Golf is especially frustrating for amateur golfers in ways similar to the frustrating process of learning and exercising other skills. At it’s heart, the discrepancy between what the golfer imagines his/her body should do and what it actually does causes what we call a narcissistic injury that the golfer responds to with either rage or despair. In addition, at moments of failure on the golf course, each golfer tells him or herself a story that accounts for it, usually one that includes harsh self-judgments. The solution to frustration such as this is to find a way to face, tolerate, and eventually accept reality.
It is well-known that depression is caused by a combination of childhood trauma and neurobiological imbalances. The social causes of depression, however, are less well known. Social isolation, alienated work, inequalities of income, status, and wealth, and estrangement from nature and meaningful values are all known to cause depression as well. Johann Hari describes these social dimensions of depression as instances of what he calls “lost connections.”
Most forms of child abuse arise from a mechanism called “identification with the aggressor” in which a developing child becomes like his/her abuser as a way to feel safe and to maintain an attachment to the abuser. This process is common in individuals but also in groups, e.g. most forms of hazing and the need of one disadvantaged social group to put down another group.
When we can’t influence our environment, can’t control important aspects of our lives, we’re suffering from “learned helplessness? In modern society, too many facets of our lives are resistant to our intentions and control. This painful state of affairs accounts for much of the high incidence of depression in our society.