My Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

My Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

Abuse Recovery Support Group (ARSG)

My Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

Coping mechanisms are defined as techniques we use to help us cope with the stress, pain, and trauma we have experienced in our lives.

Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms:

Avoidance and Isolation

Drugs and Alcohol

Denial

Busyness

Rationalization

Control

From my childhood I learned avoidance and isolation to keep me safe from unhealthy people or situations. Running and hiding is what I learned as a small child and I still used those tactics as an adult. Until I got into recovery and learned new healthy coping mechanisms. Praise God! Instead of avoidance God gave me a voice and I learned to communicate my likes and dislikes. I never developed a voice growing up but once I put up boundaries, using my voice was necessary to communicate those boundaries to others. As time went by, I felt more comfortable sharing my heart with others without fear of rejection. God also told me to stop running and hiding and to leave the outcome to Him.

Just recently I was triggered by a situation and my first response was to run away and to disconnect from this person. I see now that was a wrong response. I had to pray very hard for the Lord to help me in this area. We all have things from our past trauma that causes us to go back to our old ways of dealing with things, especially when we are weak, or vulnerable, or HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired). I am grateful for God showing me that by having healthy boundaries and by using my voice is the best way to live a life that is peaceful and pleasing to Him.

I started using alcohol and drugs at 12 years old when I was not getting the healthy attention I needed at home. I decided to start taking matters into my own hands, which was a defining moment in my life because as a result of that choice I would run to other things other than God when I was hurting. I just wanted a quick fix to avoid the pain I had accumulated all my life. I used people and allowed them to use me. My life was filled with regret, fear of rejection, depression, suicidal thoughts and self-hatred. I thank God for having mercy on this broken woman, who saved me from myself destructive lifestyle. I now run to Jesus to take my pain away.

I was in denial about the dysfunction in my home of origin and my home with my husband and children, for many years until I realized I cannot control another person and doing anything out of fear never has a good outcome. I don’t have the power to change another person only God does. So, I relinquish control to God to change others or situations when I feel powerless. I was in denial due to my fear of rejection from my parents and spouse so I obeyed ridiculous rules to be accepted and loved by others, but that never worked. When I finally received the love of Jesus in heart then I had the courage to stand on my own without fear of rejection because I knew God would never leave me or forsake me.

Busyness was a tool the enemy used on me for decades, his purpose was to keep me so busy that I would not have time to recognize my dysfunctional life. My striving for love and acceptance even from God, kept me working so hard to be worthy, I never stopped long enough to evaluate my life, my choices, my relationships, my unhealthy view of myself, God, and others. I was so messed up, but I could not see that, until God showed me my ways were not working. Back in 2010 I was so depressed I asked God to take me home because I just wanted to die. And He said, “Do you believe I can turn things around for your good?” and I said, “Yes Lord I believe that.” He said, “TRUST ME.” After that I got in ACA recovery work and inner healing group for 5 years. God was exposing the lies, with His truth, I was learning about boundaries and what that looks like and he showed me that I was enabling abuse from others by not using my voice. God had me stop from all serving at church and First Care, because I was that sick and needed God to intervene to heal me. God was so faithful and put the right people in my path and I was healed and set free from all the dysfunction in my life and I started experiencing true peace and freedom in Christ. In Jan 2013 I started this ministry. Praise Him!!! Thank you, Jesus.

I rationalized my abuse, thinking I must not be a person of value or else others would treat me differently. After my abortion, the enemy told me I deserve to be abused because of my decision to abort my child. My husband was very controlling and I and the children were required to obey ridiculous rules. I rationalized in my head if I don’t obey these rules, he will leave me. The enemy used that lie for decades to keep me in bondage and in a very unhealthy home environment. I am thankful for the day I had courage to say no, I am not going to follow these rules and leave the outcome in God’s hands. I was no longer fearful of him leaving, I trusted God to take care of me and He has. My relationship with my husband now is better than it ever has been. I now know that I am loved and valued by God and He doesn’t want me to accept abusive treatment from anyone; I don’t deserve to be abused regardless of my poor choices in the past. He loves me and wants me to use my voice to put up healthy boundaries and to protect myself from unhealthy people and situations. I cannot change my past, all I can do is learn from it and share my experience, strength, and hope with others so perhaps they can make healthy choices.

Control was a tool I learned to use when I was very young. I honestly believed I could control how others feel, what they do, and that I could control the outcome. That all was a lie. I had no control over any of those things. Areas I tried to control were how people reacted and behaved toward me. I tried to control what others saw in me by wearing a mask and I also tried to control how much I weighed by taking speed, diet pills, and purging after I ate too much. God showed me by relinquishing control to Him that I can be set free from these obsessions and torment. He taught me to love myself just the way I am and to relinquish all control to Him, because He will never harm me.

I am so grateful that today I have been set free from all my unhealthy coping mechanisms and I have learned new skills to help me cope with the pain and trauma from my past. I had to completely surrender everything and everybody to God. I no longer cared about what others thought of me, I didn’t obey ridiculous rules out of fear of being rejected, I now had a voice and God has taught me how to use it to express my feelings in a healthy godly way. I am no longer in bondage to my old thinking and my old behavior patterns.

In Romans 12:2 the Bible says do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…. Daily time spent with God in His Word and listening to the Holy Spirit has helped me to move out of the chaos, dysfunction, and misery into a peaceful, orderly, and fulfilling life.

What have you used to help you cope with the trauma from your past?

What are some healthy ways you use to cope with things now?

You are loved,

Toni

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