Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Learned Helplessness

I'd forgotten about learned helplessness until it hit me smack in the face this week. I've been watching this person for months struggle with whatever comes to her. It finally dawned on me, the struggle is how she gets others to do for her instead of having to do for herself.

I'd wondered how such a bright child could be so awkward with direction. Yet my realization suddenly makes everything clear. The sad fact is she's caught in just another manipulative trap. Whether this game was put on her by controlling parents or created by the child herself doesn't really matter. What's important is it's a crippling game.

Women who practice this behavior find themselves in unhealthy situations more often than not. Not having the skills to care for oneself can be a death sentence. There's nothing that attracts predators more quickly than this type of behavior. They feed on it. They need it. It's what makes them feel in control.

So sadly I watch this child cling to her helplessness knowing that it'll be a hard road to follow. It's difficult to see someone so young trapped. Yet unwilling to see anything but what works for her. It doesn't take a crystal ball to know where this road leads.

Do you see learned helplessness around you? If so, how do you deal with it? You can bet I'll be spending sometime figuring out how I'm going to deal with this.


Kahless said...

There is someone I know who was abused by her husband. Then her husband tried to kill her this year. She was lucky to live. He was remanded in prison. Then he killed himself a week later.
There were some other things that went on for her around this time too that were horrid.
I have been so amazed with her strength and ability to be pragmatic and pick herself up. I have been well impressed by her courage.

I guess that doesnt help with your question. In terms of your question, figure out her payoff in the game. Figure out how she gets other trapped into playing the gme with her. Then bring it to her attention if you care about her. Or maybe if you dont care, just stop playing the game.

I hope you are well. xx.

Lady Of Chaos said...

Helplessness can come in so many forms. Some are easy to understand and see and other's are a bit blurry.

And age plays a factor too. With age and experience comes confidence, when someone's young most times they don't have alot of self-confidence and doubt themselves alot, so they seem really helpless.

If she's really helpless and can't do for herself (for physical or mental reasons), well I'd try to teach her how to do what she is capable of doing, expecting no more than that, but encouraging more.

If she's playing the manipulate game, then I'd stop letting her manipulate. Easier said than done. But at least she wouldn't manipulate me.

If she's just lacking confidence in herself, I'd try to build up her confidence and encourage her to do more on her own to build that confidence. The result would that she'd stop being so helpless in many situations.

Without knowing the exact way she is, I can't say which thing I'd do in that situation. You've got my mind wandering...

Kahless said...

The lady I spoke above. She went on a bungy jump on wednesday and broke her leg bone lengthways. Been in hospital to have an op to get it pinned. She is really having life shove it at her at the moment but is resilient and chirppy. I cant help but think in her situation I would have buckled.