling of culpability deriving from perceived offenses or a sense of inadequacy.
Typically it is accompanied by regret, remorse, negative self-evaluation, and feelings that one should atone. -Theresa A. Rando, Treatment of Complicated Mounring (1993) Illinois, Research Press
Guilt may derive from anyone or combination of six primary occurences.
Feelings that one contributed to the death: I didn't do enough;my mistake led to death
Guilt has to do with expectations of ourselves (perhaps generated by others) as well as our perception of responsibilities. It often interacts with anger (self) and resentment. In our grieving process it is a normal part of struggling with our sense of powerlessness concerning other's behaviors, our losses and death. Blaming self or others is perhaps a way that we have of trying to control the uncontrollable. How could this have been prevented? There has to be a "reason" for this loss. "If only........then he or she would still be here". Someone has to be responsible. Death (or trauma) represents a chaotic intrusion into our "balanced life". Both guilt and blame may be attempts to regain the old balance. It might be easier to feel guilty or resentful than to recognize and feel the full impact of our loss.
Illegtimate Guilt is out of proportion to reailty, giving ourselves impossible jobs and expectations.
Legitimate Guilt is when something that you did or did not do caused serious harm to the other. Healing comes from:
Thank you for sharing this...as a survivor of both long-term illness and suicide I have wrestled with questions of guilt and moved forward with the feeling that in both instances I did the best I could do for both my husbands with the knowledge I had available at the time...no regrets...life is too short and I gave my all to both...now to dealing with the other issues...hmmm may take some time.