When people survive a traumatic event, while others do not, they often feel survivor guilt, or survivor syndrome. It’s a common symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), occurring when individuals believe — possibly at a subconscious level — that they did not deserve to survive when others perished. Moreover, they may blame themselves for not doing enough to prevent the tragedy.

This phenomenon happens often in the workplace after downsizing. Those who survive layoffs may feel guilty for remaining with the organization while colleagues and friends have lost their jobs.

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