“Did I Cause That?” Usually Comes from a Young Place

Last week, I had a very useful conversation with my own IFS therapist. She helped me sort through a whole mess of confusing thoughts I had been having and get back to a grounded place. In the course of this process, one of the thoughts that came up for me was along the lines of “Did I cause this?”

She shared one of her heuristics with me, which is that thoughts about whether we’ve caused something, or whether something is “our fault” usually come from very young parts of our psyche. 

Obviously, this isn’t to say that there aren’t true questions to be asked and answered about what role we played in a particular outcome. We can ask where our intentionality was pointed. We can look at the various contributing factors and wonder whether what happened was overdetermined or not. 

We can certainly look at our actions and determine whether they were in line with our values and what we would and wouldn’t do again.

But it’s also important to know that the visceral “is this my fault” feeling is most likely something leftover from being much younger.