Have you ever experienced a feeling of being stuck and not knowing how to proceed? That is what an experience of the emotion of helplessness may feel like for people. Helplessness arises when a person perceives that a situation may be so bad or so much bigger than themselves that they experience a sense of powerlessness like nothing they do can change it.

Sometimes we may also feel that no matter how much we have tried, the outcome or the situation itself does not seem to change. When a person encounters such situations, they might give up and stop trying to affect change. This is called learned helplessness.