Helplessness

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HELPLESSNESS STRESS

A sense of control is crucial for feelings of safety, even when it’s completely unmerited. When you have been challenged by helplessness, you can lose your ability to know how in control of a situation you are; you may feel powerless when the situation is not completely lost, or you may ignore real impediments from a misplaced sense of capability.

SAMPLE HELPLESSNESS CHECKS

Rank Example
1–2 Unintentionally humiliate yourself in public.
1–3 Get fired from a job you love.
2–4 Fail at something when it’s imperative that you succeed.
3–5 Get dumped into a pit of maggots.
4–6 Spend a month in jail.
5–7 Watch a recording of your spouse committing adultery.
7–8 Be placed in a situation where you have to either saw off one of your limbs or die.
7–9 Watch someone you love die.
8–10 Watch someone you love die because you tried to save them and failed.
9–10 Be possessed, yet conscious, as your body commits unspeakable acts against your will.

HARDENED HELPLESSNESS NOTCHES

Notch Example
1–3 You don’t have any major behavior or attitude shifts yet, just minor things. You tend to be pessimistic and fatalistic, perhaps.
4–6 Your fatalism has increased. When things go wrong in a big, bad way, or when trouble comes from a completely unexpected or unlikely source, you handle it with a remarkable lack of affect. This is not necessarily incongruent with the behaviors of two or more failed notches: it’s perfectly possible to be freakishly calm about big things and freakishly upset about little things.
7–8 You have a boundless faith in the ability of chaos to screw you over. You can easily believe that even the most suspicious of mishaps is simple random chance. So your brake cable snapped and your gas pedal got stuck to the floor. Why would that mean someone tinkered with your car? Shit happens.
9 The distinction between intentional and accidental is pretty much lost on you. Maybe you believe that everything is completely predestined, or maybe you believe that everything in the world happens due to chance. The one thing you find hard to swallow is the idea that we are the captains of our fates.

FAILED HELPLESSNESS NOTCHES

Notch Example
1 You’re fairly normal. Perhaps you’re a little finicky or meticulous, trying to eliminate the possibility of something going wrong.
2 You have a tendency to get unreasonably nervous and pessimistic when small things go wrong. You may be irritated if a bus is just a few minutes late, or if your computer freezes up.
3 You have an intense dislike for surprises, even good ones. They remind you of the essentially unpredictable nature of reality, and that scares and annoys you.
4 You find it very difficult to trust anything. Your friends, your own abilities, even your memories could be false, waiting to betray you. You have a tendency towards obsessive-compulsive behaviors such as checking the door to your house two or three (or more) times every time you leave to make absolutely certain it’s locked. You attempt to be prepared for every eventuality.
5 You are insane. Your experiences of confinement and denial have forced your mind to develop aberrant ideas as coping mechanisms. It may be blackouts, phobias, flashbacks, or something else entirely, but your life has deformed around it
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Helplessness

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