Emotional and Mental

Grief Series: How Do I Get Past the Guilt

Published: Jan. 5, 2022

Feelings of guilt are a common occurrence in the grieving process. Whether you are feeling guilt because there were unresolved issues between the two of you or you are questioning if you did everything possible to help the other person, guilt can be debilitating. Some people become haunted by questions like, “What if I would have insisted he saw the doctor earlier?” or “I should have let her stop treatment when she wanted to.” or “I wish I didn’t lose my patience with him so often.”

  • Talk about it. When we feel guilt, we are often ashamed to admit what we feel guilty about and keep those thoughts to ourselves. This just amplifies the guilt. Find a trusted person to talk to who will just listen to you.
  • Identify what you are feeling guilty about. Perform a reality check on what you have identified and determine if you are being irrational or illogical.
  • Stop the “What ifs”. Focus on what you do know to be true and what you can directly control. Remind yourself that you did the best you could with what you knew at the time.
  • Forgive yourself or forgive your loved ones for decisions or behaviors you now wish had been different. It can be a lot of work to forgive and it may be necessary to seek help with this from a professional counselor.
  • Make a conscious effort to remember the positive interactions that occurred throughout the experience. Remember the loving way you did take care of your loved one. Remember the thoughtful, informed process you both went through to make certain decisions.
  • Think about what your loved one would want to say to you at this point. How would he help you to be free from the guilty feelings?

Losing someone close can be difficult to handle alone. Do you need help? Call (800) 801-4182 or (402) 354-8000 to schedule a confidential appointment.

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Written by Amy Monzingo, MS, LMHP, LMHC, Best Care EAP counselor, the 12-part Grief Series deals with all kinds off issues individuals go through on their grief journey. Whatever the cause of your grief, there are healthy ways to cope with the pain that, in time, can ease your sadness and help you come to terms with your loss and eventually move on with your life. 

About the Author

Amy Monzingo has been in the counseling field since 1997. She joined Best Care EAP in 1999. 

Education: BS in Human Development, MS in Community Counseling; Licensed Mental Health Practitioner.

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