I Have Had Enough, Why Do Bad Things Keep Happening?

By Nicole Beasley

Updated December 06, 2018

Reviewer Wendy Galyen, LCSW, BC-TMH

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Bad things to happen to good people. Good people also let bad things happen. There is nothing that occurs in this universe that did not have a catalyst. For every action, there is an equal opposite reaction. This is the basic law of physics ("Newton's Third Law," n.d.). You probably remember studying this at some point in high school or college, but did you know that it can and does indeed apply to our day-to-day lives?

Festinger's attribution theory states that in order to avoid cognitive dissonance we must have someone or something to blame for "bad things" (Bagby, Parker, & Bury, 1990). He went on further to say that there are no accidents in life. Bad things do not just happen. We open the door to them. We let bad things in. We are not victims of nature, nor any supernatural force. We are a part of nature, and that makes us a part of every chain reaction. We are the highest form of life on the planet, and as we know it in the universe.

So why is it that we think we are victims?

In the movie, Babel (Paramount Movies, 2006) there was a chain reaction of events that began simply when a man's wife took her own life with a gun, he decided to sell all his guns and did so to a poor goat farmer in the Middle East. This one act affected the lives of four separate families; and caused a war that was spun to be blamed on terrorist.

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Events such as these have happened in history and the do occur in our daily lives. Let me present this thought to you. Inaction is action. You do not take out the trash on Wednesday, Thursday morning you wake up late, and do not have time. The trash sits and overflows until the next Thursday. The inaction of Wednesday caused the equal and opposite reaction on Thursday.

Or, let's suppose that you decide you can drive home just one more day on the less than a quarter tank of gas in your car. You pull into the driveway and are happy to have made it home knowing that pulling over for gas would have meant at least a 30-minute delay driving home. With the commute home, timing is everything. At 7 p.m. you get a call that your son has been injured during football practice. You jump back into your automobile, completely forgetting you are out of gas, and completely bypassing the gas station on the way. Just before you arrive at your son's school, the car starts to sputter and stalls. Four hours and $85 later, you are back home with your child. Roadside service saved the day, you made it to ER, but now you are exhausted and irritable.

Why do bad things happen?

Why do bad things happens perhaps because our inactions bring out equal and opposite reactions. I knew someone once whose bank account became overdrawn because of a $2.00 soda purchase from a vending machine. The $2.00 became $90 in overdraft fees. That was a very expensive soda.

We do things every day that can adversely affect us and those around us. However, we have the equal control to perform actions that have positive effects.

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Here are some examples of simple acts that can save you from huge catastrophes.

  • Regular oil changes and simple auto maintenance saves your car's engine.
  • Replacing the batteries in smoke detectors can save lives
  • Locking doors and turning on the alarm deters intruders
  • Feeding the dog means he might not break into the trash
  • Taking the trash out mean it is unavailable to the dog
  • Brushing and flossing prevents root canals
  • Eating right and exercise prevents heart attacks
  • Staying off the phone while driving prevents accidents

If you or one person you know has had a "bad thing happen," more than likely an action on this list or one equally as simple could have prevented it. When someone loses a home to fire, with the exception of the unlikely event of arson, it was preventable.

Yes, people do become ill and people die. Benjamin Franklin said the only two things in life we can be sure of is death and taxes; however, with a little proactive living we can delay death and reduce our taxable income.


For more tips on how you can take control of your life; to be proactive and not just reactive, visit Betterhelp.com.


Babel. (2006). Film. Paramount Movies.

Bagby, R. M., Parker, J. D. A., & Bury, A. S. (1990). A Comparative Citation Analysis of Attribution Theory and the Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 16(2), 274-283. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167290162008

Newton's Third Law. (n.d.). Retrieved May 20, 2017, from http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/newtlaws/Lesson-4/Newton-s-Third-Law

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