Archive for Learned Helplessness

This video illustrates the importance of actively pursing a solution, rather than waiting for others (or for the world) to offer you a solution to your problems.

Practical Problems Require Problem Solving

When faced with practical problems, it is key to proactively engage in the problem solving process.   This is especially difficult for people who grew up in chaotic and abusive families, where efforts at problem solving were often unsuccessful.  When repeated attempts fail, a person can learn what is called Learned Helplessness.  In other words, they learn that no matter what they try, nothing will help.  They give up, stop trying to find solutions, and just absorb whatever the world throws at them.

These individuals often carry this core belief, that they are helpless to solve their problems, into other circumstances, later in life.  They let themselves be carried by various forces, feeling helpless to set their own course.  Realizing that problem solving could be helpful is the first step for such individuals to get control over their own lives.  (Click for more about Problem Solving Therapy.)

A Young Man with Rare Determination

Alex Chivescu has been through a lot.  His parents divorced when he was two, his father was not in his life, and then his mother suffered a head injury, causing her to become abusive and neglectful.  Eventually his mother lost custody of him.  Not only did he avoid the trap of Learned Helplessness, but he channeled all his energies into doing the best he could do at school, using it as an escape and excelling there.  But when he was moved away from his school district, he had to go a step further…

Categories : Relationships
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