When Good People Make Bad Choices

Bad things happen to good people.  My question often is:  when they have a choice, why do good people choose for bad things to happen to them?  Here’s an email I received, which was titled “Choosing Wisely:”

Dear Dr. Laura:

…I have cerebral palsy.  My difficulties have motivated me to use common  sense quite frequently.  I consider what others may perceive as my  weakness to be my fulcrum of strength.

I have dated several men, but I knew at a young age that I couldn’t marry  a weak one.  I have to be strong, but in many ways, my husband IS one of  the reasons for my strength.

{I heard a female caller who knew she had not chosen her man wisely,  but] married him anyway.  When you were guiding her, she kept  responding with ‘I know that.’  But the fact is, she now has two children  who will likely witness an unhappy relationship between the parents or  succumb to the misfortunes of a broken home.  Why on earth are all the  red flags ignored?  We’re all born with a gift of intuition, but too often, it’s  discarded.  Choosing wisely in the first place is meant to help us avoid  unnecessary drama.

Many people still don’t realize the power that they have.  We teach others  every day how to treat us.  Conversely, we get treated in a manner that we  allow.  As I once read on your website, ‘The reason there are jerks is  because there is always someone willing to date them,’ and unfortunately,  in many cases, marry them.

My existence is hard, but choosing wisely was the easiest thing I have  done.  I have no complaints.  I suffer every day with a disability, but at  least it reminds me that I am alive.  I know you have said that what’s  ’normal’ cannot be fixes, and not everything can be.  However, if my  condition is the only thing I cannot fix, then I simply accept it.  I am my  husband’s girlfriend, and I remain your dedicated listener and reader.   Thank you for everything you’ve given me.


As a psychotherapist with over three decades on THIS job, I know that plenty of people get absorbed in the melodrama of difficult situations with huge ups and downs.  Some people compulsively re-live early childhood problems in the hope of finally having them end up better; others are just not ready for healthy intimacy, but dive in anyway.  Then there are those who aren’t very interested in giving, which is avoidable if you’re in a difficult relationship with a difficult person and always spend your time angry or hurt. 

I know all this, yet it hurts my soul when people line up for grief, disappointment, disaster and hurt.  It makes me angry (sorry, it’s true) when they triangulate children into the chaos.

Choose wisely; treat kindly.  Those are my four words for success.  They are why I do my show three hours each and every weekday…in the hopes that many of you good people will not make bad decisions.  Your life counts on it.