Dear Cody,

I once heard from someone that it is no ones responsibility but your own to be happy.

But, if someone is mean and emotionally abusive to someone else I believe that they should not be this way. It hurts the others happiness.

So shouldn't we take responsibility for not hurting one another?



You are mixing up categories here.

When someone says it is your own responsibility to be happy, he means that you have to be strong enough not to let others' actions and words have a negative affect on you.  It is part of cognitive-behavioral therapy that involves self-talk and positive thinking.  It is especially helpful when someone is in an unavoidable relationship in which another person is mean or abusive in some way.

That does not mean we have a license to be mean to others, or that we are not responsible for our actions towards them.

Consider this situation: a driver cuts someone off in traffic, and the person cut-off yells, "Learn how to drive, idiot!"  A person with a victimization mentality might think, "Gee, I'm an idiot who doesn't know how to drive." and then be depressed the rest of the day.  Another person might think, "Gee, I'm sorry I made a mistake.  It's not like a killed you!" and then be happy the rest of the day.  The first person cared too much what a stranger thought, the second person didn't care at all.

What doesn't change in the story is that in both scenarios, the second driver acted emotionally and yelled an unkind comment.  He is responsible for yelling that, but is not responsible for how the first driver reacts.

Hope this helps,



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Cody Sain


Society for Re-Evangelization

I will answer questions regarding Catholic teachings and Catholic philosophy, including misconceptions and objections to the faith. I will usually recommend further reading, and I welcome follow-up questions.

In particular I welcome questions about:
-Mary & The Saints
-The Pope, Bishops, Priests, Monks & Nuns
-Vatican II
-Women in the Church
-Justification & Sanctification
-The last judgment, Purgatory, Heaven, Hell
-What the Catholic Church says about the "rapture" and the "millennium"
-Anti-catholics, esp. Jack Chick
-Angels & Devils
-The Eucharist (Holy Communion, Lord's Supper)
-The problem of evil
-The problem of divine foreknowledge, free will, and predestination
-Questions about love & sex, abortion, contraception, homosexuality, and other "HOT TOPICS."
-Questions about Church policy in regards to Catholic politicians in the United States.

I prefer not to be asked questions about canon law (the law of the church) especially with respect to marriage and annulments, or other personal questions of a spiritual nature. I can give you general answers, but I find that these questions are best asked by a priest or spiritual director. Your local pastor or diocese should be able to help you.

Restrictions: **Please ask one question at a time. Do not come to me with a laundry list of questions and expect me to answer them all together in one fell swoop. If I feel your question is less of a question and more of an attack, I may refuse to answer it.**

Guidelines for follow-ups:

When engaging in an extended discussion, I will respond to the specific points you make, and I expect you to do the same. If you are argumentative and ignore my points in order to make your own, I may decide to refuse to answer your question altogether.


I was raised Southern Baptist and converted to Catholicism in 2003. I'm familiar with many the misconceptions of Catholicism. I also hold an MA in philosophy from Boston College. I have been on All Experts since 2001, when I was in high school, before I was Catholic. I will be reviewing my old answers and offering any corrections or further explanation when necessary.

Knights of Columbus (both 3rd and 4th degree)

BA, Philosophy & Religious Studies: Texas A&M University
MA, Philosophy: Boston College

©2016 All rights reserved.