One aspect of learned helplessness that Seligman and most therapists generally don't take into account is group pressure, whether family or the workplace. Seligman studied the insurance industry where the systems pressure as well as the individual pressure is to succeed. In government, where I have worked many years, the systems pressure is "be helpless"....so people with learned helplessness patterns developed in childhood find a home in govt offices. If a person tries to be optimistic while, say, working for the Veterans Administration, he or she may be scapegoated for being outside conventional reality. I have seen this happen. I have also seen a person jump from the 14th floor of the VA building in August 1980. That was the only way this person could be optimistic--certainly couldn't get any encouragement from "fellow" employees or management! Seems to me Seligman was being funded by insurance industry, wasn't he? Certainly not by the VA.
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