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Why Me? When Life Is Unfair…

Her fiance breaks their engagement. She asks: Why me?

She meets someone more suited to her, gets married, and has the family of her dreams. Does she ask: Why me?

He injures his leg just the day after training on his college team begins. He asks: Why me?

The college still gives him the sports scholarship although he won’t be able to play for the team. Does he ask: Why me?

She struggles with grief and loss. She is clinically depressed. She asks: Why me?

Her family supports her through these trying times, and is always there for her. She is in recovery from depression and feels better much of the time. Does she ask: Why me?

You lose your job during downsizing and ask: Why me?

You get a higher paying job with a better company culture in a matter of weeks. Do you ask: Why me?

What prompted this post?

One of my (C.R.) students had been struggling with some serious issues in her life, including events similar to each of the above situations.

Several years ago she had received a (music) scholarship but was unable to completely fulfill her part of the deal because of an injury to four of her fingers. Still, the college honored her scholarship anyway, but the injury effectively ended her hopes for a career in music. (She still regrets not being able to play with the same skill she used to have.)

Four years ago her fiance did indeed break off their engagement. And, she did end up getting married to what she now knows is her true soul mate.

A month after the breakup, she lost her mother and a sibling in an accident in which she herself escaped with barely a scratch,  and she went into a deep depression. However, her large, extended family was there for her, her father, and her siblings, and they are all there for each other. Their faith and their (admittedly imperfect) love for one another is helping to pull them through, though it is still an ongoing process. (Hers is not the “perfect” family by any means and they do often argue, but this serious loss did bring them closer together than ever.)

Last winter, in the period of less than a month, both she and her husband lost their jobs. They both worked for insurance companies that were downsizing. Although she has yet to find a job in her field, she does have part-time work and her husband did get a job with a somewhat better salary, and a far less stressful company culture. (They are still struggling financially, and had to postpone moving out of their one bedroom apartment even though they have a toddler and conditions are crowded.)

As she was telling me about her life, she kept expressing gratitude, not only for the obvious positives in her situation but the negatives as well. In a lecture she had attended, I had mentioned that people rarely ask “Why me?” when something good happens, but only when something negative happens.

Life’s Unfair

She said (I’m paraphrasing), “Even when I was depressed, part of me recognized that saying “life’s unfair” only when we have to deal with painful stuff, and not when something positive comes our way isn’t a mature attitude.

“Was it fair that I even got my scholarship in the first place? There were other young women who were absolutely as talented as I was. Maybe I just had a better day and was less nervous during my performance or interview. Or maybe my essay was a bit more polished.”

“I believe life is actually very fair, it’s just that we aren’t able to always understand God’s reasons.”

I admire her attitude. It’s a lesson in maturity and faith, and her story is one I’m keeping in mind.

C.R. writes.




Why Me? When Life Is Unfair…

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC is the author of Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On Without Wasting Time or Money and is licensed in addiction and psychotherapy with over 25 years experience as well as a consultant to organizations and companies in the fields of mental health and addiction. He is the executive director of an outpatient behavioral health program. Learn more about Richard here.

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APA Reference
& C.R. Zwolinski, R. (2017). Why Me? When Life Is Unfair…. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 25 Jul 2017
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