We have all had to make difficult decisions in our lives. During these moments, we start to doubt ourselves and get nervous because we just don’t know which option to choose. Indecision from time to time is normal.
However, when it begins to affect your personal relationships and cause stress, anxiety, or depression, indecision can become sickly. In this case we speak of aboulie.
First of all, it is important to emphasize that aboulia is a mental illness, not just a matter of self-esteem or insecurity. It makes it impossible for you to live your life because it prevents you from making decisions.
You no longer feel able to choose, to the point where even the simplest decisions, like choosing dessert, feel like an impossible feat. This pathological level of indecision then affects your entire daily life.
What unleashes indecision?
Research has not shown conclusively what exactly causes aboulia. The patient should therefore be carefully examined to find the underlying cause of the condition. Reference can then be made to existing studies that have formulated different hypotheses.
A possible cause for aboulia may lie in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This is because that is the area of the brain responsible for decision making and can therefore be directly related to the condition.
However, researchers also believe that the extreme form of indecision may be closely related to how a person was raised. For example, having overprotective parents can create the toxic environment in which we develop this condition.
Children with overprotective parents develop an unhealthy dependence and rely on others to make decisions for them.
In addition, if someone is a victim of humiliation or abandonment during childhood, the risk of aboulia increases. This is because shame, strong insecurities and lack of self-confidence can all be the cause.
Despite all this, researchers have been unable to substantiate the underlying cause of aboulia with empirical evidence. Even though possible causes have been identified, they have not found an answer to explain every case of extreme indecision.
Living with aboulie
Emotional dependence and aboulia are not the same thing. Aboulia and dependence can overlap, so we could confuse them. That is why professional help is so important, because it can help determine exactly what is going on.
It is common for people with aboulia to avoid being alone when they foresee a dilemma. However, this does not stem from the fear of being left alone.
No, it comes from the need to have someone next to them to make the decision for them and take the responsibility. Here the fear of being alone is not the cause of the problem, but rather a symptom of a deeper condition.
It is important to note that this dependency makes it easier for others to manipulate or lie to people with aboulia.
Their inability to make choices or express disagreements makes them more prone to abuse and abandonment. However, if someone with aboulia is left alone, they can feel powerless and lost.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand with aboulia. In fact, this is often what patients complain about the most when they finally decide to seek help. There are three tests that help determine the diagnosis:
- Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI)
- Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
- Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
After diagnosis, professional help is highly recommended to overcome this condition. The process consists initially of treating the symptoms, the anxiety, depression or stress, and then the mental problem itself.
To do this, the specialist will help the patient develop greater autonomy and social skills such as assertiveness. In addition, in many cases the specialist must help the patient to develop his self-esteem.
A person who suffers from aboulia is unable to make even the simplest choices. A meal, a haircut, choosing a job… The indecision reaches a point where doing nothing becomes a better option than making a choice.
People with aboulia can be perceived as difficult people because others may feel that they have to push them all the time. In reality, however, it is the person with aboulia who bears the greater burden.
Do you know someone who suffers from morbid indecision? Then look for ways to help him gain the independence and security he so desperately needs. Try to understand him.