Adult Grief After a Traumatic Death

• Become active in changing things in the world that bother you by getting involved with MADD or other organizations. • Watch out for harmful behaviors, such as substance abuse or hurting someone else.

Complications of Traumatic Grief

Survivor Guilt After a traumatic event, some individuals may question why they survived. In basic terms, survivor guilt occurs when an individual feels he or she should not continue to live following the event of another’s death. It is a normal part of grieving, particularly when the death was sudden and traumatic, such as in the case of a death resulting from a substance impaired driving crash. There are different types of survivor guilt, including general, parental, and survivor guilt with specific incident. General Survivor Guilt General survivor guilt refers to feelings of guilt associated with

living and going on after someone else dies or is killed. It is difficult to reconcile feeling grateful to be alive while knowing that others did not share the same fate.

Survivor guilt can bring about additional challenges.

Many mourners often feel like they should have been able to stop the crash or that they could have protected their loved one. They have “what if” questions, such as: What if I hadn’t asked them to come over? What if I had kept them on the phone with me 5 more seconds? What if I had gone with them? The fact is that the “what if” questions can never be answered because we can’t know what would have happened or changed. If it was possible to have done one or more of the things differently, you need to know that it’s possible things could have been better, or could have even been worse. The truth is that it’s not your fault that it happened. Further complicating general survivor guilt is the fact that some survivors struggle with unresolved conflicts with the one


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