A word for a situation when you are completely confused/unable to understand your duty/obligation.

T̶h̶e̶r̶e̶ ̶i̶s̶ ̶a̶ ̶i̶d̶i̶o̶m̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶c̶o̶n̶t̶e̶x̶t̶:̶

Damned if I do, damned if I don't"

T̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶i̶d̶i̶o̶m̶ ̶p̶e̶r̶f̶e̶c̶t̶l̶y̶ ̶f̶i̶t̶s̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶s̶i̶t̶u̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ but is there also any dictionary word for this situation?

Words like befuddle/bewilder have meaning related to "unable to think clearly", but I am not quite sure whether they also relate to:"one's inability to understand his/her duty/obligation".

Is there is any better word for this situation. Please suggest.


I didn't understand the meaning of idiom, so I have strikethrough it. Plesae disregard it.

  • That idiom doesn't mean you don't understand your obligations, it means that it is impossible for you to fulfil them. A catch-22. May 15 '15 at 5:25
  • @curiousdannii it clearly indicates that I didn't understand the idiom too.
    – a.s.
    May 15 '15 at 5:32
  • Strictly speaking, if you're unable to understand something, then it is beyond your intellectual capacity, so words or phrases like '(too) dumb', '(too) stupid' or 'it's beyond me' would work. However, a sense of duty or (social or moral) obligation has intellectual, emotional and instinctive components to it. The inability to connect these to a given situation would imply autism, emotional stupidity or immaturity. Are you sure you mean 'unable to ...'? May 15 '15 at 6:41
  • I think he/she might mean that your duty is unclear to you, rather than that you're unable to understand it.
    – Marc
    May 15 '15 at 7:17
  • This situation is related to a mentally sound person, who is unable to understand his duties out of some confusion.He is unable to decide it.
    – a.s.
    May 15 '15 at 10:46

torn might work

(be torn) Be in a state of uncertainty between two conflicting options or parties:

When his best friend gets involved in a street clash, Ricky is torn between past loyalties and his desire to start a new life with his girlfriend.

Also try conflicted

(as adjective conflicted) Having or showing confused and mutually inconsistent feelings:

he remains a little conflicted about Marlene



Being unable to perform his or her duties would make a person incompetent .

incompetent (adj.) - Not having or showing the necessary skills to do something successfully; not qualified to act in a particular capacity

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