Robb Willer: The Powerlessness Paradox Stanford Graduate School of Business

It’s possible we learned this as children (when we were most vulnerable to stress) – growing-up in families which were emotionally volatile, abusive or frightening. It’s also possible that we learned to avoid intimacy from our parents – believing it is better to hide our vulnerability rather than express with others. We may have learned to feel wary about the world from highly anxious parents who smothered us and displayed hypervigilant behaviours themselves.

examples of powerlessness

People may also experience feelings of powerlessness if they have been abused. When powerlessness becomes a chronic and repeated occurrence, these continuous, persistent feelings of powerlessness may lead people to become afraid to feel and express their needs. This may result in people becoming immobilized or developing feelings of helplessness.

Self-mastery: The art of learning to self-regulate

In this chapter, the basis for a conceptual understanding of power and powerlessness will be established. Based on the Weberʼs definition of power (extended by Luhmann), various aspects, identifying features and manifestations of power and powerlessness will be discussed. In psychotherapy we are constantly confronted and engaged with power structures of external and internal reality and also experience the challenges of our own involvement in power and powerlessness fantasies and scenarios. In order to be able to come to a reflective and empathic understanding and handling of these challenges ourselves and together with our patients, it will be developed, with reference to the theory of mentalization presented in ► Chap. 2, how the topics of power and powerlessness can be mentalized systematically, i.e. which dimensions can be considered and felt. Pharmacological interventions for SUD have wide acceptance in certain situations.

Machetes and zombie knives to be banned after loopholes leave police powerless – The Independent

Machetes and zombie knives to be banned after loopholes leave police powerless.

Posted: Tue, 18 Apr 2023 07:00:00 GMT [source]

I need to check email, to call my friends, to talk to my parents on Skype without this I would feel … disconnected from my life and out of my normal life. I would feel that I lost something very important in my life without it [media technology]. I didn’t feel secure … If my technology was down for more than a day I would freak out.


As you might expect, avoidance tactics are less effective than proactively confronting any problems that are within your reach. And deliberately reframing your thoughts, to put your troubles in perspective, can itself restore a sense of personal autonomy, even when the stress itself is impossible to evade. These previous studies had all tended to look at individual crises, rather than global events. But thanks to a chance coincidence, Anicich has already captured a snapshot of our feelings during the early days of the pandemic, which immediately threw billions of lives into disarray and severely limited many of the behaviours that we had taken for granted. Just because you feel powerless and helpless doesn’t mean you actually are. This happens because when we get scared, we get tunnel vision, said New York City psychologist Lauren Appio, Ph.D.

It makes so much sense when we look back at our behaviors—the threat of relationships ending, poor health, work-life, bad decisions, legal trouble, etc. We’re powerless when our mind is obsessing, so it’s nearly impossible to make the right decision. You might have this thought if you come from a family background that was rigid, with strict rules and no tolerance for mistakes. It is linked to a shame-based identity or view of self as fundamentally flawed or bad at the core. Physical punishment, deprivation, social withdrawal, or any other way of punishing yourself increases feelings of despair and hopelessness. And since addictive behaviors are the primary way you cope with distress and pain, you’ll return to those in a heartbeat.

Diversity, Democracy, and Social Justice in Education

Aversive therapy for alcohol dependence, for example disulfuram or neuropeptide blocking therapy such as naltrexone, has been employed in alcoholics. Other new drugs designed to decrease alcohol consumption, binge drinking, or produce aversive reactions, regularly become available. There have been no studies on the combined effects of neurofeedback with these therapies powerless over alcohol but there is little reason to believe that there would be interactions. Peniston anecdotally described aversive effects on exposure to alcohol occurring in subjects who underwent alpha–theta training for alcoholism but who were on no aversive medication. There is a possibility that alpha–theta neurofeedback may potentiate aversive drug therapies for alcoholics.

Minimizing the importance of these consistent practices of recovery is a recipe for slipping back into addiction. One skip becomes two, which becomes five, and before you know it you’ve gone months without receiving the support you need for your recovery. A foundational truth in recovery is that you cannot stop or do better on your own. This belief assumes that you should be able to do recovery by yourself instead of relying on the support of other people. It forgets the unsuccessful efforts you’ve made to stop in the past, even though many of them came out of a place of trying to do better.

Our hope is merely to capture the spirit of the fellowships, and to approach people with the language they commonly use to describe the disease of addiction. The first order of business should be to explain the meaning of powerless within this context, because that’s the term that confuses and upsets the most people, and it may turn some people away from Twelve Step recovery for good. If you are seeking drug and alcohol related addiction rehab for yourself or a loved one, the hotline is a confidential and convenient solution. For those who decide to use the 12 steps in their quest for recovery, there is a lot to learn.

  • As the epistemic path is reduced in strength, the number of measures needed for acceptable measurement reliability increases.
  • Sometimes, it could be that we want to help others but we don’t know how to help them.
  • Powerlessness is a normal and human response to stress, but it can also be a sign of depression or anxiety.

Step One AA is fundamentally about honesty, while active addiction is characterized by lies you tell yourself and everyone around you. Until you reach the point where you choose to get real, stop lying and accept that you need help, any efforts you make to deal with your addiction simply won’t be genuine or effective. And Dr. Bob S., the founders of Alcoholic Anonymous, published the first edition of “The Big Book.” In it, they outlined AA’s philosophy and methods for a peer-based recovery program for alcoholics based on the Twelve Steps of recovery.