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Whose Problem Am I?

By Steve Wickham

A play on The Motels' song, Whose Problem (1980), we have the opportunity to ask ourselves a most important question: Whose problem (presently) am I? Am I the cause of any unnecessary burden? Does anything remain unresolved because of, or despite, me?

One way we practically love people is by relieving any sense of difficulty, that we can, which might affect the rapport we would otherwise mutually enjoy.

"Whose problem am I, if I'm not yours?" That was the original crux of the song, and it utters a certain truth. We all want to be called someone's son or daughter, wife or husband, partner etc. We all, of the sense, want to be 'owned' by somebody - in the way of their care. We want to be cared for by other, or another, human being(s).

In a weirdly ironic way we want people to check up on us; to prove that they care about us, what we do, what we are about. There is a need in many of us to be 'a problem' (in this way) for someone or some people. We want to be their concern.

Of course, many close relationships will be intentionally, and permissively, problematic. It's the nature of love; when we are fully vested and sown into relationship we assume a certain level of care will produce a certain quantity or quality of problem.

We go into these relationships with our eyes open. We know the price of love is a modicum of suffering, grief, risk of betrayal, disappointment etc.

There will be conflict; nothing surer.

The mere fact of intimacy suggests we must risk something, via the glittering facets of trust, to establish love. Love is a messy thing; essentially it's problematic. We don't have a choice, many of us, because we are wired to love and be loved.

There is still the opportunity, however, to reflect: Am I being especially burdensome?

Only we, by our observations and perceptions, can make that call. Only we have the capacity to right any of these wrongs that occur in our lives because of us, personally.

We can all be overly burdensome from time to time, and though our loved ones know us and love us dearly, in spite of our quirks, it's our responsibility to amend problematic behaviour.

Whose problem am I? It's a decent enough question. Knowing the answers to such questions is our social responsibility.

A significant part of loving one another is not just acting in love, but it's also not acting in abusive and neglectful ways. Relationships blossom when problematic issues are tackled head-on.

Copyright (c) 2011 S. J. Wickham
Steve Wickham is a Registered Safety Practitioner (BSc, FSIA, RSP[Australia]) and a qualified, unordained Christian minister (GradDipBib&Min). His blogs are at: and
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