Strategies for Coping With Guilt and Shame

Identifying complex emotions and learning to accept them.

As a fellow survivor parent of a tragic loss by suicide, I can clearly recall the seemingly insurmountable task of trying to make order ( and some sense ) of the myriad of complex emotions that I was experiencing. One incredibly valuable tool, when we are in the depths of acute grief, is writing. It provides a tangible space forour experience to live, while creating mental room which allows us to begin to take small bites out of everyday life, once again. Writing can be incredibly daunting when thoughts are swirling, so I suggest to begin by making a list of your emotions:

Strategies for Coping With Guilt and Shame

“I feel anger towards”…..

“I feel a sense of guilt”…..

“I feel shame”…..

“I feel disgust”…….

And so on.

After taking some time to write about each experienced emotion, it’s important to work towards accepting our emotions free from judgement. Following this exercise of identifying your emotions, as challenging questions such as:

“Which emotions provide a moment of comfort”?

“Which frighten me”?

“Do certain emotions bring me closer to my lost loved one”?

“Are there certain emotions that are working to bring me closer to my surviving family”?

“Is there an emotion that I am learning to accept as part of my


This exercise of identifying your complex emotions, writing about them, followed by a series of challenging questions, will help you to work towards accepting these complex emotions, free from harmful judgement.

With Love,


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