S1E4- Guilt in the grieving process

Author Posted On 11 August 2023

Podcast Transcript


Hey there, wonderful listeners! Welcome back to Grief Untangled, the podcast where we delve into the complex journey of grief, healing, and hope. I'm your host Coach DD, and today, we're going to explore yet another powerful emotion that frequently emerges during the grieving process – guilt.

Understanding Guilt in Grief:

Grief is a deeply personal and unique experience, and guilt is one of the intricate emotions woven into its fabric. Guilt surfaces in various ways and can stem from a range of sources. Let's dive into how guilt becomes a part of the grieving process.

  • One of the common manifestations of guilt in grief is survivor's guilt. This is experienced when a person feels guilty for having survived while their loved one didn't. It's almost as if they're asking themselves, "Why them and not me?" This type of guilt can be incredibly overwhelming and lead to feelings of unworthiness.
  • Guilt can also arise from regrets and unresolved issues with the deceased. We may find ourselves hooked on what we wish we had said or done differently. These "if only" thoughts can be particularly painful, as we grapple with the inability to change the past.
  • Another guilt, which comes from not being present when our loved one needed us is, terribly heartbreaking and discomforting. We may wonder if we could have prevented their death, if only we were there to provide support, care, or even just company.
  • The next type of guilt may come as a surprise which is termed as Relief guilt.It occurs when someone feels a sense of relief that their loved one's suffering has ended, often after a prolonged illness or pain. This doesn't mean they didn't care deeply; rather, it reflects the conflicting emotions that can accompany grief.
  • Another guilt which is often experienced stems from a feeling of not being able to fulfil certain roles or responsibilities towards the deceased. Whether it's not being the "perfect" spouse, child, or friend, this guilt can arise from unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves.

Lets understand how to Cope with this emotion of - Guilt:

First and foremost, it's important to acknowledge that guilt is a natural emotion. It doesn't make you a bad person; it's simply a part of the intricate web of feelings that accompany grief.

  • One of the way to deal with it is Practicing self-compassion. Understand that no one is perfect, and everyone has their limitations. Release yourself from the burden of being responsible for things beyond your control.
  • If possible, engage in open communication about your feelings with supportive friends, family, or a therapist. Verbalising your guilt can help reduce its weight and provide much-needed perspective.
  • Also, Embracing the fact that nobody is flawless. We all have moments of imperfection and limitations. Forgiving yourself for being human is an essential step towards healing.
  • Finally, Redirect the energy of guilt towards something positive. Engaging in activities or projects that honor your loved one's memory or contributing to causes that mattered to both of you takes us a long way towards acceptance and meaning


  • Remember, guilt is a complex and natural emotion that can accompany grief. As you navigate this journey, allow yourself to feel, process, and eventually release guilt's grip on your heart. 
  • It's all part of untangling the threads of grief, healing, and hope.
  • Thank you for joining me today on this exploration of guilt in the grieving process. 
  • Stay tuned for more insightful discussions in our upcoming episodes. Until then, take care, be kind to yourself, and may you find the strength to untangle your grief one thread at a time. This is Coach DD, signing off.
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