Learned Helplessness Explained from Personal Experience

A Very Bad Place

That god-awful place I was in years ago is a place I never want to return to. There was a time I’d given up- a time I felt that I had no control over my own life. Instead of running my life, I let my life run me. Even worse, as much as I wanted to fix it, I didn’t know how.

All I knew was that my life was a constant battle- a war I never volunteered to fight in but one I felt I’d been involuntarily drafted into- with no furlough, no R&R, and one that seemed to be never-ending. I was as a ship without a rudder.

Bad things kept happening back-to-back and I didn’t know what was broken. Therefore, there was no way of knowing how to fix it.

It looked as if everyone else was happily enjoying life- getting what they wanted (or more appropriately, what I wanted)- everyone except me, and I was sick of always being an exception.

I had been programmed to believe, though subconsciously, that love, success, anything good and meaningful, was for anyone who wasn’t me. I felt that God loathed me and wanted to punish me by blocking me from any kind of happiness, satisfaction, and contentment, while making sure I’d see everyone else reaching successes and enjoying their lives.

And I hated them all for it. Even worse, I hated God for seemingly blessing them and cursing me- for allowing me to suffer and seemingly leaving me to fend for myself, then cutting off ways for me to do it. I felt that it just wasn’t fair. I stopped talking to God. I wanted nothing to do with Him. I either wanted to ignore Him flat out or curse Him in my heart. I was angry- no. I was outraged!

Depression Concept with Word Cloud and a Humanbeing with broken Brain and Heavy Rain

I was in such a bad place and life sucked- royally!

It was as if He were forcing me to suffer and, at the same time, rubbing everyone else’s successes and blessings in my face. It was the feeling of being starved and denied essential nourishment while being tied to a chair and forced to watch everyone in the room eat heartily and enjoy a huge feast.

That was torture!

It’s Only the Result of Learned Helplessness.

But you see? This is what learned helplessness does. It programs you to believe that you’re at the mercy of Fate! You ask yourself, “what’s the point?” After so many disappointments and heartaches, you come to feel that there’s nothing you can do to change your situation- that you’re just “stuck with it,” and “that’s just the way it is.”

Learned helplessness forces you to believe that you have power over nothing! You’re just a leaf being blown about by the wind- a car without a steering wheel. It is as if your life has been set to autopilot and there’s no way you can navigate its direction.

You come to believe that you should just roll over, resign yourself, and accept your fate and station in life- just go with the flow and let yourself be blown wherever the wind decides to take you.

At the time, therapy helped a little, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t enough. It only allowed me to keep existing instead of living. All the therapists wanted to do was shove anti-depressants down my throat, which, in most cases, left me feeling like a zombie- like I was just there, and that’s it. They were only treating the symptoms and not the root cause.

The Turning Point

My saving grace was when God showed me what I needed to do. And what pulled me out of this dark pit was when I began reading personal development and putting everything I learned into practice. I was hungry for any knowledge I could use to make a better life for myself. I ordered and devoured book after book, and I continued to practice the new habits I’d learned everyday until it became like second nature, and I no longer had to think about it.

The transformation didn’t happen overnight. It took a few years but I was amazed at the results and the good blessings that begin to flow into my life almost immediately!

I now realize that all along, I’d always had the power to change things, only I’d never known I had it.

And power you don’t know you have is power you don’t have because it’s power you can’t use. You cannot use anything you don’t know you have.

A Positive Outcome

In general, I’m a happy person today. I’m confident and comfortable in my own skin. I know who I am and what I want out of life, and I go after it with excitement and fervor. Yes! Now, I get excited about my life and about the future!

This is not to say that I don’t have days when I’m not at my best because I do. Things will still go wrong as they most certainly will for anyone of us. I just have a much better way of looking at it and it doesn’t feel nearly as bad as it used to. I may not have total control of my life, only God has that. But I have control over much more than I did years ago.

Any time I even suspect that I’m slipping back into the “old mindset,” I quickly begin counting my blessings and reminding myself that there are many people who have it much worse than I ever had it and before I know it, I’m back to where I need to be.

But most importantly, I’m making my peace with God and there’s nothing better than that!

So, I want you to know that, if you’re in the same bad place, you don’t have to continue living there. You have more power than you realize, you just don’t know it’s there. You do not have to accept everything that you’re not happy with and that brings you pain.

You do have the power to change it. I’ll show you how in the next post!

11 thoughts on “Learned Helplessness Explained from Personal Experience

  1. Pingback: Learned Helplessness Explained from Personal Experience – Tonya LaLonde

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