Dealing with guilt
- Not having the disability or illness when their brother or sister has (survivor’s guilt)
- That they can do things in life that their brother or sister will never be able to do
- That they have had uncaring thoughts about their brother or sister
- That they haven’t visited, or spent time with their brother or sister as much as they feel they should
- That they wish they didn’t have a disabled brother or sister
- That they have felt jealous of the amount of time a parent has spent with a brother or sister
- That they have resented the impact of their brother or sisters disability on their lives
The feeling of guilt may be telling you that there is something you need to take some action on. The type of action you take will depend on the circumstances. For example, you may feel better if you simply make a decision to visit your sister twice times a month, rather than feeling that you should go every week but don’t actually do it. Put the dates in your diary.
'I have been intending to find a befriender for my brother for the last year and I’ve done nothing about it except feel guilty that he has no friends. I will spend 30 minutes on the internet on Wednesday night getting contact numbers for local services.'
How can you think about this experience in a positive way?
'I used to feel guilty about being able to go skiing. Now I go and enjoy it and know that when I come back I will feel refreshed and energized and that my good mood will be good for people who are around me, including my disabled sister.Taking time to do things I enjoy will be better for everyone.'
'I used to pretend that I didn’t have a brother and never mentioned him at school. I felt bad about this for years. That’s what I needed to do as a child. I don’t need to do it anymore. I don’t need to feel guilty about this. It’s just a way for a child to cope.'