Lis

Identifying unhealthy coping mechanisms

90 posts in this topic

:hug: For everyone here for being so honest :hug:

Didnt even realise that half of what i do are unhealthy coping mechanisms until I came across this thread.

Ok so here goes:

*over eating/ starving depending on the mood
*spending excess amounts of time online reading about what others have been through
*beating myself up constantly about what I have/haven't done
*trying to trigger myself reading triggering stuff
*Painting on the mask/pretending life is good
*avoiding bed
*drinking to knock myself out
*lying about how I feel
*want attention/someone to put their arms around me and tell me that everything will be ok
*get angry at me for not being able to accept the past/deal wit the past
*pushing my friends away
*want to get on with my life but afriad of whats locked up deep down so while I am in therapy and trying to deal with it am afriad to go too far
*way too sensitive...... take EVERYTHING personally
*lately i prefer being home alone and online rather than with my friends who I know are worried about me

Think I'll stop here for now!!

Caroline

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Drinking is my main coping mechanism, but I've cut back a lot! Isolating myself, refusing to trust anyone, being short-tempered, agreeing to sexual activity when I don't want to, oversleeping, under-sleeping, overeating, under-eating... just a few of my more common ones. Ugh.

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So this is my first post... and this is the thread for me... for some reason I have always been better at admitting my failures...

Here it all is

Isolation... I have mastered the art! (I am now living on my on so that I can take it a step further even tho it costs me a fortune)
Party time... I have also mastered the art! (Drugs, drinking, casual sex, filling my diary with social engagements so I feel wanted and can avoid) Its always one or the other and not in the span of days but rather months/years.
I am in the isolation stage at the moment, the longest stretch I have had and the most serious... I can go for weeks without a social engagement... if it wasn't for work, I worry that if I was to die it would be weeks before anyone would know...

I work too much... 10 hours a day min more like 12 hours a day. Its easier than going home to my thoughts.
I drink too much... thought I had this one under control... till I made my mind up to post for the first time :P
I smoke too much.
I swing between avoiding sleep and then oversleeping, i think the over sleeping has something to do with the overworking.
I forget to eat or over eat (I have lost 6 kilos in the last 2 months...)
I too do the 'I'm fine' thing. It works for those who don't know me... hence the isolation... surround yourself with people who don't really know you and you avoid the question of 'are you really fine?'
Avoidence... yep got this one down. Tax/bills/doctors/dentist... pretty much everything that can be avoided.
I too hate the quiet I fill it with everything, work, T.V. the computer, reading, crosswords... I call it multitasking
but after reading this post I see it for what it is. I have even found a way to avoid the quiet of a shower...
My Ipod docking station now lives in my bathroom! No quiet when you listening to your tunes!
Negative thoughts... *sigh* no one can put me down better than me!
Zone out/Daydream... yep got that. Triggered by clock watching... Can sometimes cause small problems at work :(
Self harm... not so much the physical (I do have this thing with clenching my fists until my nails almost make my palms bleed) but more the emotional (see negative thoughts).
'Never let anyone in, ever' Thanks rubyslippers for this one. Never, ever ever!!!
'I never unmask' Thanks Tranquil for this one. Not even sure what is left behind!

Okay so thats the most ever in one sitting... will have to wait and see if it helped.
I am hoping that admitting some of these will make me think twice before I do them again. Edited by yosh

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well here is my list

Seeking Approval, spend hours justifying anything I do and needing others to tell me I'm OK.

Drinking (this is a minefield), suddenly I feel like me again and I am happy, relaxed, sociable...then I get caught off guard, I drink myself into oblivion and hate myself for being a useless, irresponsible drunk who doesn't deserve her lovely family! Always resulting in me needing and looking for men to tell me I'm an attractive woman and to want me, pathetic to the sober me. My friends in comparison laugh off a fun night out. This means I prefer to drink alone. This way nobody can judge me and I wont hate myself for behaving in such self destructive ways and then desperately wanting to run away from everyone I know in the aftermath. I was drunk when it happened so trying to work through that guilt.

Pretending I am just fine.

Convincing myself that it might not have actually happened.

