Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

Learned Helplessness

I read this book a while ago. The author is Martin Seligman. The book describes psychology experiments involving learned helplessness. I don't know if this book can help explain procrastination but surely it's a completely different perspective. The same author also written Learned Optimism, but due to procrastination I didn't read that follow-up book.
Learned helpless is defined as a psychological condition in which a human or animal has learned to believe that it is helpless. It thinks that it has no control over its situation and that whatever it does is futile. As a result it will stay passive when the situation is unpleasant or harmful and damaging. This study can explain depression but I am not sure if it can be releated to compulsive avoidance. Just a different perspective...

Learned Helplessness Book - Did it help?

For those of you who have read the book on Learned Helplessness. Did it help you and if it did how? Does it help you understand how to eliminate learned helplessness or get it under control?


"You got hands, you got legs. Go open that door and walk THROUGH...
Cannot return."
Miranda Hope

I haven't totally thought through this but . . .

What this immediately brought to my mind was the people who see themselves as "victims". Now, I immediately want to say that this comment is not about anyone here or about what anyone is saying about their behaviour!!! I am very new and don't know anyone here!

That came to mind because of the idea of the mention in the first post about "no control over its situation". Victim type personalities seem to renounce any responsibility or control for their situations - putting the "blame" for it all on others.

I don't know enough about psychology to really speak on this topic, but it would seem that they must feel that they "get something" out of this way of thinking/living. For the life of me I don't know what though . . .

Learned Helplessness

Necroposting again. Smile

As the younger sibling in the family, if I couldn't get my calculus homework, I was often able to my genius brother to explain it to me. Or my classmates. I guess that is not wrong in and of itself, but when there is no longer a brother or a classmate to explain things like my job or my research.... that's a problem.

Earlier in my life, it seemed like there was often someone with a solution or a helping hand or something. And if I waited long enough, or got into a serious enough fix, I would eventually get the help I needed, or sometimes abandon the thing I wanted to do.

But now, past 40, there isn't always someone there to help, so I procrastinate, but it doesn't always end so well...

necroposting lol

"I'm tired of pretending I'm not a total freaking rock star from Mars." - Charlie Sheen

necroposting lol

"I'm tired of pretending I'm not a total freaking rock star from Mars." - Charlie Sheen

hopes that situation will magically fix itself?

I am reminded of some of the 12 Signs of Compulsive Debting, as listed here:

See also Gwen D's brilliant 2005 adaptation for Procrastinators:
"Signs of Compulsive Time-Debting"
(partway down the page)

more on "learned helplessness"

I wrote a post about this a couple of years ago, but had forgotten until you revived the topic.  I think it's something I need to ponder again, so thank you!
My other thread is here:


Different how?

"but surely it's a completely different perspective"

Would that be different from the idea of it as an addiction?

I think that much of my behaviour can be described as learned helplessness as that was my childhood experience. Nothing I did was good enough, everything had to be perfect or better. I'm dyslexic so found it difficult to complete written work and often the trouble I got into for not doing it was no worse than the trouble for doing it badly.

The last time I was with my mother before she died she explained to me how badly I had done and how she was leaving almost all of her(the family money) to my brother.

Sad that she could never accept me as me.

This is not meant to be a pity post. I'm grown up and have supportive friends, fellowships, a spiritual path and you folks here.

Am tired now Good night folks


@ Rexroth - learned helplessness

I am sorry to hear that your mother showed you such rejecting behaviour. I can empathise. You have done well to have grown up and made a path for yourself. I am trying to do this too. 

I agree with you about the link between procrastination and learned helplessness. Much of my behaviour is also akin to this and I suppose it comes from growing up in a situation where nothing was ever right, so why bother. Doing things just drew attention, usually about how inadequate things were. 

v best wishes,


Best wishes to you too

Best wishes to you too Hooch

and thanks for your support