Survivor’s Guilt: Questions & Answers

Survivor’s Guilt: Questions & Answers September 6, 2017

It looks like someone else beat me to the punch! Actually, she beat my friend and fellow therapist, Cindy Hammonds, LPC, who had just yesterday volunteered to help me write about survivor’s guilt. I was going to also blog about compassion fatigue in the midst of Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

Well, y’all, I’m grateful that this fellow mom wrote an excellent, funny, very readable piece on such an important topic. She even shared my sentiment that many parents struggle when their young kids go stir crazy cooped up at home without a daily routine.

But, I’m not grateful that I she outdid me. That’s just it–another mom is more articulate with expressing herself, more generous at donating, more humorous with writing, faster with helping, on and on… She outmaneuvered me, my amazing friend Cindy, and you.

That is part of survivor’s guilt.

We compare ourselves to each other constantly even though we try not to. With other survivors, we wonder why we don’t seem to be coping as well or doing as much as they seem to be. With flood victims, we want to empathize and sympathize even though deep down inside, we feel guilty about caring for ourselves more. Maybe all our efforts to give and care are really just to alleviate the inner tensions we feel inside? But we’re getting tired of the frenzy and the constant nagging questions: Am I doing enough? And if we take a break from volunteering or if we watch our budget conservatively: Am I really selfish? 

Then there are the unsettling feelings and thoughts:

Please don’t judge me 

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