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  1. #51
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    I have come to realize that people will make changes (including attitude changes) when they are ready to do so, and I don't know that there's anything anyone else can do to speed the process, as much as we love the person and want them to be happy/productive. Although I'm typically in the "stop whining and just DO SOMETHING already" camp, I have been on both sides of this situation a little bit. I'm glad you brought the topic up, though, because I guess I was starting to forget what it feels like and to get a little bit frustrated by people and not remember that I have had bad days or weeks like that too.

    Anyway, during some depressed points in my life (I call it being a wad, because I just want to wad myself up on the floor in the corner like a used sock or something), I have found it very difficult to find the motivation to change or do anything. And maybe in a way wallowing in the personal failure can give you this sort of sick pleasure, like when you press on a bruise and it hurts but kind of feels good too... I have definitely felt that way before. Noooooooobody cares about me. I'm such a failure. Booohoohoooo. It can be almost fun. For me though, I really appreciate the "tough love," when someone reminds me that I actually DON'T have any extenuating circumstances, that the roadblocks are all in my head, that I'm being somewhat ridiculous... but perhaps that's because being a wad is not my typical state and that kind of interaction snaps me out of it.

    But if a person's default mode or chronic mode is a sort of self-defeating mentality (not that I'd say anyone's default mode is a 'wad' - that's just more of a term I use on myself, when I'm being ridiculous), then I think it will take more than somebody pointing out the "reality" of the situation. Probably the longer you have been in the situation, the more entrenched you become, the more your perceived reality becomes REALITY rather than just a perception. I guess it's kind of like a very big ship trying to change direction rather than a small boat. It just takes a bit longer and more distance.

    I actually have felt this way about my mom at times. She has a lot of unhealthy attitudes and behaviors that have accumulated over the years. I love her dearly and don't want to see her almost a slave to those attitudes/behaviors. It would be especially evident to me when I was away at college and would come home and see the contrast after having been gone for months. Anyway, I would try to do things to "fix" the situation for her, to change her attitude or to explain why the way she saw things wasn't true. It seemed like she always had excuses or explanations, typically involving how other people NEED her to be in this role or situation, so she cannot take the steps that would help her to move past where she was in her life. I'm sorry if I'm being particularly vague here. Eventually I realized there was a good chance she would never change and that I could live the rest of my life wishing she were different or else just accept that maybe this was how she wanted* to be, at least for now, on some level, and do my best to be pleasant and helpful anyway.

    So but recently - and I have no idea why or what catalyzed it - she has started taking steps on her own, to change her situation and to do all of the things that will help her to be more in control of her situation. It is not linear, and it's very slow, but I feel really proud and I hope she will continue that way. This got really long but I guess it's something I've thought about a lot.


    *I do believe people do what they want to do, even if it makes them miserable, like I said earlier, it's a sort of pleasurable miserable
    Last edited by gromit; 06-26-2010 at 10:38 PM.
    Your kisses, sweeter than honey. But guess what, so is my money.

  2. #52
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    Default Pain = change

    People make changes and adapt when the pain becomes difficult to bear. That's all there is to it. You can't help anyone. Only they can, if they want. And if they wanted to, they would have already without having to wait for you. So just comfort them emotionally, but don't drive yourself crazy trying to fix problems for people.

  3. #53
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    I think from the outside, people will see these unhappy people's situations as simple, but from their inside perspective, there are so many hurdles, it is overwhelming. It's not a stubborn refusal to change so much as a hopeless resignation. The worst thing you can do is offer a series of suggestions. In such situations, most people offer trite advice that is just patronizing to the unhappy person; likely, they have already thought of such things. What they need is someone to build them up & comfort them, so they have the confidence in themselves to find their own solutions.

    I'd compare such a mental state to someone with a broken leg who wants to run a marathon. You could tell them they need to get up & start running if they ever want to be in shape, but that completely ignores the fact that their leg is broken and it's just plain going to take time & nurture to heal before they are strong enough to run again. It comes off as rather dense & insensitive to throw suggestions at them in the meantime. They probably know what they need to do anyway, so it's better to simply be supportive while they heal and encourage them when they do start to take some steps forward.

    I definitely see how it can be draining to be there for someone emotionally and never see them make effort to improve though. At some point, if they feel like an emotional leech, then maybe it's time to cut them off. It could be a wake-up call...maybe.
    Yeah, I definitely agree. I don't like easy answers to those situations. It does sound like she's in a bad place mental-health wise, definitely unlikely that she'll get out of it by herself. Yet, having only one person trying to do this for her is sub-optimal, too, since it might lead to co-dependant behavior. I suppose trying to find a new group of friends, perhaps that share her faith, would be the easiest path to recovery, still quite long though.
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  4. #54
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelric View Post
    I think that OrangeAppled's quote can really apply to anyone -- it's not an "Si" thing, necessarily. Anyone, when faced with repeated failure to gain some control over their own circumstances, could I think respond in the same manner. IMHO, one of the, and probably *the* best indicator of quality mental health is the belief that you have some sort of control over your life. Some people just don't -- they certainly lack the belief, and may or may not lack the circumstances, objectively, to make a change. It's definitely a vicious cycle of downer-ism that saps the will. A positive-feedback loop of misery, of sorts.