Trying to magically become someone else! I have spent the last 10 years trying to change my carefree, easygoing, fun, flirtatious personality believing that If I become a more serious, responsible person then I will be a more worthwhile person. Compounding the belief that this is the reason this terrible thing happened to me. Instead I end up disappointed that I never changed enough. I just end up a faded, sad version of myself.

Putting myself in dangerous situations. Don't know why I do that. Always when drunk. Almost feels like i need to test my boundaries or prove that it must have been my fault after all.

Positive note,

I have stopped drinking completely until a time where I can be sure I am in a better place. Feeling better knowing that I am limiting the harm I can do to myself and the nice sociable glasses of wine can wait.

Wow, feel like I've rambled a bit but good to get that down

Warmest wishes to all

Boo

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Maybe I'm in denial, or maybe I'm just desperate to hang on to my unhealthy coping techniques of choice (disordered eating and excessive exercise), but...

Are unhealthy coping techniques (at least ones that don't put your or anyone else's health/life in immediate danger) really all that bad? As long as they're in moderation, that is? An unhealthy coping technique is still a coping technique. And one way or another, we need to cope.

If smoking a cigarette or two each day keeps you from falling off the deep end at those moments, then isn't a cigarette preferable to a meltdown?
If becoming a "workaholic" keeps your mind occupied and gives you goals and aspirations in life, isn't that preferable to aimlessness and depression?
If a rather stringent diet keeps my mind off the rape, and gives me motivation to continue through my daily life, isn't it preferable to lying around either hysterical or numb all day?

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I want to thank you all for sharing what you have used to cope that doesn't work.
I am a supporter of 2 survivors and just having more knowledge of what to watch out for helps me to direct them to healthier choices - when they are ready of course!

Things I notice, like most of you have mentioned:

cocooning and being alone

relying on one person way too much - that is a lot to ask of someone else, sometimes they have bad days too and need a break.

too much TV or Computer time.

Denial - this is the one I understand the least, but clinging to it seems to get one of my girls thru the day lately. She wants to believe it was just a BAD JOKE someone made up after she passed out instead of knowing she was drugged and just doesn't know what happened.

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ive been drinking too much lately definitely. i dont know how to cut it down. i drink alone which is really bad.

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woah.. pretty similar to mine!!!

[quote name='boo77' date='13 January 2010 - 11:03 PM' timestamp='1263423797' post='1115643']
well here is my list

Seeking Approval, spend hours justifying anything I do and needing others to tell me I'm OK.

Drinking (this is a minefield), suddenly I feel like me again and I am happy, relaxed, sociable...then I get caught off guard, I drink myself into oblivion and hate myself for being a useless, irresponsible drunk who doesn't deserve her lovely family! Always resulting in me needing and looking for men to tell me I'm an attractive woman and to want me, pathetic to the sober me. My friends in comparison laugh off a fun night out. This means I prefer to drink alone. This way nobody can judge me and I wont hate myself for behaving in such self destructive ways and then desperately wanting to run away from everyone I know in the aftermath. I was drunk when it happened so trying to work through that guilt.

Pretending I am just fine.

Convincing myself that it might not have actually happened.

Trying to magically become someone else! I have spent the last 10 years trying to change my carefree, easygoing, fun, flirtatious personality believing that If I become a more serious, responsible person then I will be a more worthwhile person. Compounding the belief that this is the reason this terrible thing happened to me. Instead I end up disappointed that I never changed enough. I just end up a faded, sad version of myself.

Putting myself in dangerous situations. Don't know why I do that. Always when drunk. Almost feels like i need to test my boundaries or prove that it must have been my fault after all.

Positive note,

I have stopped drinking completely until a time where I can be sure I am in a better place. Feeling better knowing that I am limiting the harm I can do to myself and the nice sociable glasses of wine can wait.

Wow, feel like I've rambled a bit but good to get that down

Warmest wishes to all

Boo
[/quote]

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I tend to avoid friends and family.
I used to be a cutter, and the urge has hit a few times in the past few months. Am trying to ignore it.
I clam up when I am upset because I don't want to be thought of as weak and I hate pity.
I tend to brood about things that upset me.
I get irritable when people point out that I brood.
I refuse to cry even when I think I should be able to. It's that whole weak thing again.

