Why Do Bad Things Keep Happening To Me: 11 Psychological Roots (2024)

Are you going through a tough time and wondering “Why do bad things keep happening to me?”

If so, this is the guide for you. We’re going to explore the psychological roots behind why bad things happen to you. We’ll also have a look at how to make yourself feel better about the situation. 

In my role as a life coach, I am often diving into psychological and philosophical topics like this to help my clients realize why the world works the way it does.  

That’s why I’m excited to share this guide with you. 

What Does It Mean When Bad Stuff Keeps Happening To You?

We’re going to look at 11 different explanations of why bad things happen to you. You can consciously choose to steal any of these mindsets to cope with the situation. 

1. Why Do Bad Things Keep Happening To Me? – Mathematical

To simplify this argument, we’ll briefly assume that everything that happens to you is binary. It’s either a good thing or a bad thing. 

Let’s call them Ws (wins) and Ls (losses) for brevity.

You can control some of the things that happen to you, but you’re also exposed to good and bad situations that are completely out of your control. 

Want an example or two? 

  • You win a brand new car at the state raffle. RANDOM W.
  • Your brand new car happens to break down within a week of buying it. RANDOM L.
  • You find a $100 bill at the airport. RANDOM W.
  • Your flight is cancelled. RANDOM L.    

Everyone is dealing with random good or bad scenarios throughout their lives. 

But here’s the thing with ongoing ‘random’ occurrences. Eventually, there’ll be a pattern where someone experiences a huge streak of the same occurrence. 

Just like a coin will eventually land on tails ten times in a row, someone in this world will probably take 10 Ls in a row this week. It’s the law of probability in effect. 

If that person is you, there’s a mathematical argument suggesting you should perceive it as bad luck and nothing more.   

Why Do Bad Things Keep Happening To Me
Photo By cookie_studio On freepik

2. Accept That You Play A Role In The Negative Things That Happen

Some Ws and Ls are mostly in your control. Exam results. Sporting achievements. Career success. These are just three examples. 

Other Ws and Ls are mostly outside your control. We’ve already seen some examples of these. 

However, if you’re a person asking “why do bad things keep happening to me”, you might benefit from focusing on the role you played in the Ws and Ls that happened. 

Not everyone can do this. Some people are too narcissistic to accept the blame for the Ls that were mostly in their control.

Instead, they blame others or something else for their own mistakes. These are the type of people who can never admit they’re wrong.  

People like this are more likely to have bad things continuously happen to them, because they don’t learn from their own errors. Meanwhile, the people who take responsibility for their Ls are more likely to learn from their mistakes and create a brighter future.

Their flight gets cancelled? Could they have booked an earlier flight, or a more reliable airline? Their car suffers a break-down? Could they have travelled earlier or bought a more reliable car? 

These people don’t waste mental energy getting mad at the universe. Their added sense of control and hope for a brighter future helps to calm them down. They stay positive by treating each bad thing that happens as an opportunity to improve. 

3. You’re Ignoring The Good Things That Happen

Let’s imagine your day as a series of Ws and Ls. Most people’s days have plenty of both. But many only choose to focus on one or the other.

“So Many Bad Things Happening At Once”

You may have heard someone yell these words in anger, but these people should question if it’s really just one bad thing after another? 

It’s entirely possible (and mathematically likely) that your random Ws and Ls occur at a similar rate.

So, if you’re asking “why do bad things keep happening to me”, it could be that you’re not focusing on the Ws. 

Gratitude journaling and other positive mindset exercises could be all you need to improve your mood.    

4. Why Do Bad Things Keep Happening To Me? – Law Of Attraction

The Law Of Attraction states that whatever you focus on is more likely to manifest in your reality.

This law works because everything in this world is powered by energy.

Negative energy attracts negative things into your life, while positive energy attracts positive things.

So, it’s possible that your negative mindset is attracting a streak of bad situations in your life.   

A different perspective could be all that’s needed to make good things happen. 

5. Why Do Bad Things Keep Happening To Me? – Karma

The idea of karma is based on the Law of Attraction. The reason it supposedly works is because a trouble-maker carries bad energy and would therefore attract bad luck moving forward. 

6. Why Do Bad Things Keep Happening To Me? – Psych

Here is a less spiritual explanation of why a negative mindset attracts negative things: every action has an equal or opposite reaction. This isn’t just true in physics, but also in social dynamics.

When someone attacks a challenge with true confidence, aiming to WIN at all costs, they tend to receive more good fortune. In many ways, they’re manifesting their own success. It’s as if the world at large wants this person to win. 

When someone steps into a situation with poor confidence, aiming to not lose. Or, worse yet, expecting to lose and hoping to not make a fool of themselves, it’s common that many things tend to conspire against them. 

