We could call this a state of being "disempowered", we could call it an "effect condition", we could call it being a "potential trouble source" or we could call it being "co-dependent" which is currently the term that is in vogue.
If one assigns one's own power of choice to another agency then one is naturally effect. One is not in charge of causing one's own life, but someone or something else is. One is being thrown around by circumstances and one is being forced into situations that one doesn't want and that doesn't serve one's best interests.
This is seen in contrast to the state of being empowered, of consistently operating from a position of cause and choice in one's life. Which is where we as process facilitator's have in mind that people should be.
It would probably not be too wrong to say that about 98% of the population at this point is in some kind of effect condition. They are slaves to their job, they are religious fanatics, addicted to some substance, dependent on their relationships, or whatever.
Luckily, most people will quite readily change over to being cause, if you address one limited area at a time and you show them how they are already causing their condition. It might take a little persuasion here and there, but most people will buy the idea that it is better to be cause than to be effect. Certainly most people who will come to see a process facilitator will.
That is in a nutshell what we do in processing: we get people to move from a state of effect to a state of cause.
However, some people have more invested in being effect and won't give up their effect condition that easily. Even when given a clear choice, these people would tend to go back to the effect condition. These people would only rarely come voluntarily to a process facilitator, but it happens. These are the people we would have to address more specifically as being in an effect condition, and we won't have much luck with anything but working on that condition.
Nobody is fundamentally effect. It is just that for some people we have to dig a little deeper to strike cause. Really they are just as cause as everybody else. It is just that what they consistently cause is to be effect. That is an interesting riddle to solve.
Everybody is continuously sub-consciously choosing the best option that they have available in the the moment. If somebody is choosing to be effect, it is because there is something attached to cause that is worse than all the trouble they get out of being effect. Being beaten by a drunk boyfriend is somehow preferable to the alternative.
This can be addressed both positively and negatively.
Positively, there must be something of tremendous value that the person is finding in their current arrangement. Maybe having somebody tell you what to do provides safety; maybe being on heroin provides peace; maybe having somebody scream at you every day helps you to feel something; maybe being with an alcoholic ensures company. Because one really wouldn't do those things unless there was something to gain from it that outweighs the drawbacks. If you find out what the positive intention is, then it can get other outlets that might be more balanced.
Negatively speaking, there is probably something horrible attached to the idea of being cause. There will be some traumatic incidents that maintain the idea that it is not safe to be cause by oneself. Most likely they include stuff one has DONE that didn't work well. Of the magnitude that one's decisions have killed people. And one refuses to take responsibility for it and picks the safe position of being effect. For example, most of the members of the Manson family later became Born-again Christians, transferring responsibility to Jesus instead of facing what they did.
The point is not what the person physically has done, but the perception of it. It could be that a little girl was beaten because she tried washing the kitchen floor without being asked. The impression that she was left with might be that it always is better not to take decisions. It could be that a little boy was frozen out of the family because he was peeing in his bed. The trauma of not being loved might be worse than any other consequence he can think of.
It might also be imagined future incidents. For example, if somebody has convinced the person of some terrible consequence of being cause. The media love convincing people that the world is very dangerous and all kinds of things can go wrong. Fundamentalist preachers often enjoy painting vivid pictures of what will happen if one doesn't give up control of one's life. There are ample opportunities to imagine tragic future incidents that would be the result of one's own causation.
It may take many forms, but certainly there will be some kind of traumatic incidents around for a person who is stuck in an effect condition. There are probably multiple, heavy ones, and they have often been generalized to be more or bigger than they were.
There is certainly also polarization. The person is somehow fragmented. She is identifying with a polarity that is effect, and is ignoring the polarity that is cause. Polarity integration is essential in handling this. But, most likely, traumatic incidents must be taken up before one gets very far.
The trouble in dealing with a person in an effect condition is that they are likely to relapse after making progress. The gains from processing are based on that we get the person to a position of cause so that they she can maintain the result by herself from now on. An effect person has a vested interest in not being cause. You can get her to feel better in the session, but she might then go back to her effect relationship, and then come back later and tell you it didn't work. She is not responsible, so she will be moved around by circumstances.
If the person is in that kind of effect condition, there is no point in working on anything else. We must change the effect condition before we can expect any other results to stick.
It might be necessary to change the person's physical living arrangements, before we can get the processing to get anywhere. If the client is living with an anti-social person who is putting her down all the time, then she might consider changing that. Maybe she can go away for a while, while she is working on this issue. If nothing else, just recognizing one's current situation will help. The client might not have realized that her "best friend" acts anti-socially towards her. If she knows what to watch out for she may fare better.
The overall thing we are trying to do is to make the person gradually more cause. If we can just make her a tiny bit more cause we are on the right track. If her boss is suppressing her, if she can at least find a small way of controlling what she is doing, she will be better off.
If it is a specific person that our client is effect of, then we can use various techniques on that. We can address the conflict or problem between them in various ways. Imagining similar problems, looking at bigger or smaller problems to get a sense of perspective, finding solutions to the problem, finding out if the situation is itself a solution to anything, etc. If you do enough work on it, eventually the stuck situation between them will free up. To work on communication would also be applicable: what would you like to say to __, what might he say to you, etc. Or looking at the "bad deeds" they have done to each other: What has __ done that wasn't alright, what have you done to __ that wasn't alright, etc.
Remember that this is something the client is doing and creating by herself. She might not agree, and it might appear to be other people's fault. However, what we are moving towards is always her own cause. To get there it is occasionally practical to move away from the people or places that appear to suppress the person. It might be helpful for the client to label somebody else as an "anti-social" or "suppressive" person, and that might make her feel better. Really, nobody is deep down a bad person, don't support that idea. But it is fine if the client identifies somebody else's behavior as suppressive to her at this point, and she disconnects herself from that behavior. If that means that she shouldn't see that person at all or not depends on the situation.
Once the various ways the person has given away her power have been cleared, sh is not effect any more. She will not have to spend any energy watching out for people or situations that will "get" her. She can be responsible for her own actions and her progress can be more smooth.