"Because Of" or "In Spite Of"

Sometimes I write about “therapeutic distinctions”, which are pairs of related concepts that have different meanings and can lead to different outcomes.  What came to my mind today is the relationship between "because of” and "in spite of".


A research study a few years ago studied people who were either very orderly or very messy. One disorganized man said his parents never cleaned up after themselves and so he grew up with the same habits. A very orderly man explained that his parents also never cleaned up after themselves and so he decided that he would live his life very differently.


Both people had the same history and went in two different directions either “because of" and "in spite of" this common starting point.


Our past both explains and challenges the way we live our lives.  How are you living both because and in spite of what has happened in your life up to this point?  How you answer this question can help guide you to know yourself better.



Bill Herring is an Atlanta therapist.  He helps folks with general problems of adult life and has special skills dealing with problematic sexual behavior.