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Quotes / Survivor Guilt

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"It's about the boy, goddammit, Private Wyatt. He should be here instead of me. He was young, he... he had potential. He could have given us a future. You and me, we're... two fucking mummies from the past. Running on nothing but willpower. "

Wyatt: Wing Commander Fergus Reid... he would've known what to do. He could've saved so many...
B.J.: I made the wrong choice?
Wyatt: You made a STUPID CHOICE! YES YOU DID! You left a boy in charge of a man's work! I should've died on that day, Captain, on that slab, and Fergus Reid should've lived!

"He dies and not you, and you feel guilty, because you're glad he died, and not you. Soldiers live, and wonder why."
Croaker, Soldiers Live

"Everything I ever did, I did for her. Now she's gone. But I'm still here."

"What could I possibly say to you? Even if you could forgive me... I wouldn't deserve it. I'm supposed to go back to normal school tomorrow... like none of this ever happened. But it's just me. We were all supposed to go to high school together, and now I'm... because I couldn't... I'm sorry... I'm so sorry..."

Ruby: I'm so happy you're okay. I-I'm sorry I-I couldn't—
Pyrrha: Ruby? Why am I alive?
Ruby: Pyrrha?
Pyrrha: It was my idea to go after that woman. I was the one who got seriously hurt. Not him. It should have been me, Ruby. I should have died instead of him.

Annie: When that bomb went off...
Jack: I know.
Annie: I thought that was it. I thought that was the bomb, and I was dead. And when I saw her body fall under the bus, it was like...
Jack: You were glad you were still alive.
Annie: Mm-hmm. [cries] I'm so sorry.
Jack: Don't be. You should be glad. We all are. It doesn't mean you don't care.
Annie: I know, but she was so scared.
Jack: She was scared. She was a nice lady who didn't deserve to get killed, but if she'd gotten off, it would have killed us all. He's the asshole, Annie, the guy who put us here. Remember that.
Annie: Big asshole.

"This is Captain Martin Walker... Requesting immediate evacuation of Dubai... Survivors... one too many..."
Walker, Spec Ops: The Line

Shepard: There was a boy back on Earth. Couldn't have been more than six or seven. I watched him die as the Normandy escaped the attack. Somehow, I'm still alive...and he's not.
Garrus: Being right about the Reapers has never felt much like a victory, has it?

"Oh my friends, my friends forgive me
That I live and you are gone.
There's a grief that can't be spoken.
There's a pain goes on and on..."
Marius, "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables", Les Misérables

"It calculated that I had a 45% chance of survival. Sarah only had an 11% chance. That was somebody's baby. 11% was more than enough."
Det. Spooner, berating his rescuer, I, Robot

"I'm sorry I'm the one who didn't die."
Julia Masterson to her father, on being the only member of his family not killed by tuberculosis, Call the Midwife S02E06

"It's not that I don't want to remember. I have to remember... for those who can't."

"The circumstances leading to your being in a survival setting are sometimes dramatic and tragic. It may be the result of an accident or military mission where there was a loss of life. Perhaps you were the only, or one of a few, survivors. While naturally relieved to be alive, you simultaneously may be mourning the deaths of others who were less fortunate. It is not uncommon for survivors to feel guilty about being spared from death while others were not. This feeling, when used in a positive way, has encouraged people to try harder to survive with the belief they were allowed to live for some greater purpose in life. Sometimes, survivors tried to stay alive so that they could carry on the work of those killed. Whatever reason you give yourself, do not let guilt feelings prevent you from living. The living who abandon their chance to survive accomplish nothing. Such an act would be the greatest tragedy."
FM 21-76 US Army Survival Manual on guilt.

"The commander is responsible for the lives of his crew, and for their deaths. I should have died with mine."
Matt Decker's final words, Star Trek: The Original Series, "The Doomsday Machine"

Dr. Baker: When she wakes, Asuka will be facing very different challenges.
Shinji: What... kind of challenges?
Dr. Baker: It's called Survivor Guilt. As you know... Asuka holds her achievements very dearly. The fate of Unit 04 — of Jessika — can be more dangerous to Asuka than any physical trauma...

