“Did I cause this?”

This question is often asked by patients. What they mean is did they somehow create their depression, misfortune, or situation. Are they “responsible”, or are they ‘innocent’?  Are my problems merely chance?

Good question, indeed.

In Jungian psychology, there is a term Synchronicity. It is defined in various ways; I see it as extracting meaning from matters that look superficially coincidental; you can derive meaning from what seems meaningless. I like this as we can learn from anything that happens to us. Nothing  has to be meaningless.

In contrast, a basic Freudian notion is we unconsciously cause things to occur. If misfortune arise, we subconsciously caused it to be. The Freudian way readily supports “blaming the victim”. I remember cases of rape being psychoanalyzed from a Freudian perspective as how the woman somehow subconsciously desired it to happen/ arranged it etc.  Not only do I not find this helpful, I find it  horrid.

I have been trained in some schools of psychology that believe everything – people, events – come into our lives from purpose. Who or what arranges all this purpose varies. The point is, ‘ there is no coincidence’ to life.  Even Jung said “Every country gets the foreigners it deserves”.

Again, it is hard to tell a patient their misfortune is somehow destiny, or “God’s will” or the result of Fate.

I believe we unconsciously do things: I  do not believe all happenings are completely external or because of the system, or ‘just happened’. I’ve had many cases of people who could go into a party of 100 people and somehow manage to find the two who resonate with their psychology or issues. “Do I send out some sort of signal?” patients ask.  At an unconscious level, I believe they can.

If patients are unconsciously causing things to happen, or repeating patterns, then let’s find the means to alter this.

If a patient has a misfortune, such as a car accident or death or violence, it is better to believe ‘ it happened, and it is not a comment about you, heaven, karma etc.”

Like Alcoholics Anonymous, I try to look at my patient’s lives as to what they can control,  what they can’t control,  and the wisdom to know the difference.

I am curious to know from Spo-fans if they believe they are masters of their destiny, and if so, how do you explain misfortune in your lives. Is it mere bad luck, the result of  yourself, of from sort of Universal power?

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