People’s Coping Mechanisms – To Each His or Her Own

Have you ever looked at someone in a difficult situation and think, “Why are you reacting that way?” Don’t worry; you aren’t the only one that has asked this type of question in response to the way someone deals with a situation. It’s likely that people have thought or said the same thing about you. Why? Everyone has different coping mechanisms.

What are Coping Mechanisms?

Coping mechanisms are ways you deal with situations. Some people use denial (pretending it didn’t happen), other people cry. Some people get angry, while others become depressed. All of these are examples of coping mechanisms.

It can be difficult to understand some people’s coping skills. It may not be the same as our own. These discrepancies can cause a lot of strife in relationships.

What to Do When You Don’t Cope the Same as a Friend

Losing a loved one is devastating, and it may make you depressed and cry for weeks. Your close friend may not show any emotion at all and go on with life as if nothing happened. You may look at your friend as being insensitive, and that can cause you to not want to be around him or her anymore. You may even go as far as cutting that person off, which means you lose out on a valuable friendship.

It’s not worth it because even though it may seem like the person is being insensitive, that’s probably not the case. What is really going on is that the person can’t face something so tragic. That’s why it doesn’t seem like he or she is facing it. Instead of turning your back on the person, understand that this is just the way he or she copes with the death of a loved one and let the person know you are there if or when needed.

Your reactions don’t have to be the same as someone else’s reactions – understand and accept this to cope better with other people’s coping mechanism.

What to Do When People Don’t Accept or Understand Your Coping Mechanisms

After losing a loved one, you may hear from other people that you shouldn’t be so depressed or still be crying weeks later. You may hear that you need to move on. These people do not understand that this is the way you deal with the situation and you don’t need to do anything, but what is going to make you feel better.

To help these people understand your coping mechanisms, explain that this is how you deal with the loss of a loved one and while it may not be how they are dealing with it, there’s nothing wrong with the way you are. You can then ask them to support you by asking if you need anything. Usually, people will take that advice and follow up with asking you what you do need. Don’t push that away. Let the person know what you need, whether it be just listening or something to eat. Inviting people into the way you cope will help them understand and accept what you need to do to heal.

You can’t make people understand or accept your coping mechanisms. You can only explain and continue your healing for as long as you feel necessary.

Want to talk more about what you’re going through? Set up an appointment with me now. I can help you through the healing process and those around you who may not be dealing with the situation the same as you are. I am here for you to guide, support, and give you peace.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from

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