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a mental condition in which one becomes unable to help oneself due to previous failed attempts at controlling one's life; also, a condition in which a person establishes and maintains contact with another by adopting a helpless, powerless stance
Learned helplessness is conditioned behavior in which an individual gives up trying to escape a painful situation after repeatedly failing to escape.
learned helplessness n.
A laboratory model of depression in which exposure to a series of unforeseen adverse situations gives rise to a sense of helplessness or an inability to cope with or devise ways to escape such situations, even when escape is possible.