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Although it's manifested itself in several, several ways....

HIDING

Emotionally, avoidance, coming up with "explanations", refusal, pushing others away...

Although it's done wonders in getting me this far, it's probably also my most troublesome coping mechanism as well. It's time to start shedding the layers, one step at a time.

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Maybe I'm in denial, or maybe I'm just desperate to hang on to my unhealthy coping techniques of choice (disordered eating and excessive exercise), but...

Are unhealthy coping techniques (at least ones that don't put your or anyone else's health/life in immediate danger) really all that bad? As long as they're in moderation, that is? An unhealthy coping technique is still a coping technique. And one way or another, we need to cope.

If smoking a cigarette or two each day keeps you from falling off the deep end at those moments, then isn't a cigarette preferable to a meltdown?

If becoming a "workaholic" keeps your mind occupied and gives you goals and aspirations in life, isn't that preferable to aimlessness and depression?

If a rather stringent diet keeps my mind off the rape, and gives me motivation to continue through my daily life, isn't it preferable to lying around either hysterical or numb all day?

I asked my counselor the same question recently, MMarie. She suggested that there's a difference between distractions, which are ways to temporarily soothe yourself, and avoidance, which is about not dealing with the problem. That makes sense to me. I know for a really long time, I completely avoided the feelings and the memories. Now, I am acknowledging the pain and trying to work on things, but I still use distractions and coping techniques. I guess those things that help me get through a difficult time are OK, as long as I'm not using them to avoid, like I did before. So I think deciding what's "healthy" is probably up to each of us and how we cope.

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I avoid being by myself in large crowds.

I avoid/sabotage chances of intimacy with hubby

I used to hide within my role of being a busy mum, but that is naturally changing because our boys are gaining their independence quite quickly.

I reject invitations

I use the internet too much, waste too much time - tell people I am studying

When I was managing to walk I would listen MP3 player because then I was distracted and could ignore other walkers - currently I struggle to even walk outside my gate by myself

I choose to shop in small supermarket at the time others are picking up kids from school, or other quiet times.

SI - scratching arms until just before they bleed

Not eating, and sometimes binge eating and feeling guilty - not to the point of vomitting, but only because I couldn't physically do it... Yes, I have tried.

That's enough for now. I have more and may post them later.

Edited by mumof2cuteboys

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My biggest problem has been keeping it secret. I was raped at 13, and telling my parents did nothing but hurt me worse. When I was repeatedly raped and beaten by a "boyfriend" at 19 I was too afraid to tell anyone. Drugs and alcohol to follow...it's hard at 26, to not hate myself for not coming forward sooner.

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More thoughts:

Currently I am studying and I an good studying lots to avoid other life issues.

I arrive at church late and leave straight afterwards to avoid the crowds.m

I have not been to a large shopping centre for over 3 months.

I have dropped out of extra study because of fear.

I ignore the phone or use texting to communicate with friends because then I can hide my real feelings easier.

I say no a lot more than I like to admit.

Yep, at the moment life is about study and avoiding other people for fear that they may notice I an not coping

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This is all so familiar! I don't eat either, sometimes I'll go a day or two before remembering that organisms need food. Problem is I don't put the weight I lose back on very easily, and I just lost another four XD

Others are self harm (recent, very helpful, gotta kick the habit I know), isolation (in response to this "no one cares, don't talk about it" sort of mentality) and avoidance - I actually didn't realize the second one was the case until a few days ago, even though I've been doing it for months now; my mom came into my room (I'm 17) and saw two giant piles of laundry on either side of my room along with general clutter everywhere, and all my school books, my backpack, my school uniform and my purse still in my bed (I wasn't intending to remove them before sleeping) and she stood there for a second and said "this can't be normal...you used to be a neat freak." I didn't notice I was doing anything different until she made that comment, then I looked around and saw how trashed the place was. So weird.

I guess we all do some things subconsciously, from not eating to avoidance /:

~ash

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Oh, almost forgot! Got some funny/maybe not quite as funny ones:

-Drinking for emergencies (get smashed and you can forget about anything, if only for a few hours)

-Dressing up, mainly in stuff I don't usually wear like dresses and lots of make up, and going in public without any friends or family with me. It makes me feel like I'm someone else, or at least a different me who never got molested.

