The Hidden Payoff of Staying Stuck: The Truth Behind Helpless Stories

Table of Contents

Imagine waking up every day feeling like you’re the star of a movie you never auditioned for.

A never-ending drama where you’re cast as the person who is always slighted or treated unfairly.

It’s a script many of us unknowingly write for ourselves.

Most people are not aware that it’s possible to yell ‘cut’ and rewrite the storyline.

And even if they know they can rewrite the story, many people do not want to.

Their “struggle” and “drama” story somehow feels too familiar and safe to let go.

At some level, the “helpless” people believe that the drama gives them significance, attention, or love. They have made their “victim” or “unlucky” story part of their identity.

Unfortunately, the drama story does not give anyone the significance and love they hope for.

It traps them in a hopeless Groundhog Day, where they keep being slighted by others and disappointed.

I have compassion for this hopeless, helpless, victim-narrative person, as I have been there. I believe we all have at times.

Here are some signs to recognize whether you or someone close to you are in this mindset right now:

  • You think you are unlucky compared to others.
  • You blame others often, and you hold resentment against those who wronged you.
  • You often compete with others about who has had it worse.
  • You refuse help or hire help while secretly wanting the helper to fail. This way, you can prove to everyone that even though you tried, you are indeed helpless (and unique in your helplessness). “Nothing will work for me!” is your thought.
  • You devise all the reasons something won’t work and often argue for your limitations.
  • You avoid change or risks but then complain about being stuck.
  • You constantly compare yourself with other people and feel jealous of their successes.
  • You neglect your health.
  • You keep toxic friendships or relationships.
  • You are often frustrated, and you complain all the time.


Do any of the above sound familiar? If yes, you need to go deeper.

What are you gaining by staying in the drama? There is always a payoff.

Is it the lack of responsibility for your results? Is it protecting yourself from potential failure or rejection?

Is it simply fear of the unknown and addiction to the stress chemicals?

What is your reward for staying stuck?


How do you break free from this dramatic, “unfair” and helpless cycle?

Recognizing the problem is only the beginning. Here’s how to move forward and rewrite the story.


Step 1: Acknowledge Your Role

The first step is acknowledging your role in maintaining the narrative. This isn’t about assigning blame but recognizing your power to change the story.

While external factors may have contributed to your current state, your reactions and decisions are crucial in sustaining it.


Step 2: Identify Your Payoff

Ask yourself what the benefit of the drama and the helplessness are.

Is it a need for attention, love, or an excuse to avoid risks?

Identifying these needs helps you understand the payoff of your helplessness narrative. It will provide clues on what to address to move beyond it.


Step 3: Seek Positive Alternatives

Once you’ve identified the needs fueling your helplessness story, look for positive ways to meet them.

If you crave attention or love, consider how you might forge deeper, healthier relationships.

If you’re avoiding risk, start by taking small, manageable steps out of your comfort zone.


Step 4: Challenge Your Mindset

Begin to challenge the thoughts and beliefs that reinforce your sense of helplessness or victimhood.

When you catch yourself falling back into the narrative, pause and question the validity of those thoughts.

Replace them with more empowering beliefs that highlight your strengths and capabilities.


Step 5: Build a Support Network

The fastest way to shift your mindset is to spend a lot of time with people with an empowered, positive outlook. This could be listening to podcasts, taking courses, or hiring mentors who see life differently.

Surround yourself with people who believe in you and support your journey towards change. This could include friends, family, or a professional therapist.

A strong support network can provide encouragement, advice, and a different perspective.


Step 6: Practice Gratitude and Mindfulness

Focusing on gratitude can shift your perspective from lack to abundance and possibility.

Regularly acknowledge what you’re thankful for, including small wins and progress.

Mindfulness helps you stay present and recognize that you can choose how you react to life’s challenges.


Final Thoughts

Shifting away from a helplessness narrative is one of the most worthwhile personal growth journeys.

That is when the magic happens, and we turn from a victim to creator.

We turn from someone who sucks the energy out of the room to someone who is a shining role model for others.

Success and happiness will require leaving behind every last drop of the helplessness, stuckness, and victim narrative and ensuring it does not sneak back in. Are you in?


Download my free guide about How To Let Go Of Everything That Does Not Align With Your Vision.

Discover how to:
Identify what to let go of first.
Choose one of the 7 strategies to let go with grace and without burning any bridges.
Ensure unwanted activities do not creep back in.

Link here.

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Picture of Caterina Kostoula

Caterina Kostoula

Caterina Kostoula is an executive coach and founder of The Leaderpath.

Her mission is to coach pioneering leaders for impact and fulfilment.

She has worked as a Global Business Leader at Google where she was
also a 5-star rated internal coach. She has coached leaders and teams from Google, Amazon, Stripe and Workable, as well as a number of startups.

