I’ve Had Enough; Why Do Bad Things Keep Happening?

Medically reviewed by Dr. Jerry Crimmins, PsyD, LP
Updated March 11, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Content warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that could be triggering to the reader. Please see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.

Bad things may happen to well-intending people, making them wonder, "why do bad things keep happening to me?" Some individuals believe that every action has a reaction or that occurrences happen for a reason. Festinger's attribution theory states that to avoid cognitive dissonance, we must have someone or something to blame for "bad things." He also stated there are no accidents in life.

However, these ways of thinking may cause those who experience struggle to feel that the struggle was their fault when traumatic occurrences and stressors might occur for no reason or a reason out of your control. Learning to handle stress and manage your emotions during tough times can be a turning point, helping you feel prepared and confident in facing adversity.

Feeling overwhelmed by life?

When are bad things preventable? 

Daily challenges and bad things happening may be preventable, even when you don't know your actions might cause a future problem. In some cases, inaction may cause difficulties, leading to the feeling that bad things keep happening.

For example, perhaps someone forgot to take out the trash on Wednesday night. They planned to take it out the following morning, but on Thursday morning, they woke up late and did not have time to take it out before trash pickup. The trash sat in their kitchen and overflowed until the following Thursday. Wednesday’s inaction may have caused the events the following week.

In addition, perhaps someone decided to drive home from work with less than a quarter tank of gas in their car. They might pull into the driveway and feel happy to have made it home. Later that night, they may get a call that their son needs a ride home from football practice. The car runs out of gas just before they arrive at their son's school. Four hours and $85 later, they’re back home with their child. Although running out of gas was a bad thing, it may have been preventable earlier in the day.

Daily challenges may occur due to forgetfulness, planning concerns, or organizational difficulty. You may feel that “bad things are always happening” due to stressful events like these. Embracing a different perspective and learning to organize your time efficiently may be practical solutions in avoiding future concerns.


Why do bad things happen?

At times, challenges occur for no reason, and bad things happen. Other times, they may be due to an action or inaction. However, if you have experienced something traumatizing, scary, or out of your control, that is not your fault.

When things go wrong due to uncontrolled circumstances, you may choose to take part in actions that have positive effects. Self-care is one way to take control of yourself and your surroundings. Although it may not prevent negative things, you can feel more confident and compassionate toward yourself when something bad happens. In dark times, it's essential to keep hope and remember that good things happen too, and life is full of ups and downs.

Acts that may prevent stressors 

In some cases, you might take steps to prevent accidents or daily challenges. For example, you could note down any of the following tips: 

  • Regular oil changes and simple auto maintenance may save your car's engine
  • Replacing the batteries in smoke detectors could alert to danger 
  • Locking doors and turning on the alarm might deter intruders
  • Feeding the dog means he might not break into the trash
  • Taking the trash out may mean it is unavailable to the dog
  • Brushing and flossing can prevent root canals
  • Eating healthy and exercising may prevent health issues 
  • Staying off your phone while driving might prevent accidents
  • Having a budget may reduce financial stress
  • Setting your alarm a few minutes earlier could help you get to work on time

Prevent what you can to try to avoid stressors. However, try to avoid feeling obsessive about doing so, as challenges can still happen despite these actions. If you find yourself obsessively checking on safety features, performing compulsions to keep yourself or others safe, or feeling that your actions control your destiny, you may be experiencing symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In such cases, seeking professional help and talking to a therapist can be a good example of self-care in a world where bad luck and things happen unexpectedly.

What does this mean for me?

If your goal is to prevent bad things from happening, you may not always be able to control them. However, you might make changes in your personal life to increase proactivity and attention in areas you care about, like attending a friend's wedding or other important events. If you see an issue that needs fixing, try to take care of it as soon as possible instead of procrastinating.

It may not always feel simple to change your habits, but it may be beneficial for a good person like you to focus on good things. When your life seems to be full of negativity or you wonder why bad things keep happening, do what you can to change what you can. If you’re struggling to make positive changes or just one bad thing seems to be happening after another, consider reaching out to a counselor to talk about what has been happening in your life.

Feeling overwhelmed by life?

Reaching out for professional help 

You may need extra support if you feel like you're caught in a negative spiral or are dealing with traumatic events that happened and were out of your control. Partaking in counseling from a safe environment like your home may be preferable for those who struggle with feeling safe or in control. If that’s the case for you, you might consider online counseling. 

Online counseling can allow you to get support through phone calls, video calls, or messaging with your therapist. Trauma-focused online cognitive-behavioral therapy is an evidence-based treatment that may help individuals learn to cope with traumatic events. Other studies show the effectiveness of online counseling for concerns like anxiety or depression. 

Through an online platform like BetterHelp, you may be able to connect with a counselor specializing in your area of concern, whether it’s trauma, anxiety, or another issue.


Attimes, adverse events may occur. Some of these events may be outside of your control. However, others may be prevented with lifestyle changes and proactivity. Whether you hope to make changes or discuss a challenging occurrence, you may benefit from reaching out to a counselor to learn therapeutic healing techniques.
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