The downfall of coping strategies

Coping strategies are supposed to help us manage issues, they provide us with a way of managing areas which are difficulties in our lives. Some work perfectly without any negative repercussions, however, some coping strategies can have the opposite effect.

For me, I’ve noticed that some of my strategies for managing Demand Avoidance, while being very effective for dealing with DA, have had the opposite effect.

Usually, when there’s something I have to or want to do, my brain immediately rebels against it creating avoidance towards doing whatever it is. Sometimes I can get around DA by telling my brain that another Demand is more important and that we must do that one first. My brain then thinks it’s being clever by avoiding the ‘new’ Demand by forcing me to do the ‘old, less important’ Demand, thus allowing me to do the first Demand with less difficulty. This has the negative effect of making the second Demand even harder to do overall. So when I do need to do the second Demand, it’s an even bigger obstacle to overcome.

Another way of dealing with a Demand is to tell my brain I’m not going to do something that needs/wants doing. For example, if I want to go shopping, I’ll tell my brain that I have to stay home and that I don’t want to go shopping. This makes my brain rebel and insist that we are going shopping, thus I get what I want. This can have the opposite reaction, when I need to be strict with myself, like when I am dieting or have to take meds, my brain will think it has to do the opposite and I struggle to lay down boundaries with myself. It seems the more I employ this strategy the harder it is to force myself to do anything, making a rod for my own back.

Another coping strategy is role play, I can use imagination to cope with Demands. This has a negative effect in that the real world can seem so boring and unpredictable that I often don’t want to leave the imagined world. It’s easier to deal with fake people because they do what I tell them to and they always understand what I’m saying, unlike real people. The imagined world also appears to me to be far brighter and more real than the real world, if I imagine too much then the real world starts to feel fake and I become confused as to which is reality. While role play may help with managing Demands, you can have too much of a good thing.

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