The “Everything Happens for a Reason” statement is Crap


I think about this statement often, and when someone utters these words, it pisses me to no end. 

What precisely does it mean, and why do people say it? Are they so narrow-minded, wrapped up in religion, or in another world?

Does it mean when there is a world disaster, a plane crash because of a mechanical issue, a school shooting, childhood sexual abuse, people diagnosed with an illness, cancer,  kidnapping, serial murderers and rapists, riots, war veterans killed or any other horrible occurrence, it happened for a reason? Please explain.

For me, it goes way back to my very ill years struggling with major depression and my mother once commenting on the ever so “everything happens for a reason” words. Really, mom? You mean the sexual abuse, which led to therapy, which led to depression, which led to hospitals, a myriad of meds, which led to suicide attempts, countless ECTs, which led to losing my career, almost foreclosure on my house, hubby losing his job, losing friends and let’s include the horrible migraine headaches etc. What exactly do you mean?

I don’t believe people recognize how much these words can sting, it’s almost a “whatever”, said in a flippant moment. IMO, just support that person, show comfort and most of all keep your trap shut.

Edited and reposted

Written and copyright by Deb McCarthy 2019

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I am a Mental Health Advocate for mental illness Stigma. In 2007, I created the "Living in Stigma" blog, with the purpose and anticipation of educating people about mental illness. Depression is part of this illness, which intertwines with those struggling with PTSD, chronic pain, and other invisible illnesses. I am a chronic migraine sufferer myself, and a sexual and emotional abuse survivor. My passions are writing, poetry, and art. All abuse Survivors are also Warriors.

21 thoughts on “The “Everything Happens for a Reason” statement is Crap”

  1. I absolitely love the title to this blog. Finally, someone else gets it. I am so sick and tired of hearing people say “everything happens for a reason” or that there is some greater purpose to my suffering and my family. Nothing happens for a reason. It is just the way the universe rolls. “Maybe God” what about God? Because I was always told He is a God of goodness, love, compassion, forgiveness, yet your ignorant statement that God gave my family this truama so that He could use it for His purpose. That isnt a god of kindness. People say things happen for a reason because they are uncomfortable and unable to sit in the story that they are hearing. They dont know what to say, so that comes flying out of their mouth, I’d rather sit in an awkward silence. If I decide to turn my families tragedy into some greater purpose that has nothing to do with God or anyone else. That is a decision that I make as a person. Why give praise to the experience, or to God of whom you serve or don’t. Society is changing, and there are so many horror stories that we are becoming desensitized to people, and I speak for myself. Rememeber- you dont have to try so hard. I am just starting my blog about my families experience and how a sexual assault against my young daughter has changed us all. I have heard so many times that maybe it happened so that you can help others through it. No. It happened because her best friends dad decided to violate my child and his. I am stepping up and saying, I will not be silenced anymore by what happened, that is my choice, let us not confuse the two things. Sorry, I went off on a small rant. Anyways, I love your post! Chin up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your words are compelling and I’m thrilled you “get” what I was trying to say. I’m so sorry your daughter had to experience sexual abuse which traumatized her so early in life (and her friend), by an evil predator. Thanks, I’m so proud of you for believing and validating her feelings. If my parents had have done that 55 years ago, my life wouldn’t have been the emotional hell it has been, nor would 20 years of therapy been necessary. Thanks for sharing and commenting. 🙂


  2. It’s interesting to me that I seem to find someone else who shares my sentiment on something right around the time I am wrestling with it. I had this conversation with myself in my head the other day. If everything happens for a reason then what is the reason my husband cheated on me or has raped me? What is the reason my father abused me? How about my sister abusing me? How about…I’ve made my point. There is no logical way a person who was exploited and suffering can accept that as comfort because that leads (for me at least) down a road of shame, self blame, and bitterness…because I don’t know how to reconcile these atrocities with a loving God…if He’s so loving, then why is he allowing suffering or what is His logical reason for anyone having to be so hurt? It defies human capacity to comprehend so it turns into “there must be something wrong with me.” I am a Christian who is struggling with my faith right now and this is actually one of my questions. I don’t believe everything happens for a reason. I think people make bad choices. That is the reason…for them. (deep breath…)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My husband says this all the time. No, it isnt helpful when you are trying to deal with the life and death of our grandson. He also says, “He isn’t dead, he is sleeping.” Sorry, to me he is dead. I know I’ll see him again, but right now he’s gone from me.

    Still, there is an element of truth for ME in both statements. I just believe we all need to find our answers ourselves. If we ask someone why it happened, then I think it is okay to dicuss it. Otherwise, no.

    I was sexually molested by my father. The reason? Sin, evil, unrighteousness. We live in an ugly, broken world. We did nothing to deserve this, absolutely nothing. The only way out was God himself coming here to live and die as one of us. He did it.

    We are collateral damage in a war for the universe. We may not like it, but it is a fact. All we can do is choose what side we will fight on.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. So bloody true. It irritates the crap outta me when anyone uses this ‘stupid ignorant quote’…WHAT does it actually MEAN? What REASON? bullshit!! (lol now you got me going!) I agree with you, it’s utter CRAP, BULLSHIT and a cheap way for a religious nut to condone the horror perpetrated on others. (of course if same horror visits THEM, this ‘quote’ doesn’t quite fit does it?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The religious ones shouldn’t be saying it either, it doesn’t show any kind of empathy, the person grieving is not leaving feeling comforted by that statement (probably offended), and these words are redundant! These words don’t make sense in a positive way either!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I believe we use different yardsticks when we console others with the words, “Everything happens for a reason” and “Forgive and forget”. But when the same ill luck overtakes us, we accept no such consolation.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think it’s one of the things people say so as not to feel responsibility, or if everything happens for a reason, maybe that’s also a form of comfort for the person exclaiming that. For me, I say it too, but in positive situations. When something beautiful happens, or something funny (like last week when I got my hands on the last head pillow that was priced off A LOT – I’d been looking for a new one for weeks).

    I’d never tell someone that needs therapy the events leading to needing therapy “happened for a reason.” That’s just a weak excuse for not being able to be more helpful. Indeed, being silent is then a better option.

    Liked by 1 person

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