Great White Shark
Join Date: Apr 2013
Language: Galactic Basic, machine language
To me, it means being in a situation where, no matter what you do, you will only make things worse. Getting stuck in a quicksand is a perfect example of that: if you do not struggle, you cannot get out, but if you do struggle, then you will only get even more stuck.
In social situations, it may mean encountering an authority figure that abuses their authority at your expense, and if you try to fight back, then you will get into an even worse situation. It is common in totalitarian states: you are being abused by the government, and if you try to fight back, then the government will only abuse you more - and you obviously cannot beat the government at its own game. But even in regular states, it may be a nasty boss, an unfair research advisor, a police officer with a stick up their butt, or even a group of bullies at school.