Of the list I consider the last one the healthiest...at least it doesn't involve harm to my organs, wrists or laundry piles haha :D

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<font color='#000000'>

Ugh, Lynn, I am a chronic avoider, too. I still make my mother deal with all of my insurance company shit, and I'm ALSO 23, not 6. With the exception of school, I put everything off until it's LATE. Bills, calls, laundry - you name it, I don't do it until I'm forced to. I do, however, feel bad about not doing it the entire time. Healthy.

I can also related to people who said "not eating." I do this unconsciously, so it's a hard habit to break. I've been stressed this past week, and when I got on the scale, I had lost 6 lbs. Not good. I didn't even realize I was doing it.

-Lis

Firstly, Lis, I love you for that first paragraph.  I'm glad I'm not the only one who is so bad about this!  And yes, I beat myself up about it the whole time as well.

It's funny how you should mention unconsciously not eating...I do it, too.  And while I'm certainly not alaramed by my recent weight loss, eating one meal a day is really not the best way to go about losing that weight.  I don't realize I'm doing it, either.  It's just that it usually isn't until late afternoon or early evening that it hits me that I haven't eaten.  Gotta break that habit.

~Lynn</font>

Hi - I'm so glad other people lose weight! I was horrified by the general assumption that raped women would overeat to 'hide' their sexuality (or some ** like that!) - I've been through this twice, and each time I've lost an alarming amount of weight - not intentionally, I just don't want to eat

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Used to:

  1. Not telling anyone.
  2. Not trusting anyone.
  3. Cut. Badly and regularly. And not get it treated or stitched.
  4. Drink heavily, every day. Mostly on my own. For years. And every night until I passed out.
  5. Starve for days on end.
  6. Isolate myself completely. Home alone, in the dark.
  7. Have random, aggressive/violent sex with strangers.
  8. Chain smoke til I felt sick. And then smoke some more.
  9. Ignore anyone who spoke to me and just walk off.
  10. Did not deal with my bipolar - no help, no meds- I preferred those feelings to my 'real' ones.
  11. Put myself in dangerous situations.
  12. Play'chicken' in physically dangerous situations.
  13. Wind people up on purpose, especially men confused1.gif Don't know why I did that - exerting some 'power'? Maybe. Also I think I just wanted to be punished.
  14. Told myself I was fine.
  15. Told everyone else I was fine.
  16. Got better at pretending I was fine.
  17. Latching onto basically anyone cos was I desperate for someone to care about me (obviously, they didn't).
  18. trying to create a fake happy family cos I didn't think there would ever be one otherwise.
  19. Letting myself get used because I thought I wasn't worth anything better.
  20. Lying to my GPs, hospital staff, psych cos I was scared of being labelled mad (duh - I am mad, pretending you're not doesn't change it!)
  21. Avoiding anything that reminded me of the things that had happened.
  22. Avoiding anything that could have helped me eg psych help, helplines/books/sites - cos if I admitted I needed help, I had to first admit that it had screwed me up.
  23. Laughing when idiots make R/SA jokes, or worse, making those comments myself (theory: if I laugh, then it didn't happen to me, and even if it did happen, it doesn't matter)
  24. Holding onto anger because it's preferable to getting upset.

Now:

  1. Procrastinating about dealing with things full-on.
  2. Not engaging with people.
  3. Not engaging with life.
  4. Random sex with strangers (old habits are hard to break).
  5. Isolate myself.
  6. Don't engage with other people.
  7. Don't trust people.

Hmmn. Just realised how long the first list is. Wow. No wonder I felt like sh*t back then.

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I don't mean to bring up an old thread but i was reading this to maybe get an idea why i do most of them too. \it is starting to make some sense to me.

I have gotten to the point where I won't go out unless i have to. I will take a shower one a day because i force myself to, I order anything i can online so i dont have to go to stores. I get this probably odd, idea that people are looking at me and not for a good reason IE she is pretty. I stopped going to work. I called out a lot sick. My dr put me out on disability citing PTSD when I finally broke down in his office.