    I don't agree with this -- not that it's impossible or that it never occurs, but that it's completely outside the scope of the psyche of the person who's "stuck in the rut" of failure and lack of control over their own life. People who are stuck in a cycle of failure and feel like their outcomes are independent of their own actions rarely, if ever, consider success at this scale. At *most*, it's a fear of *trying and failing again*... trying and failing being worse than simply not trying and clutching to a glimmer of hope that "at least I didn't fail again". Success, or especially greatness, is never even considered -- certainly not enough for it to be the major factor in fear.

    I was reading a book that had a good piece on this a while back (digs through bookshelf to find it...). Here it is... Brain Rules, by John Medina. He has a section on stress, and the phenomenon of "learned helplessness". In it, he mentions a (horrific) experiment where a dog is sitting in an open cage, whimpering as it receives painful shocks. The dog doesn't get up, or make any move to get away, even though it would take minimal effort to walk out of the cage -- it's not restrained. A few days earlier, the dog *was* restrained, struggling and fighting to escape tie-down straps as the shocks were applied. But as the hours went on, and fighting and clawing to escape the shocks proved fruitless, the dog broke down and lost its will to fight back. Its will to fight back didn't return when it *could* have helped. It's a stress response, basically -- studies and works to try and help people who survived concentration camps showed that people show the same sort of responses.

    Moral of that story is... optimism that you have control over your own circumstances, is absolutely essential. Stress responses can and will *own* you, otherwise. People have different thresholds for such things, and undoubtedly a good social support group helps a huge deal. But it's *not* something that everyone can just snap out of. The bitterness probably flows from that.
    Good points.


    I'm somewhat reminded of aga's "Depression is a benefit" thread. The difference between people who have "been there" and people who are incapable of empathizing so they judge instead, or offer the inane cliches of self-help literature.

    What such people fail to consider, is that depression is a disease of the will. Taking action to change a situation requires the exercise of a will that may have been exhausted beyond use. That's why people sometimes kill themselves once they start taking antidepressants. The medication strengthens the will enough to take action, but the underlying problems still exist and the broken patterns of thinking about them make them seem insurmoutable.
    Telling someone to drive their car when there's no gas in the tank is pretty unhelpful and dumb.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
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  5. #55
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morgan Le Fay View Post
    The difference between people who have "been there" and people who are incapable of empathizing so they judge instead, or offer the inane cliches of self-help literature.

    Telling someone to drive their car when there's no gas in the tank is pretty unhelpful and dumb.
    I agree. I think action-oriented people who don't directly understand being stuck often don't realize they are causing more harm than good with their feedback, in spite of there usually being good intentions behind it. Anyone who's stuck is already feeling pretty crappy about themselves, whether they realize it or not (they might think they are just angry at the external world, but eventually it comes back to one's own confidence of one's ability to function in it). Approaching someone who's stuck with "don't think, just do" attitude is counter-productive, makes them feel even more broken and worthless. The part of their will which believes 'doing' is pointless needs to be addressed. Until it is- no matter how many new things they try and 'do'- all those new things will probably feel as pointless as the old ones.

    And I think Blankpages, Kelric and OrangeAppled all had really good points.
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  6. #56
    Senior Member Saslou's Avatar
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    I can only speak in my case but it may be an unhappy situation to you but it's still a safety net for your friend .. Things may change in time, who knows. That is her responsibility though, she just needs supportive people.

    Fear is also a great distraction for following dreams. I am aware using entrepreneurial things as an example .. You fail once but you try again until you succeed. Some people though are so disillusioned by the experience, why bother, there is a 50/50 chance.
    “I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower, you hung all your associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see—and I don't.”
    ― Georgia O'Keeffe

  7. #57
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gromit View Post
    Anyway, during some depressed points in my life (I call it being a wad, because I just want to wad myself up on the floor in the corner like a used sock or something), I have found it very difficult to find the motivation to change or do anything. And maybe in a way wallowing in the personal failure can give you this sort of sick pleasure, like when you press on a bruise and it hurts but kind of feels good too... I have definitely felt that way before. Noooooooobody cares about me. I'm such a failure. Booohoohoooo. It can be almost fun. For me though, I really appreciate the "tough love," when someone reminds me that I actually DON'T have any extenuating circumstances, that the roadblocks are all in my head, that I'm being somewhat ridiculous... but perhaps that's because being a wad is not my typical state and that kind of interaction snaps me out of it.
    I would say that's when things are at their most difficult.
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  8. #58
    Senior Member durentu's Avatar
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    It's not that people refuse to change their unhappy situations. It's because they believe they can't do anything about it.

