Part I: What is Survivor's Guilt and how can you deal with it ?
Millions of people are suffering as a result of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Many Ukrainians have already gone abroad, many have gone to Western Ukraine, and many of them feel like traitors, feel guilty that they are safe, in a peaceful place, and relatives, friends, acquaintances are left there, people are dying there, houses are collapsing. .. Such thoughts are common among those who left the shelling in cities and towns. Or those who survived the explosions. Or Ukrainians who managed to evacuate in the first hours of the war. Many punish themselves for what they could do more, they are devoured from the inside by the guilt of the survivor. How to curb this unpleasantly aching feeling during the war?
Survivor guilt is the type of guilt experienced by a survivor of a traumatic event (survivor of a gunshot, attack, or cancer survivor). This feeling can arise in people because they are safe when others are dying in the war at this time.
The first and most important step in the current situation is to accept the role in which a person finds himself. If this is a father or mother with many children, then their main task is to protect (including physically) their family. And then comes help to Ukraine, the military, relatives, volunteers - from the place where they are.
When a person feels guilty, he is usually reserved and apathetic towards life. Therefore, it is worse when the guilt of the survivor develops into aggression. This can happen if a person was a direct witness to a traumatic event (for example, if someone died in front of him).
In a study, German scientists suggest that survivors may have false beliefs about their role in the event. Therefore, these people feel a lot of anger towards the situation, a particular perpetrator (the occupier-killer), or even themselves, but they cannot express it. They direct aggression inside themselves, they try to survive this grief, but this cannot be done to the end.
Over time, these people may go into extreme sports or volunteer for hot spots, constantly putting themselves in danger. Therefore, it is very important to find a specialist who will help even in war conditions.
The human psyche is capable of repressing traumatic events so much that a person cannot be aware of what is happening to him. Therefore, it is important to monitor the condition and symptoms so that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) does not develop.
Experts conditionally divide the symptoms into physiological and psychological:
memories of a traumatic event;
obsessive thoughts about what happened;
irritability and anger;
feeling of helplessness and fragmentation;
fear and confusion;
lack of motivation;
nausea or stomach pain;
A person can even intentionally (or unintentionally) harm himself. For example, hitting all surfaces. It may seem like an accident, but subconsciously it is a punishment for feeling guilty.
It may also be that a person will endanger others. This is especially true of the military - they can sabotage orders or get out of an ambush faster. They actually turn off the instinct of self- preservation.
Inevitable changes can be seen only by one of the relatives, then the help of a psychiatrist is needed.