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Is it silly to feel guilt over something that wasn’t my fault

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Well-Known Member
I had a nightmare about something that happened to me in my second year of college. It was the middle of a really bitter winter and I’d got to college early as usual and most mornings I’d go walking to the store that was open to pass the hour and a half before class started. On this particular day, a homeless man had died and I walked right past him and I saw him but I didn’t do anything and the guilt comes back occasionally because I noticed he wasn’t alright but it was later on in day when i realised he had passed away. I can still see him now, under a duvet outside a boarded up shop. When I got home from college my sister texted me about it because her boyfriend works in that same area where I went to college.
it still upsets me now because when I was a child my family were homeless after my dad left us and we had people who sheltered us. That poor man had nowhere warm to stay and it’s heartbreaking even now. I just feel terrible and I should’ve called for help instead of walking past like I did.
you didn't have any bad intentions, I think that's what's most important ♥
I can imagine the guilt though, I'd feel the same. I think anyone would feel that way. It's hard to know what to do though, naturally we assume people will be ok or it's not that bad or someone else will help, we dont imagine anything really bad will happen otherwise we'd probably feel more urgency to do something ya know? you can't have known he would die, I'm sure if you thought he would die you would have rang for help, but he probably didn't look in a bad enough state to think he would actually die? I get that that must be hard to deal with though when you have a connection to being homeless yourself so can relate personally to him. It wasn't your fault, and you don't need to feel guilty, *hug


Well-Known Member
I walk past homeless people a lot sometime I give them money, but I always feel two things about the situation helpless to change their situation and then terrified I'm going to end up homeless myself. It sounds like even if you knew there was something up you didn't know what so couldn't access the situation and couldn't cope with it, this is a defence mechanism when we are in unknown situations and don't know what to do if anything, so most people shutdown in on the spot situations. I have literally been unable to do anything in some situations like when people have got run over in front of me it's like I blackout shutdown and can't do anything. Then I've later felt guilty that I didn't do anything, other than just want to get the hell away. It's not your fault. You were not to know he would die and if you did do something would it have made any difference anyway? also I'd be most wary of approaching strangers you don't know as sometimes people react in a hostile way too. You just were not able to in that short space of time be able to assess the situation properly therefore your defence system took over and blacked it out like it does for most people. You are not to blame.
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Back into the wild where I belong. Out of your way
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SF Supporter
Not your fault whatsoever. It happened for a reason unknown to you. It is quite normal to feel that guilt. Not silly whatsoever.

I have kind of a recent similiar guilt of someone dying and me not doing anything about it either though he looked off. The last time i saw that person alive was 4 hours prior. The feeling should I have done something more about the situation to prevent it? The day before He was not looking right to me as it was bugging me in the head that it might be a heart issue but i shrugged it off as heartburn as he was complaining he ate too much. The next day wrote it off in my head as a flu bug he might have had and went on about my night next thing I know hes gone and the AED was not shocking his heart whatsoever. Took all of us by surprise. The first responders worked for a while trying to get him back. It was meant to be IMO it was their time to go. If that makes you feel better what would you have done? It was few months back when this happened.

Would he have been mad at you for disrupting his sleep? Out of respect many leave homeless to sleep where they sleep. And of course its wintertime its harder to keep warm when someone is constantly keeping you awake. It sucked that situation happened and it was not your fault whatsoever even if you feel responsible it was not your responsibility. How were you supposed to know? Its commonplace by the way. Alot of People just walk by not knowing someone died in the proximity as it blended right in doing everyday ordinary thing sitting here and thete until they notice them not responding etc. Remember this guy at least had someone who gave a damn. You. That is what matters.


Kangaroo Manager
SF Pro
SF Supporter
You should not blame yourself. You do what you feel you can for others, beyond that never hold yourself responsible.
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