The sad part is, maybe not sad? I like staying inside, it makes me feel safe. I dont have to worry. I dont have to deal with people looking at me. It is worst when people stare at my chest ( I have big breasts , 32Ds; and even without a lowcut shirt, well yeah you get it. ) I usually say - can i fucking help you? Or take a picture asshole or something like that.

The list of things that i dont do any more is insane from even three years ago. I dont go to the mall, i love ot shop. Now i do it online.

I like my pattern at home though. I get up, I check the news to stay plugged into for work, I play some video games, watch moves and then eat some dinner and then play some more games and then go to bed.

I don't sleep much. i dont eat much. I have lost weight in the past two weeks from finally breaking down. I could list so many things that others have said too.

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Hello unsearchable,

It is perfectly ok to post in this thread, that is what these are here for! :)

I can identify with some of what you have said with regards to having to force myself to do things and the feeling of being constantly looked at. Like you I have a large chest and get unwanted attention and comments, I think that you are really brave to stand up to people. I avoid going out, shopping for example, to protect myself because the stress and anxiety it provokes for me is just not worth it. I think that you are protecting yourself as best as you can at the moment and that can only be appauded, you also seem to have a good handle on what you have identified as your unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Please keep reaching out if you feel as though you need support.

:metoyou:

Take gentle care

Lucy x

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I am not a couselor for sure, but I think most people get in these situations cuz you feel that if you don't talk about it, it will go away. It won't. It will alway be there. Take a look at the people around you and find one that you know will be there for you or has always been there for you. Talk to them. They really do want to help you. Hiding behind it can't make the pain go away, but when you read all the things everyone does to themselves, you are really just hurting yourself so much more. People love you and want to be there for you. Let them! Give them a chance. As a supporter, I want to help my step-sister so bad, but she hides behind things too, and I can see she is just making things worse on herself than they have to be.

Gosh, it's just not that simple. Many of us here have someone we can talk to and many more see therapists and counselors. Yes, talking about it helps but it doesn't make all the negative feelings and experiences we have been through immediately and permanently disappear. It's a forever struggle for many people. It's constantly working to trade negative coping skills in for positive coping skills. It's working to identify what the negative coping skills are in the first place. It's a slippery uphill slope a best. Sometimes it's 3 steps forward to fall 5 steps backwards. We read the things others are going through because we find commonality in them...we learn we are not alone as so many of us feel we are or have been. We don't read them and say, oh yeah, I should try that one out. I think some of the biggest support I've gotten has been from my fellow survivors. I do agree with what you wrote. I hope everyone here can find the strength to reach out to a loved one. Sadly, I know it isn't that easy and in some situations it's hard to define who can be trusted.

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I never thought about the computer an unhealthy coping mechanism until I read the original post...wow...

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I have been told I'm not coping well, but I guess these are some of my coping mechanisms:

Scratching

Letting it get to the point where I can't cope

Walking out of situations (like classrooms)

Shutting everything out

Listening to music really loudly to drown everyone out

Panicking (and panic attacks)

Pretending I'm fine when I'm not

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I try to avoid life as much as I can. I'm pretty much a hermit. I don't go out by myself very much. I'm 25 & don't work. I've only had one real job in my life & I only had it for a few months.

I used to avoid a lot more things, such as violent movies, or driving, or stores with more cars in the parking lot than I was comfortable with. I also avoided high school. I ended up going to an alternative school in order to graduate so there would be less people.

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i have several unhealthy coping mechanisms

  1. i lie in my bed more than anything else
  2. i hang out with the same people
  3. i dont go anywhere other than school
  4. i dont open up easily
  5. i dont trust people
  6. i have bipolar towards any kind of abuse
  7. i dont tolerate childish people
  8. i am very antisocial
  9. i hide in big crowds
  10. i fake smiles when im around my friends so they think im happy
  11. i dont like being touched even if its my dad simply hugging me
  12. i always look for the worst thing to happen
  13. i dont cry often
  14. i dont feel sympathy for people who hurt me
  15. i hide away in my room
  16. i avoid people
  17. i listen to the same sad songs
  18. i hide in shadows
  19. i am always getting prepared to be hurt by people
  20. i always assume all people are the same

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