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On learned helplessness?

  1. Dec 8, 2018 #1

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    Can someone explain the process of learned helplessness to me?

    I am inquiring about how to unlearn such behaviour?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 8, 2018 #2

    DaveC426913

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    What have you found out so far? :biggrin:
     
  4. Dec 8, 2018 #3

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    Well, willpower, persistence, perseverance, seem to be important contributors to a healthy mental health and wellbeing. So, yeah I'm basically unsure when coping is an option and when unlearning said the behaviour is in question.
     
  5. Dec 8, 2018 #4

    osilmag

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    This is more of a psychology subject. However, it seems to me that the world changes and if something doesn't function or work anymore, maybe persisting/persevering at that is not advisable.
     
  6. Dec 8, 2018 #5

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    How do you alter your behaviour then? Why do people learn helplessness instead of healthy alternatives? Some guidance needed?
     
  7. Dec 8, 2018 #6

    osilmag

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    First off, I'm not an expert at this.

    If you are thinking of addiction, that is something different than helplessness or depression. Helplessness can be an actual "mental block" or "trap." They cannot envision with their minds an alternative. That helpless person could be carrying out a good thing but going nowhere.

    An addiction is a malevolent habit that arises from being rewarded in the mind the more that habit continues.
     
  8. Dec 8, 2018 #7

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    I don't know. It feels like obsession is a component in the issue too.

    You mean counterfactuals? Yeah, I mean I get that aspect of getting stuck in a certain narrative. How do you change it?

    Some addictions are necessary. I'm addicted to water.
     
  9. Dec 8, 2018 #8

    DaveC426913

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    One size does not fit all.

    Assuming this isn't a broad hypothetical, I think we'd need some specifics of the particular type and circumstances.


    I think you're kidding. (thus, the efficacy of smilies). In case you're not: that is not an addiction. There are specific conditions that need to be met for something to be an addiction, and water does not meet them.
     
  10. Dec 9, 2018 #9

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    So, a hasty generalization on my part?

    None provided. It's a template work on if you will.

    Understood. So, what is addiction?
     
  11. Dec 9, 2018 #10

    DaveC426913

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    Well, I simply meant that a generic question can only evoke generic answers.

    Rather than truncate a good answer with a short reply, I'd start with Wiki's description, which goes into it in as much detail as desired:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Addiction
    The first paragraph is just a teaser:

    Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences. Despite the involvement of a number of psychosocial factors, a biological process – one which is induced by repeated exposure to an addictive stimulus – is the core pathology that drives the development and maintenance of an addiction. The two properties that characterize all addictive stimuli are that they are reinforcing(i.e., they increase the likelihood that a person will seek repeated exposure to them) and intrinsically rewarding (i.e., they are perceived as being inherently positive, desirable, and pleasurable)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Addiction
     
  12. Dec 9, 2018 #11

    Tom.G

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    Often with parents shielding them from the results of non-optimal decisions. If a person is not given the opportunity to make mistakes and corrections, and is then always bailed-out, there is no incentive to consider consequences. This leads to a "Not my problem, someone else will fix it." attitude.

    Another apparent source is if someone is frequently told that their ideas are worthless and to "Do it this way." This trains them not to think and also undermines their confidence in making decisions in the first place.

    Both of the above are more common if someone is brought up in a somewhat isolated society and/or had a strict upbringing, where independent thought is frowned upon in favor of a more 'conformist' societal attitude.

    I've also known people that as adults just accept the idea that they have no control over things that happen to them, even when it is a direct result of their failure to act. Some of them seem to have their brain wired such that they actually can not forsee results. Others apparently discount the 'costs' of results because near-term activity is more heavily weighted than future situations are.
    That is the million dollar question! I suppose I could say try to think of "What would I do if no one else was around to do it? Do I want it enough to do the work?" Or try to think of the steps needed to get the desired result; breaking a problem or activity down to smaller pieces of thought often clarifies thinking.

    Unfortunately those suggestions boil down to 'try harder', which is about as useful as telling you to play a tune on a Didgeridoo when you did no't even know such a thing existed!

    I would think your best bet is spending some time with a psychologist or psychiatrist to explore your personal situation. You are ceertainly off to a good start by recognizing the situation and wanting to change it!

    Best of Luck,
    Tom

    p.s. Didgeridoo: a native Australian woodwind musical instrument (Google it)
     
  13. Dec 9, 2018 #12

    atyy

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  14. Dec 9, 2018 #13

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    I don't know how to phrase this without invoking a subject in place here (do subjectless sentences exist?). But, for the sake of argument, let's say that chronic depressives have an "addiction" to SSRI's? How do you address that? It might perhaps be an imbalance of neurotransmitter levels; but, does that correction provided by SRRI's, necessitating the concept of addictiveness?
     
  15. Dec 9, 2018 #14

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    How are Pareto optimal decisions achieved then?
     
  16. Dec 9, 2018 #15

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  17. Dec 9, 2018 #16

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    So, skimming the page, (and if you do a CRTL-F) for "control", then the article brims up with highlights of the text.

    So, the issue is fundamentally about "control theory"? I mean to posit that to want to talk about control in isolation of extraneous factors?

    How does a person respond to this? By satisfying that factor of control in one's life?
     
  18. Dec 9, 2018 #17

    osilmag

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    What are you trying to get at? You seem pretty evasive.

    Usually they fall into helplessness by refusing to open their mind to an alternative. They are living in denial and refuse to accept another way.
     
  19. Dec 9, 2018 #18

    DaveC426913

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    That is considered not an addiction but a dependency.

    Generally, as long as they get the therapeutic dose, they are fine. Its efficacy doesn't decline over time so they are stable and suffer no long-term ill effects from the dependency itself.

    The same cannot really be said for cigarettes or heroin, since the "fix" is directly counterproductive to a healthy body, and side effects of the fix - including overall health - will worsen over time. They definitely contribute to a shortened life span.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
  20. Dec 9, 2018 #19

    DaveC426913

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    One form of learned helplessness comes from an interrupted development of self-worth.

    As parents encourage their children with constructive praise, the children rate their own self-worth by their parents. As they get older though, ideally that 'You can do it' gets remolded into "I can do it." The praise they got from their parents (and other loves ones of course) becomes internalized. They are able to talk themselves into success.

    If this process does not occur for some reason - say, insufficient unconditional love - or worse, negative reinforcement - the developing child continues to seek approval from external sources well into adulthood. They cannot motivate themselves to look for their own solutions because the incentive to do so - the "You can do it" - has disappeared from their life. By reaching out for help (or simply by doing nothing until they're rescued) the stunted adult is seeking that external source of praise.
     
  21. Dec 9, 2018 #20

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    Such a tricky subject. How is self-worth instilled into a person?

    So, how would you explain that very process of 'internalization'? It's an ambiguous concept to me as far as I can tell.
     
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