Can we say someone ‘chose’ something when they were actually acting out of a deeply unconscious pattern? No and to say so puts the ‘blame’ on someone who does not deserve it. We must always remember that choice involves consciousness and often it is pain and suffering that wakes us up to negative choices that hurt us and then demand we look within and without to find why we are repeating a familiar pattern that keeps us stuck when there is the possibility of something different occurring if we can become conscious enough to change the pattern.
Eckhart Tolle says it well :
Choice involves consciousness – a high degree of consciousness. Without it you have no choice. Choice begins the moment you dis-identify from the mind and its conditioned pattern, the moment you become present. Until you reach that point, you are compelled to think and feel and act in certain ways according to the conditioning of your mind. That is why Jesus said “forgive them, for they know not what they do”. … This is not related to intelligence in the conventional sense of the word for I have met highly intelligent and educated people who were completely unconscious. … The mind always seeks to recreate what it knows and is familiar with. Even if it is painful, at least it is familiar. The mind always adheres to the known. The unknown is dangerous because it has no control over it. This is why the mind dislikes and ignores the present moment Present moment awareness creates a gap not only in the stream of the mind but also in the past-future continuum. Nothing truly new and creative can come into this world except through that gap, that clear space of infinite possibility.
The Power of Now p. 227