Sufferer Survivors guilt - I don’t know how to cope

Hi, I’m new to this. I don’t usually share about this particular feeling because no one around me would understand. Today is the day that my big bother would have turned 22…every year on his birthday and the anniversary of his death, I get so consumed with guilt. He died when he was a year old. My biological dad was abusive and I lost my brother to him. I have never felt this deep level of guilt then when I think about him. I think, “why couldn’t it have been me?” You know? “Why can’t he have been the one to live his life to the fullest?” My brother is half of my heart and I try every day to do my best to live my life for both of us but there are so many days where I just can’t and where I don’t want to live. There’s days I feel like I don’t deserve to be alive. I just want my brother back, I want us to switch places. I want him to be here, celebrating his big day and living his life. I wanted to celebrate today but my chest just feels so heavy, like a thousand weights just piling on top of my chest pushing down. I have no idea what to do or how to cope. He was the first person I loved that I lost and I still don’t know how to live or grieve or anything. I need help. I really need help. I’m afraid that I might do something that I can’t take back.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I'm so sorry for your loss of you brother. And in the way that happened.

Do you have a therapist currently?

What usually helps you to get through these feelings?
Do you have someone to share this with, like friends or people close to you?
 

Aprilshowers

MyPTSD Pro
I hope you can follow my twisted thinking here. I totally get why you feel such deep pain. In fact, I think the pain you are suffering is different than most sisters would feel that had lost a brother. Why? Because you lost much more than a brother.

I have seven siblings. Although they are physically still living, we are all dead to each other. We were raised in a home with all kinds of abuse. On the emotional side of the abuse, my brutal father made sure our house was a battleground of competition, insults, and cut-throat rivalry. We all ended up hating each other. The only winner was our dad. As adults we have absolutely nothing to do with each other and our children haven't met. Our parents have long since passed on, but their legacy of hate continues.

Like me, you lost more than a sibling. You lost the Big Picture of a family. I have made my own big, lovely family, but that doesn't replace the ache for wanting what I'm "supposed to have." It still hurts that my kids don't have close relationships with their cousins, especially when my friends talk about how their kids are BFFs with their cousins. It's a knife to my heart when my best friend takes beach vacations with her siblings and their families. When I see siblings out to lunch together. Ouch! Like me, you are not just grieving the death of your brother. You are grieving all that bond could have, should have, would have brought to your life. Your grieving that Big Picture.

Give yourself lots of grace. Get yourself help if you need it- someone to talk this all out with. I am sorry you are hurting and grieving so deeply. And on some level, understand. 💜
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
hello lostgirl. welcome to the forum. sorry for what brings you here, but glad you are here.

gentle empathy on the viciousness of survivor's guilt. i don't care to count or type out how many places i have to feel it in my 68 year journey through life. survivor's guilt doesn't respond well to logic, but. . .

reality checks are my primary tool for dealing with my own survivor's guilt. most of what i use to beat myself up while i am feeling my survivor's guilt is somewhere between unlikely and impossible. could i have prevented the death? would the world be a better place if i was the one who had died? i'll never actually know but the big for sure is that i don't get to rewrite herstory. done is done, however i choose to judge the unfortunate series of events.

mostly i take my bouts of survivor's guilt one round at a time while leaning heavily on my support network. this very forum is one of the places i lean. i hope it serves you as well as it has served me. welcome aboard.
 

Lucycat

Sponsor
Hello and welcome @lostgirlatlarge .
I get what you are saying and grieving. My story is entirely different in that since disclosure some years back both my brothers have expressed their feelings of guilt. They feel so bad that they could not protect me from trauma - that they didn’t even know existed. They are older and younger than me. None of my issues are their fault , but we are lucky to be in a position to discuss it now. I wonder how old you were when you lost your brother. I’m guessing that you were very young.

I hope that you are able to find a therapist who can help you. It is not your guilt. If your dear brother were alive today I wonder what he would say to you? I’m sure it would be words of reassurance and glad that you survived. But he would want you to be happy too don‘t you think?

You will always miss him. That’s ok you can learn to live with that and carry the short memories of his time here with you. My brothers and I lost our big sister to cancer when she was 25. That was a very long time ago and we can now remember the good times and laughs we all had, without having to recall her pain and passing. Of course her birthday and the anniversary of her death are reminders but they don’t have to consume and overshadow the happy memories.

I hope you have some good memories of your brother too?
 
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