    "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right. " - Henry Ford


    From my study of psychology, depression is really all in one's head. The imagination is a powerful tool, one that can both liberate and imprison the ego. But, to wield this power takes practice. This is a power that we all have and it feeds back into us and it's expressed in our bodies. The biological source of depression argument as the only one source of depression is bogus. Things like pills, clinical depression and ranting are all forms of validating one's flawed world view. These things only focus on the effects of depression. The root cause of depression is in the deviation from truth in the world view.

    Even from the book "Art of Seduction" this is an archetype of a seducer. Think of the emo-people.

    If you think about something stressful all day, wouldn't your heart rate go up?
    If you think about something delightful all day, wouldn't you smile more?
    If you looked at yourself in the mirror and held an artificial smile for a few seconds, wouldn't your feeling improve?

    There is a feedback from our biology to our minds and* from our minds to our biology.

    From the works of Ellis, Frankl, and Apostel, depression's roots can be found in one's world view.

    From Frankl, he explains that in between a stimulus and a response, there is a space in which we all can control. This is our last freedom, the ability to change our attitudes to situations regardless* of circumstances. This is true in comparing people in same situations, and in evaluating oneself.

    From Ellis, he's given us his method of REBT. The idea is that In between A - the activating event (stimulus) and C - the consequences, there are B- beliefs. in REBT, the therapy focuses on the beliefs. This is the practical tool to Frankl's discovery.

    While Frankl states that there is indeed a space between stimulus and response, Ellis provides a way to examine the belief system for individual events and try to work through the problems. The focus is always on the present and the future. How to move forward and let the past be in the past. In another words, "It's a brand new day"

    This belief system aggregates into one's world view. This is the root source of depression. To have a world view in which focuses on the items outside of control, rather than things that one can actually control. Listen to a depressed person carefully. What are their excuses? Most of the excuses I heard deals with things that they cannot control.

    Leo Apostel provides a way to examine one's world view in 7 main areas. From here, one can identify the parts where there's room for change and where there is not.

    1. What is the nature of the world and how is it structured?
    2. Why is the world the way it is and not different? Why are we the way we are and not different?
    3. Why do we feel in the way that we feel?
    4. Do we have to act and create in this world? How can we influence and transform it?
    5. What kind of future is ahead of us? Upon which criteria do we choose our future?
    6. What is the overall model that can explain all of the above?
    7. What are the world view fragments that started our own personal world view? Where did they come from?

    After the world view is picked apart and analyzed for inflexible items, one then starts to feel empowered. From here, the perspective starts to change from the impossible to the probable. Things like aspirations and goals starts to emerge.

    But of course, one can't do these things alone. Need good friends, mentors and cheerleaders to help one get moving along. And the interesting thing is that these people start popping up from no where or from random encounters.

    Then after this, an attitude of gratitude comes into being. Being able to receive well and to give well. Being in the service of others is very validating and emotionally helpful (not just mere feelings). Dr Seligman does this study where you think of a living person who has been a great positive influence in your life. A long thank you note. Then go deliver that note personally. The results show that there's a near 100% outcome of feeling better for both parties.

    Even thanking someone in a personal diary without sharing it with anyone has been shown to be helpful. Gratitude is the other side of forgiveness. It has nothing to do with the other person. It's all for your benefit.

    Depression has some common elements: isolation, focused on the past and not much thought of gratitude. Flip this to integrated, forward looking, and grateful.

    Finding inspiration, motivation or a jump start outside of yourself doesn't always work. It bypasses the greatest source of inspiration, motivation and jump starts: the self. Each of us has this innate value to create for ourselves poetry, crafts, relationships, experiences, etc that is tailor made for only us by us, and nobody else outside of us can so accurately match what we want.

    Just think, you'll never find that inspiration, motivation or jump start in the world: you've had it since birth.

    It's all in the world view.
    "People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates." - Thomas Szasz

  9. #59
    The Duchess of Oddity Queen Kat's Avatar
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    My mom is one of those people who refuse to change their unhappy situations, because she feels like she doesn't deserve a better situation. Her family ruined her self esteem when she was younger.
    I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower. The TV was obviously on. I used to fly myself and I said, "There's one terrible pilot."
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  10. #60
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    If depression is all in your head, what about OCD?
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

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