Karl: Little fellow's back with us, then?
Owen: Aye, and all alone in the world. And past that solitude, what? Guilt at surviving? Pitiable lad...

"Do I walk? Have I feet still? I raise my eyes, I let them move round, and turn myself with them, one circle, one circle, and I stand in the midst. All is as usual. Only the Militiaman Stanislaus Katczinsky has died. Then I know nothing more."

Psychiatrist: I've been working with the survivors of the ferry bombing earlier this year. Their trauma is similar to yours. More extreme, of course. Many of them experience a sense of responsibility for what happened.
Finch: Survivor's guilt. I'm familiar.
Psychiatrist: Well, then you're also familiar with what I'm about to say next — that you think your friend's death was your fault. Otherwise, you'd have to face a very painful truth.
Finch: Which is what?
Psychiatrist: That you are not God. You don't control who lives or dies. That powerlessness also means that your friend's death is not your fault. I assure you, Mr. Wren, in time, the guilt you feel will pass.
Finch: Let me ask you a question then. Does survivor's guilt pass when everything that has happened actually is, in fact, your fault?

Doctor Fate: In you, Supergirl, can you imagine the poison, the pain, the dark that resides in your psyche?
Supergirl: Wait, you're saying I'm manifesting this change in me?
Dr. Fate: Color of costume, color of eyes? Not much change outwardly, the rest... the bulk of it is your attitude. Recently, the loss of your planet all over again. And your father. And your mother. I'd say you have a pretty obvious case of "Survivor Guilt".
Supergirl: And it's killing me?
Supergirl, Reign of Doomsday

"I remember my first unit, the boys and I were deployed to Onderon to bring peace and security to a troubled world. We were on a routine patrol when we ran into one of your rebel friends, a Lasat mercenary who worked for Saw Gerrera. I was lucky, knocked out by the first blast. I came to, but found I couldn't move, and then I saw him. The Lasat calmly walked through smoke and fire to finish off my unit off, one by one. The injured never had a chance, always wondered why he let me live."
Agent Kallus, Star Wars Rebels

"...Sire, I...I cannot bear this! Failing to protect His Majesty... then leaving my brothers to die, slinking away like some coward... This indignity is too much to bear! One day I will repay them in kind. I will avenge the fallen... I swear it!"

"Ruth... I feel guilty just being alive."
Carter, Disjointed

"If it wasn't for her, it'd be me lying there... I wish it was."''
Lyse regarding Y'shtola, Final Fantasy XIV

"I... I loved them all... I loved Laphi, and Celica... Arthur, everyone... To have it all stolen from me... Why them? Why not me?"
Velvet, Tales of Berseria

"She held their hands as they died, hoping they would drag her with them."
Jericho Swain regarding Riven the Exile, League of Legends

"I figured out why I cried at Loretta's funeral: survivor's guilt! [...] It means I fell out of that bathtub more times than could possibly be funny, and never a scratch. She falls out once, breaks her neck, and gets Quagmire'd. It could have been me."
Cleveland Brown, The Cleveland Show

She was living, the others were dead. That was the great evil. How cruel it was to have to be alive.
Ikuta Tomoko, Death in Midsummer

"Why not me?"
John Rambo, Rambo: Last Blood

"I had a life there. Years of memories. I had so many people I loved... Friends I laughed with. Silly crushes I daydreamed about the future with — and they are all dead. And I'm still here. You can never understand how I feel."

"That's what this thing has been...I should be down there...with them. I should be down in that sub! I should be dead! And all this NOISE, see this POUNDING! This CLANGING! That's them guys down there! They're calling muster on ME!"
Chief Bell, The Twilight Zone (1959) "The Thirty-Fathom Grave"