The logic of Survivor’s Guilt - The fact exists that the moral logic of experiencing what we call as Survivor Guilt is very complex and difficult to understand. If there is one thing we have learned from returning war veterans - especially those of the last few decades - it's that the emotional reality of the soldier at home is often at odds with that of the civilian public they left behind. This is a significant factor in perception.
Comparing combat conditions to peaceful standards is undoubtedly very skewed and misleading for the mind to understand and adjust to under stressful and anxious moments of reliving certain events.
While our friends and families of returning service members may be experiencing gratefulness or relief, many of those they've welcomed home are likely struggling with other emotions as well and guilt is usually one of them. Since guilt is so high on this list, it also carries a heavy burden.
In war, standing here rather than there can save your life but cost another person their life. It doesn’t matter if it was some freakish luck or circumstances beyond your control, but somehow you feel responsible.
The guilt begins an endless psychological and emotional loop of counterfactuals thoughts that you could have or should have done otherwise, though, in fact, you did nothing wrong.
Here is the most important part for the reader to understand – these feelings are, of course, not restricted to the battlefield. I want to say that out loud and strongly suggest you merely use this book as a template of the background of such tragedies.
Given the magnitude of personal and tragic losses in our lives, they hang heavy there and are pervasive. And they raise the question of just how irrational those feelings are, and if they aren't, of what is the basis of their reasonableness. how unreasonable is that feeling?
Subjective guilt, associated with this sense of responsibility, is thought to be irrational because one feels guilty despite the fact that one knows one has done nothing wrong.
Objective or rational guilt, by contrast-- guilt that is "fitting" to one's actions--accurately tracks real wrongdoing or culpability: guilt is appropriate because one acted to deliberately harm someone, or could have prevented harm and did not.
Blameworthiness, here, depends on the idea that a person could have done something other than he or she did. And so he is held responsible, by himself / herself or others.
In other words, we often take responsibility in a way that goes beyond what we can be held responsible for. And we feel the guilt that comes with that sense of responsibility. A responsibility that developed over time with those you served with honorable and realizing that your service was not just a duty to your country but that it was the love you have for mankind and life as well.
Survivor guilt piles on the unconscious thought that luck is part of a zero-sum game. To have good luck is to deprive another of it. The anguish of guilt, its sheer pain, is a way of sharing some of the ill fate. It is a form of empathic distress. However, I must stress this highly, do not dwell on regret. In most cases, the culpability for harm caused fell on others, not you and because of that, you are not morally responsible for what happened. The only person who can exonerate you of your guilt is yourself.
What you think you feel are feelings of guilt, and not simply regret that things didn't work out differently. For some reason, you decided to carry this awful weight of self-indictment, the empathy with the victim(s) and survivors, and feel the need to make the moral repair. If you didn’t feel that emotion, you would be thought of as a lesser person by some and not worthy of respect or friendship.
In all this we might say guilt, subjective guilt has a redemptive side. It is a way or comportments or demeanors some soldiers impose moral order on the chaos and awful randomness of war's violence. It is a way they humanize war for themselves, for their buddies, and for civilians, too. Keep that in mind when someone shares with your their feelings of guilt and or remorse on this matter.
If this sounds too moralistic than take peace of mind to the matter of feeling guilt and let it be appropriate or fitting thing to feel because it's good for society. It is the way we all can deal with war.