Confidence wins the day in so many situations.  

7. Why Do Bad Things Keep Happening To Me? – Bible, Karma, Christian

A key idea of Christianity (and other religions too) is that God loves all creatures throughout society and nature. There are many words in the Bible confirming this. 

Still, this could lead a person to speak out in anger and question… 

  • why does poverty exist? 
  • why does war exist?
  • why did millions of people catch COVID-19?
  • why do some creatures eat others?
  • why can some humans not afford to eat?  
  • why did a pigeon poop on my car the moment before my best friend’s wedding?

There are various answers that a knowledgeable Christian could give to explain why bad things happen. God is creating difficult situations to test your faith. God has set out a plan for your life and everything will work out. God works in mysterious ways.

Indeed, faith in a higher power has helped billions of people to cope through extremely tough lives.    

Related: Is Talking To Yourself Bad? 16 Scientific Reasons Why It Isn’t

8. What Is A “Bad Thing” Anyway?

Let’s now explore the idea that all good things and bad things are subjective. A supposedly “bad thing” might turn out to be a good thing in a later moment. The video below explains this concept superbly. 


When you suffer hardships, you become stronger. When you have a problem to solve, you grow wiser. Perhaps God has created these bad scenarios to give you the strength and wisdom to achieve great things. 

Those who complain about bad things always occurring might not be focusing on the opportunities for personal growth that these situations present. 

9. Why Does Bad Things Happen To Good People?

The concept of karma is a common talking point and leads many people to wonder why bad things happen to good people. It might seem wrong and unfair when a good person is ‘punished’, whether it’s you or a good friend.

However, this scenario could be explained by some of the points we’ve already explored.

  • We all suffer from random bad things, even those who don’t deserve it. 
  • The good person may have played some sort of role in causing the situation.
  • This might be part of God’s master plan. 
  • Who’s to say it’s a bad thing that happened? 

10. How Do I Stop Bad Things From Happening?

Some misfortunes are completely outside your control. All you can do is roll with the punches and try to learn from the bad thing that happened. This could help you avoid similar situations in the future.

As we explored in the fourth and fifth points of this article, focusing on how to win instead of how to avoid life’s negative aspects can bring a lot of good fortune your way. 

11. A Meaningful Life Is Filled With Suffering

The most effective way to avoid suffering is to never leave your home or try to achieve anything meaningful. Avoid taking any risks. Avoid shouldering any responsibility. Avoid being a good example for your children. Live a life of hedonism and little else of substance. 

That might be an option for you, but what type of life is that really?

If you’re out trying to make an impact on the world, the chances are you’ll come across more problems and bigger problems.

Who is more likely to deal with problems in any given week?  

  • The CEO of a charity who has a wife and seven children. 
  • The minimum-wage employee who does little outside of working and playing video games.

It’s the CEO, of course. But then, who is more likely to be living a fulfilling life?

A meaningful life will be packed with problems. The more meaningful your life is, the bigger problems you might face. Once you realize this, you might find it easier to accept misfortune.

Perhaps that’s the reason why bad things keep happening to you, although someone in that situation is probably too busy solving problems to feel sorry for themselves.  

How To Stay Positive When Bad Things Keep Happening?

For me personally, the story of the chinese farmer made a huge difference in my life:

Chinese Farmer Parable Teaches You Equanimity

I hope an understanding of the reasons why bad things happen will help you to stay positive when they do.

Stay Positive
Photo By benzoix On freepik

Most likely, there were one or two explanations in this guide that happened to particularly resonate with you. Perhaps it will help you to come back and re-read these when you’re struggling to cope. 

Of course, it’s completely natural for humans to become emotional when bad things happen. It’s impossible to just forget about it. In many cases, it’s healthy for you to mourn for a while. Mourning helps you process your emotions and can prevent a breakdown further down the road. 

But it’s in your best interests to bounce back. You have a mission to achieve in this life, and it’s not going to happen if you’re too busy feeling sorry for yourself and complaining that life isn’t fair. 

Don’t know what your life’s purpose is? Finding and working towards it will help you to stay positive in the face of adversity. You need a life mission so important that nothing will stop you from succeeding.

On top of that, it’ll help to have friends or family members to pull you up when you’re about to lose hope. Life can be tough, but we humans can develop incredible strength in numbers. 

Professional advice from a therapist, life coach, business coach or any other type of mentor can be a godsend. Meditation helps people control their emotions in adversity. Faith in a higher power has helped so many people cope through tough times. Confidence in your ability to succeed can be a superpower in sticky situations too…

What do you do to stay positive when something bad happens? It would be great to see your answer in the comments section. Also, what’s your conclusion on this topic? I’d love to talk further about it and will do everything in my power to respond to every comment.

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.