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Why, Me? It’s a Question Difficult to Answer

Aug 31, 2018 11:32AM ● By Don Short

Many of us go through life with our families, developing our careers and participating in activities that we find fulfilling and satisfying. Our lives become a routine, kids grow up and we progress towards our goals. Then all of a sudden, tragedy strikes! A tragedy can take many forms such as the sudden loss of a loved one, the betrayal of a spouse, the loss of a job, or the loss of a home. The question we often ask is “Why me?” The tragedy itself passes, but the “Why?” question can torment a person for months and even years to follow. During this time one can get stuck in the areas of blame and anger:

1. We try to place blame sometimes on others but mostly on ourselves. Trying to place blame extends the effects of the tragedy.

2. We get angry at ourselves and others and at God. Our anger can lead us into depression. It often scares away our friends and it can make us feel distant from God.

The answers to “why” is an explanation that can, in one way or another, help one make sense of a terrible situation. One struggles to find an adequate reason for the pain, anguish, and a sense of unfairness we feel. Being angry at the situation while recognizing the unfairness and crying over it helps to discharge some of the pain and hurt we are experiencing. During this process, we want to shift the question from “Why?” to “What do I do now?” Are we able to accept the idea that some things may happen for no apparent reason?

Some people pass through tragedy and end up bitter while others empty and destructive. Still others will find purpose and meaning in their circumstances. We can either allow the tragedy to define us and let it ruin our lives. We also can find a way to define the tragedy in a way that it can give us new meaning and purpose. We do have a choice! Too often while we are in the depths of our pain, we feel that we have no choice and feel lost and confused. During this period we often are not thinking clearly and are prone to make bad choices.

For those of us who know of individuals and families going through tragedy, there are two things that we can do.

1. Go and see the individual/family. Your presence can mean a lot and it shows that you care. Ask if there is anything that you can do.

2. Listen. Just listen and let them give voice to their pain. Don’t try to “fix” them, just listen.

This connection with others is very important at this time. We were never promised a life that is free from tragedy, pain and disappointment. What we can promise is that one does not have to suffer alone and that there are sources outside of ourselves to help us find the strength and courage as we navigate through the tragedies of life. The message we need to convey is that: “You are a good person. Can I come and be with you so that you are not alone.”

Don Short is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), and EMDR Therapist. His practice focuses on clients with marriage, relationship and family issues. To learn more contact 337-781-4565 or visit: