Stuck In A Situation

"Some people are too scared, or something. I guess it's hard for people who are so used to things the way they are, even if they're bad, to change. 'Cause they kind of give up. And when they do, everybody kind of loses." - Pay it forward.

Stuck In A Situation
Stuck In A Situation

In the movie "Pay it forward", Trevor helps a homeless drug addict only to find him relapse later. He tries to help his mom to get out of an abusive relationship with his dad, only to see that it's the same thing with many other things that don't really seem as addictive as drugs. 

Bad situations can be addictive. Many of us may hate daily soap, but still watch it without even realizing it, when the TV is on and someone else is watching it. They can be terrible, but their highly predictable and familiar plot is something that our potato brain gets hypnotized to. To our brain, the known evil or mediocrity is far better than the unknown good. It craves stability, comfort and path of least resistance and effort. It may even be aware of the bad situation it is in, to some or deep extent. It may be very angry about it, have internal mental debates and battles every time you close your eyes to sleep, it may vocally complain a lot about it. BUT..but, why isn't it getting itself out of it? Because it's hooked into that bad situation. 

The more time it hesitates, the deeper it sinks into the quagmire and the more difficult it becomes to get out of it. This quagmire can be a dead end job, toxic relationship, a bad environment you seem to be stuck in etc. Now the brain starts an epic scam to keep you in an illusion. 

It lies to you in several ways: 

  • "We can't survive/make it anywhere else." Yes, yes, build over that low self esteem. Forget about the fact that we can still control and steer our life.
  • "May be, things will get better. May be this time." Really? What didn't happen over years, still has a chance to happen anytime now? How can you be so hopeful about this, but not about surviving elsewhere?
  • "But some things are great here, which aren't guaranteed elsewhere." Why is there only a pros list for this godawful situation? Where is the loooong cons list? 
  • "All is well." No, you are literally the dog in "dog sitting in fire meme".

It blocks you from looking at any information that can make you get out of here, censorship at it's best:

  • "It's not as bad as X." Why are comparing down to X, instead of comparing up to Y? If things can get bad, things can get great too. 

Okay, I feel bad for brain, now that I have painted it's image like Kim Jong Un. The thing is circumstances may have led to it falling into this pit and then staying stuck there:

  • It already had a poor self esteem to start with. It had low or no expectations from anyone or anything, which set other's expectations from you - that you are tolerating and accepting(read doormat), will accept anything shitty and not question or cause trouble. The already low self esteem keeps dwindling, the longer it stays in pit. It doesn't feel that it's worth anything and deserves nothing great.
  • It has never been in any good situation. It doesn't have any reference of how different things can be. So it accepts this as normal. It has normalized all bad situations from experience. 
  • It's addicted, the same negative patterns have been reinforced again and again. Added to this is the intermittent reinforcement by the bad situation - inconsistent reward gives higher satisfaction when finally rewarded as you have been waiting and anticipating it for so long, however tiny it is. This is contradictory, but it soon forgets the injustice upon receiving the tiny and most awaited reward. The pits always make us feel as if something is amiss with us-"if only, I can put more efforts into it."
  • It has been shrinking and it's growth is stunt with all the hopelessness around it. It becomes bitter over years. It gets so trained(by itself) to resist any change, that slowly the thoughts of any possible change completely stop.
It has invested so much of itself, energy, efforts and time into these rotten situations, which makes it even more difficult to part with. It takes an outsider to see the mess, right now it has become just part of the situation, a core part of this entire drama, that it can't see the big picture - what's actually happening. It's lying to itself. It is facilitating it's own abuse - it's as difficult as a depressed person snapping out of depression, they can't because they don't have the mental faculty to see the other side and come out of depression. 

Reasons for being stuck in a bad situation can be much more than laziness. And to make it out of such strong pull, we need lot of determination and singlemindedness - like a rocket using lot of escape velocity to raise against gravity.



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