Caterina teaches the popular Life Vision Programme at INSEAD Business School.

Her work has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company and Thrive Global. Her best-selling book, “Hold Successful Meetings”, was published by Penguin in 2021. Her TEDx talk is called “Do your goals prevent your success?”

Education

– MSc in Executive Coaching from Ashridge Business School (EMCC-accredited)

– INSEAD MBA

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The Hidden Payoff of Staying Stuck: The Truth Behind Helpless Stories

Imagine waking up every day feeling like you’re the star of a movie you never auditioned for.

A never-ending drama where you’re cast as the person who is always slighted or treated unfairly.

It’s a script many of us unknowingly write for ourselves.

Most people are not aware that it’s possible to yell ‘cut’ and rewrite the storyline.

And even if they know they can rewrite the story, many people do not want to.

Their “struggle” and “drama” story somehow feels too familiar and safe to let go.

At some level, the “helpless” people believe that the drama gives them significance, attention, or love. They have made their “victim” or “unlucky” story part of their identity.

Unfortunately, the drama story does not give anyone the significance and love they hope for.

It traps them in a hopeless Groundhog Day, where they keep being slighted by others and disappointed.

I have compassion for this hopeless, helpless, victim-narrative person, as I have been there. I believe we all have at times.

Here are some signs to recognize whether you or someone close to you are in this mindset right now:

  • You think you are unlucky compared to others.
  • You blame others often, and you hold resentment against those who wronged you.
  • You often compete with others about who has had it worse.
  • You refuse help or hire help while secretly wanting the helper to fail. This way, you can prove to everyone that even though you tried, you are indeed helpless (and unique in your helplessness). “Nothing will work for me!” is your thought.
  • You devise all the reasons something won’t work and often argue for your limitations.
  • You avoid change or risks but then complain about being stuck.
  • You constantly compare yourself with other people and feel jealous of their successes.
  • You neglect your health.
  • You keep toxic friendships or relationships.
  • You are often frustrated, and you complain all the time.


Do any of the above sound familiar? If yes, you need to go deeper.

What are you gaining by staying in the drama? There is always a payoff.

Is it the lack of responsibility for your results? Is it protecting yourself from potential failure or rejection?

Is it simply fear of the unknown and addiction to the stress chemicals?

What is your reward for staying stuck?


How do you break free from this dramatic, “unfair” and helpless cycle?

Recognizing the problem is only the beginning. Here’s how to move forward and rewrite the story.


Step 1: Acknowledge Your Role

The first step is acknowledging your role in maintaining the narrative. This isn’t about assigning blame but recognizing your power to change the story.

While external factors may have contributed to your current state, your reactions and decisions are crucial in sustaining it.


Step 2: Identify Your Payoff

Ask yourself what the benefit of the drama and the helplessness are.

Is it a need for attention, love, or an excuse to avoid risks?

Identifying these needs helps you understand the payoff of your helplessness narrative. It will provide clues on what to address to move beyond it.


Step 3: Seek Positive Alternatives

Once you’ve identified the needs fueling your helplessness story, look for positive ways to meet them.

If you crave attention or love, consider how you might forge deeper, healthier relationships.

If you’re avoiding risk, start by taking small, manageable steps out of your comfort zone.


Step 4: Challenge Your Mindset

Begin to challenge the thoughts and beliefs that reinforce your sense of helplessness or victimhood.

When you catch yourself falling back into the narrative, pause and question the validity of those thoughts.

Replace them with more empowering beliefs that highlight your strengths and capabilities.


Step 5: Build a Support Network

The fastest way to shift your mindset is to spend a lot of time with people with an empowered, positive outlook. This could be listening to podcasts, taking courses, or hiring mentors who see life differently.

Surround yourself with people who believe in you and support your journey towards change. This could include friends, family, or a professional therapist.

A strong support network can provide encouragement, advice, and a different perspective.


Step 6: Practice Gratitude and Mindfulness

Focusing on gratitude can shift your perspective from lack to abundance and possibility.

Regularly acknowledge what you’re thankful for, including small wins and progress.

Mindfulness helps you stay present and recognize that you can choose how you react to life’s challenges.


Final Thoughts

Shifting away from a helplessness narrative is one of the most worthwhile personal growth journeys.

That is when the magic happens, and we turn from a victim to creator.

We turn from someone who sucks the energy out of the room to someone who is a shining role model for others.

Success and happiness will require leaving behind every last drop of the helplessness, stuckness, and victim narrative and ensuring it does not sneak back in. Are you in?


Download my free guide about How To Let Go Of Everything That Does Not Align With Your Vision.

Discover how to:
Identify what to let go of first.
Choose one of the 7 strategies to let go with grace and without burning any bridges.
Ensure unwanted activities do not creep back in.

Link here.