The Raphael Remedy

When Your Problems Are Not Your Fault

by | Apr 14, 2016 | Counseling

One of the facts of life is that it’s not fair. Things happen that we’re not necessarily responsible for and yet can be affected by deeply. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, sinned and we each carry the burden of that Original Sin, leaving us weakened toward actual sins in our own lives. It’s the reality of the human condition.

Parents sin. They’re human. Often children carry the scars of such sins which can sometimes be crippling. And too often they simply pay them forward and burden the next generation with patterns and problems that were not of their making and the cycle continues generation after generation.

One of the most difficult things to work with in therapy is the sense that “this is not my fault and it’s not fair that I need to go to therapy”. Certainly there’s truth to that. Children don’t ask to be physically, emotionally, or sexually abused. When friends betray us or people bully us in school it’s not our fault. Even when unspoken, this feeling can sometimes short circuit success in therapy. In order to be healed and find happiness we need to move past that and find solutions.

That being said, your problems may not be your fault, but finding solutions is your responsibility. Fair or unfair, that’s simply the way it is.

Consider this analogy: you’re riding your bike on a country road. Suddenly a careless driver hits you and knocks you off the road. You land in a ditch with a broken leg. Not too many cars go by and no one saw the accident. You have choices now. You can lay there in the ditch insisting this is not your fault and the driver should come back and take care of you but the driver is long gone.

The driver might not even realize that they hit you, as unbelievable as that may sound to you. It could have been some old Mr. Magoo type without a clue. But the first step in getting help is to realize that you need to take responsibility, drag yourself to the side of the road, and flag someone down. Once help arrives you may be taken to the hospital and your injuries may require surgery and maybe months or years of physical therapy to get you back into right working order. To refuse to do that on the grounds that it wasn’t your fault would be self-defeating, at best. Insisting the driver do it for you would be equally useless, even if he were very sorry and very willing. And even if the driver were willing to pay for the therapy, the work of rebuilding yourself still falls on you.

We have to realize something and really take it to heart. God works all things for the good of those who love Him. All things. God uses what’s unfair as the fertilizer for victory. The more unfair, the more nutrients are packed into the soil to grow into glory. Joseph in the Old Testament was sold into slavery by jealous brothers. He was thrown into prison under false charges. Because of all of that, he was in a position to save the Jewish people from famine. They meant it for evil but God meant it for good.

Jesus, crucified for our sins, brought about the triumph of life over death, mercy over justice, goodness over evil. Sure, we’re told to offer up our sufferings in union with the cross but let’s face it, it’s easier to offer up that toothache or stubbed toe. Grappling with injustice is a different ballgame. But it’s in picking up the cross of injustice that we receive forgiveness for our own sins and learn to forgive the sins that others committed against us. It is only in that way that patterns are broken and we find freedom. Talking to a counselor who understands and shares this faith perspective can be a huge help in overcoming. We’re called to take responsibility, but we don’t have to go it alone.

As we live the Easter mystery, keep that in mind. We’re a resurrection people and all of the injustices and persecutions that so many are enduring today are the seeds of resurrection and peace. Trust. Trust. He is with us.




Allison Ricciardi, LMHC
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