Skip to main content

When a Bunch of Bad Things Happen, It’s Easy to Think You Deserved It

·306 words·2 mins

“It’s been a melodramatic decade, after a couple of previous melodramatic decades,” I say.

Justin smiles.

“Do you think it’s my life that’s been dramatic? Or is it me that’s dramatic?” I ask.

“Both,” Justin says. “But it’s a good thing.”


There’s no way of getting around it. When a bunch of bad things happen, it’s easy to think you deserved it. I’ve been there. Convinced that I’ve self-inflicted a lot of really bad times. 

Friends can be quick to argue with this when I say it. “It’s not your fault!” But I have to admit that I’m never really sure. Not really. All I can do is look at what happened and see what I can learn from it, so I have the tools to make things go _just _a little bit better next time. Hopefully. Maybe.

It would be easier for me, I think, if I could just assume that the bad things that have happened to me aren’t my fault. The tricky thing is maybe I am causing it — or at least contributing to it. That’s actually easier for me to believe (likely because of an upbringing that had me in close proximity to caregivers who spoke unkindly about me).

But when it comes to other people, I’ve seen so many people assuming they are bringing misfortune upon themselves when they aren’t. It’s just been bad luck. And they’re the ones that seem to have the hardest time letting themselves off the hook.

Meanwhile, the meanest folks I know forgive themselves instantly.

So maybe there’s something comfort in that, in the worry that I have created my own unhappiness. Maybe it means I’m in that group that cares, that group who tries, that group who isn’t perfect by a long shot but is trying their best.

That’s good enough for me.


I’m Learning to Be a Gentle Self-Parent Instead of an Abusive One
·563 words·3 mins
I Knew I Was in Trouble When I Got Sick of the Sound of My Own Self-Soothing
·681 words·4 mins
The Stories We Tell Ourselves Matter
·321 words·2 mins
Mental Health Relationships Survival