Learned Helplessness & Hopelessness

2 min readJul 6, 2020


”Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you — all of the expectations, all of the beliefs — and becoming who you are.” — Rachel Naomi Remen

Our mind is constantly fighting psychological battles which we might not even consider important discussing, but those who are aware of them and those who go through them are constantly struggling. Many times we are consecutively bombarded with a lot of disturbing information which might impact our psyche in ways which we might not always understand. It is this constant disturbing information that puts us in a place where we might feel helpless or hopeless and feel that everything is out of control.

These cognitive distortions root from the feelings of sadness, fear, irrational beliefs, which in turn lead to a vicious cycle we are trapped in, which we don’t even realize.

Learned helplessness is a phenomenon in which a person might learn the idea of being unable to do anything to control the situation or various factors and therefore, start resonating with the feeling of being helpless. This concept was given by Martin Seligman.

Hopelessness expectancy was added to this concept later by Abramson who said that not only do people start believing that they have no control over the situation but also that the outcome would be bad.

This phenomenon depends on many psychological and social factors. But since we have now gained the knowledge of the existing cognitive distortions, we can work on breaking the patterns; engage in healthy behavior and relationships.


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