So, say you have a situation where a man helps someone else in order to forget all of his own problems in the world. Is there a word for something like that? Edit 1: I'm asking about the man who is also doing the act.

closed as off-topic by Mari-Lou A, lbf, MetaEd Aug 29 '18 at 17:39

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    This question lacks detail, research and a sample sentence which would help users provide the best possible answer. The way the question is currently formulated, it is only going to attract thesaurus-like answers. Please edit your post, tell us which words you discarded and why, and supply a sentence where you would use this term. – Mari-Lou A Aug 29 '18 at 9:52
  • The question title asks about "someone", then the question asks about a "situation" and if there's a word for "something like that". I'm not sure if you mean the person or the act. – Zebrafish Aug 29 '18 at 15:04

In general psychological terms, it could be a form of avoidance.

The person is trying to avoid dealing with his own problems, so focuses on something else as a distraction. This distraction could be any number of things, but in this case it just happens to be helping somebody else.

From an excerpt of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics on the ScienceDirect website:

Avoidance can be understood as denial: it is as if the person has decided that there is no stressor, and therefore there is no need to change behavior, perception, or emotional response. In this situation, the only way the individual can deal with it is to “forget” it or distract oneself from trying to deal with it.


Would a word as simple as


fit your case? The man engages in altruistic activities in order to distract himself from his own problems.


The dictionary defines the word interested as 'influenced by personal or selfish motives' (fourth definition). More detailed information can be found here.


Egoistic altruism could be used as a term to describe this. It is very nicely explained in the video below:


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