"You know what powerlessness is? It's when you have to promise your imprisoned wife that you're not going to do anything about a psychopath who's terrorizing her." -Wally Lamb, The Hour I First Believed
There are many instances where I have felt powerless. As the person I am now, I very rarely ever submit my power to somebody else. Even when I feel at my lowest, I fight the urge to let the depression own me. I control my depression, the depression does NOT own me.
There are places where you are faced with helplessness on a daily basis, if you work there. In hospitals, there are people whom are powerless to leave for an extended period of time. In psychiatric hospitals, there are some who will be living there for the rest of their lives. In hospices, you will find men and women whom are powerless to the fact that they will be passing soon.
Prison is the best example of a human being succumbing to powerlessness, in America especially. Nothing can leech someones empathy and tolerance of their fellow man quite like being thrown in the clink.
Prison has always been a topic that causes me to bristle. It is my opinion that our society breeds criminals in the first place, then hauls them off into a system that fundamentally treats them like animals. You can't spoil a child and then get upset at their throwing a tantrum when they don't get what they want. You cannot treat a person as though they were misbehaving cattle and then get angry when they act as such once you released them back into society.
A person who is in a constant state of powerlessness will do whatever it takes to gain their power back. If that weren't the case, there would be no inmate suicides, no gang wars, and no prison breaks. Some people would rather be dead than give up their freedom, even for a little while.