We talk a lot about guilt in Faster EFT.
Guilt that is the result of past traumas, PTSD, regrets, deaths, loss, grief.
But just recently, we got a question from someone asking about survivor’s guilt.
Especially with the recent events in Las Vegas.
Why do some people suffer from survivor’s guilt and others don’t?
What is it and how can we cope with it?
These are just some of the questions we’re going to cover in this blog post.
What is survivor’s guilt?
Survivor’s guilt is exactly what it sounds like – a deep sense of guilt that you survived something traumatic, while others did not.
It could be the result of having survived a war, a traumatic event such as the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, or a natural disaster such as Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey.
In the past, it was thought that only those suffering from PTSD could experience survivor’s guilt.
However, it’s now been understood that survivor’s guilt is far more complex than previously thought and can be experienced by anyone who has gone through trauma.
It is possible to experience survivor’s guilt without a PTSD diagnosis.
What makes survivor’s guilt so complex is that it depends on individual experiences.
The intensity of the guilt and the duration varies from person to person.
In the wake of the recent Las Vegas shootings, where hundreds of people were injured and 50+ people died, it can be easy to fall into the depression of survivor’s guilt.
Questions like “why did I survive, why wasnt i shot? Why wasnt i killed? Why did my friend/spouse/partner/child get injured and not me?”
Some less discussed circumstances that can give rise to survivor’s guilt are:
The death of a sibling caused by an illness.
Guilt for not being there when a loved one was dying.
The death of a parent who you’ve been estranged from.
Surviving an illness that others did not.
Guilt for financially succeeding when someone you’re close to isn’t.
Guilt for being in a stable relationship when you’re sibling is struggling.
Guilt for causing an accident in which others died or got injured.
As with any type of guilt, some of it is rational and some of it is not.
Guilt is one of the most destructive emotional states we can find ourselves in.
Not only does it torment us emotionally, it has a powerful effect on our ability to function in all areas of our lives.
In addition to this, it serves no positive purpose at all.
While there may be a tendency to believe it can be useful in some way; the truth is: it has no positive or productive effects at all.
There are some cases, like where perhaps you did do something that result in someone getting injured that survivor’s guilt is rational.
Some cases, like in the recent Las Vegas tragedy, where you blame yourself for sending your children instead of going to the concert yourself (for example), that the guilt is irrational.
Whatever the case may be, there is a healthy way of dealing with it.
People telling you to not feel guilty in order to minimize it may get frustrating.
It can cause you to feel anger, hurt, stress and other associated emotions.
While you are feeling guilty, your brain and body are not functioning optimally since guilt is a stress emotion.
What’s so Bad About Guilt?
We’re taught to feel guilty (some of us more than others!) as we grow up.
And feeling guilty is a way in which we’re taught responsibility.
It’s a way that those who raised us try to make sure we know when we’re wrong.
Then, as adults, we continue to keep ourselves in line using guilt.
We take over from where “they” left off, and continue to make ourselves feel guilty out of habit.
Whether rational or irrational, guilt is something that should be dealt with, rather than ignored.
However, let’s compare the pros and cons to find out just how useful or harmful it can be.
The reasons for finding out how to get rid of guilt are overwhelming.
So, let’s look at the fastest and most effective way to let go of the heavy burden of guilt.
Survivor’s Guilt is the Right Thing
Some people don’t want to let go of guilt because they feel they deserve to feel guilty.
The question is: does it help to correct or improve the situation?
You could go out in shorts and sandals in a snow storm because it’s supposed to be summer, and that’s the right way to dress at this time of year.
The fact is, though, it’s snowing – and no matter how right you may be, you will freeze.
There’s a big difference in sticking to something because there’s a part of you that believes it’s “the right thing” and making your choices based on the results you want to achieve.
It is a choice.
It is your choice – even though it doesn’t feel like it sometimes.
Choosing to keep beating yourself up because you believe you deserve it will keep you in a state of suffering; choosing to let go and forgive yourself will help you to achieve freedom and the life you desire.
Since your subconscious has been programmed to believe in guilt, it will feel very real to you.
This is where you need to take a leap of faith to let it go.
Think back to other times in your life when something seemed so true or real; and, after taking a leap of faith you discovered the belief you had was not reality at all.
Guilt makes you weak
Guilt is a stress state; and it causes the body to produce a cocktail of stress chemicals as well as shutting down or minimizing various functions as part of the physiological state of fight, freeze or flight.
Guilt makes you physically weaker.
It affects your whole body, including your muscles.
Trying to lift a heavy weight is a lot more difficult when you are feeling guilty than it is when you are not feeling guilty.
When you are feeling guilty, you are emotionally weaker – you will find it more difficult to control your emotions when you are feeling guilty.
You will be more susceptible to feeling hurt, anger, resentment, frustration, fear and other negative emotions when you are carrying guilt than when you are guilt-free.
Since guilt is a stress emotion, one of the physiological results of feeling guilty is that the prefrontal cortex of the brain becomes less active.
This is where we do our cognitive thinking and problem solving.
The activity in this area of the brain minimizes because in nature, it is not needed in an emergency fight, freeze or flight situation.
This means you are not thinking clearly, and you are not able to see all of the possible solutions and opportunities you would if you were not carrying guilt.
What Would Happen if You Let Go of the Guilt?
There is a concern that letting go of guilt means condoning whatever it is that has caused the guilt.
For example, if you survived a tragic incident, and you let go of feeling guilty about it, does that mean you are okay with the fact that you survived and someone else was hurt?
The truth is: letting go of the guilt allows you to move forward and start being who you would rather be.
It allows you to feel kind, compassionate and genuinely loving.
It allows you to help others from a place of love rather than from a place of guilt.
Guilt is a dark emotion while compassion and love are light emotions.
Replacing the feelings of guilt with love and compassion will be infinitely more effective, healing and productive for you and everyone else involved than carrying guilt.
How to Let Go of the Guilt
Reasoning away your guilt is usually fairly ineffective (you may have already tried this).
The reason it isn’t effective is because your subconscious is referencing records and memories that support the fact that feeling guilty is good.
Changing those memories and records is the way to change the guilt at its source, and to replace it with love.
Notice how you know you feel guilty.
What are you guilty about?
Feel the feeling of guilt (this is the aiming), and notice how strong it is.
Using two fingers, and focusing on the feeling of your fingertips on your skin, gently tap the following points while saying the phrases:
– Between your eyebrows – “I release and let it go.”
– Beside your eye – “It’s okay to let this go now.”
– Under your eye – “It’s safe to let this go now.”
– Just below your collarbone – “I don’t need it anymore, and I’m safe as I’m letting it go.”
Grab your wrist, take a deep breath, blow it out, and say “Peace” then go to a peaceful memory.
Enjoy the feeling of your peaceful memory for a moment.
Go back to the guilt and notice if it’s changed.
If it has, notice how it’s changed and what is left.
Then repeat Steps One to Four until the feeling has completely changed.
If it hasn’t changed, notice how this guilt is represented inside you.
Is it a specific memory?
If so, what do you see, feel or hear in this memory?
Notice it, and then go through Steps Two to Four again until the memory flips – until the memory changes.
While you are going through the process, you may find that certain memories and other thoughts come to you – tap on them as well.
Even if they seem to have nothing to do with your current guilt, the reason they are coming to you is because they are connected in some way in your subconscious records.
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