Survivor Guilt - The Warrior's Journey®
Post Traumatic Stress

Survivor Guilt

Author: Tom Satterly, CEO of All Secure Foundation

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

On the heels of the 28th anniversary of Mogadishu, we thought we’d dive into survivor’s guilt.

Survivor’s guilt will have you feel shame for surviving those moments that should have killed you too.

You might have the feeling of how unfair it is that they don’t get to experience the life you get to live, that you get to smile with your wife on a Sunday morning, that you get to hold your 4-year-old daughter that is terrified of the imaginary monsters underneath her bed. That you get to step foot on our American soil day-after-day and breathe in the smell of fresh pine trees. Every simple life experience becomes wrought with guilt. All these feelings of shame and grief creep in and tell you lies about yourself and you become resentful for being alive. Amidst the turmoil of grief and shame we often lose sight of the fundamental truth that we have not only a right, but a duty, to be alive.

Our thoughts would love to convince us that survivor’s guilt is what we owe to our fallen brothers and sisters. However, no matter how frustrated or guilty one feels for continuing to exist, it does not redeem the lives lost. It is only through our living that their memories are kept alive. It is only through our living that we can be a voice for those fighting in silence. It is only through our living that we can share our own stories with the world, in hopes that they choose life every day. To choose to survive is to boldly stare our grief and shame in the face and say, “you do not and will not own me.” You are worthy of a life of love, joy, and peace. Wherever you are in your journey, whatever struggles you have faced, you are a living, breathing story. A story worth protecting, a story worth telling, and a story worth keeping alive. Please LIVE a life worthy of their sacrifice. They would have wanted that for you and for me.

We are here for you…. no one is left behind. #allsecure

Lord I ask that you would reveal the value to each person reading this article, show them how important they are for your plan for them and the people around them. Help them to find peace in You and be able to share their story, and the story of those who were lost to the tragedy of war. Amen.

If you are struggling with what Tom so accurately described, please reach out and begin a conversation with someone. If you click the red “Let’s Talk” box at the bottom of the page and someone on our team will write back and begin to help you process this very real feeling.

Tom Satterly is a retired member of the CSM Delta Force, best selling author of “All Secure”, co-founder and co-CEO of All Secure Foundation, professional speaker, and podcast host. All Secure Foundation assists special operations, active duty, and combat veterans and their families in recovery of post-traumatic stress through education, awareness, resources, workshop retreats, and PTS resiliency training. if you’d like to learn more about All Secure Foundation and their mission, click the link below.

Let's Talk

100% Confidential | Warrior-to-warrior

We respond within 24 hours and can provide community support, resources, and referrals.