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Identifying unhealthy coping mechanisms


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whoa I have to say these lists are really hitting home! Right time for me to be brave rather than burying my head in the sand my unhealthy mechanisms

Excessive work hours

Isolation (helpped by excessive work hours)

Doing lots at once online, reading music etc etc etc

If Im not isolating over compensation for my mood eg) Im always the happiest person in the group I will always listen to other people! I NEVER have any problems

Relapsing into old eating disorder habits, the best way to avoid is not to feel the best way not to feal is engaging in the ED

It amazes me I can identify these habits with ease but changing them seems much harder

love to all


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  • 3 months later...
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What are my unhealthy coping mechanisms? Using my husband as a shield against the world. Letting myself withdrawal into a world of "just us two."

How did I overcome it? I haven't completely, but I try and he encourages me to develop outside interests.

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I have three main unhealthy coping mechanisms...

First I put on a mask and pretend that everything is okay...even with my closest friends. I know that I will be supported when I talk to them but I feel like a burden so I avoid talking about how I am really feeling.

Second I overanalyze everything. I overthink things to avoid actually dealing with them.

Third I avoid getting close to people because I do not have faith in my own ability to decide who is trustworthy and who is not. I figure if I do not get close to anyone the issue of trust will not come up.

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I stop eating- or cut back until I might have a snack a day.

Then I spend excessive time at work.

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I am still kind of new here, I saw this thread and reading it realized, I spend way too much time on the computer.

I am avoiding dealing with life, because I am on here.

I don't do any of the things I used to do. I don't watch tv or movies by myself. I guess I am afraid I won't be able focus on them. So unless I have my daughter watching with me, or a friend, I don't watch.

I would like to learn to participate more in life on my own, and not feel that I need someone with me for every activity.


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I spend way too much time on the computer.

I am avoiding dealing with life, because I am on here.

Ditto. :( For many years I escaped my pain through books, through fantasies, through writing my own fiction - still do that, but also use the Internet. I get mad at myself because I'm avoiding doing things I enjoy doing. :rolleyes: But it's like... the longer I live in the "now", the more nervous I get. I'm not used to being "there". :eyebrow: I used to "zone out" if I couldn't read or something, so I ended up dissociated a lot - not completely gone, I never developed alterate personalities that separated off and shut me out, but not really all there, either.

I did use to have alternate personalities that I "put on" to cope with the world around me, where I was aware but still acting somehow, but after I got married (which was shortly after the most serious sexual assault I've dealt with as an adult), I had the opportunity to "hide", and I did so. Now I I'm learning how to reconnect with those personalities, but I'm not sure I should always resort to that anyhow - I need to learn to hang out with my kids as myself for a few hours a day, at least. :blink:

My husband has been giving me grief about my "addiction" to the computer for a couple of years now, but I finally told him it was a necessary coping mechanism and he recognizes that. Now, however, I think I need to start cutting back. I've worked through stuff to the point where I should be able to do that. I was doing better and then there were some family disasters and I started hiding on the computer again. It comes and it goes. *sigh*


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For many years I escaped my pain through books, through fantasies, through writing my own fiction - still do that, but also use the Internet. I get mad at myself because I'm avoiding doing things I enjoy doing. But it's like... the longer I live in the "now", the more nervous I get. I'm not used to being "there". I used to "zone out" if I couldn't read or something, so I ended up dissociated a lot - not completely gone,

Yes, that's me. (I don't write fiction though) I zone out. I daydream...that's why I like housework so much...I kinda view it as productive procrastination...but I procrastinate living. I remember the second time I went to T in my life (early 1990's) and that is what drove me to it. I just couldn't figure out why I had daydreams instead of life...I also read alot...have since I was 6 years old...it is a wonderful way to dissociate...but the daydreaming really took me far, far away. My daughter will see me slipping away and get kinda mad...I'll do it right in the middle of a conversation...and if there is fighting (my husband has a very high intensity even during normal conversations)...well, a few seconds of that and I'm gone.

That has to be my most disruptive coping mechanism because I really like doing it.

It's like (((sheryl))) said, I even use this coping mechanism to avoid doing things I like...but it comes and goes too...when I'm doing better I enjoy the now and have a lot of fun. I think that if I ever get out of the stressful life I'm living that I'll do it even less.


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  • 9 months later...

I hadn't really thought about this until I read some of this thread. It's a good idea!

I think I've identified mine to be:

Drinking too much (although I have tried to cut back lately & been successful 3 out of 4 times)

Constantly doing something (i.e reading, watching tv, online or seeing friends)

Doing a lot of overtime (I started a new job a week after what happened & accepted any extra hours I could)

SI (which seems to happen when I've had a drink)

I do daydream a lot too and dissociate. Sometimes I zone out in conversations. I'm hoping to talk over some of these things with my counselor today.

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I spend way too much time at the computer

I drink too much

I isolate myself

I smoke a lot (and I'm not planning on leaving it now)

Hummm this list can go on and on with me but I think these are the worst ones

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

Again, I am so thankful for this forum and website... I never realized other people have some of the same "coping" issues or whatever.

The distractions is a big one for me I think... I have always HATED showers and I would ask myself why over and over again, because I know nothing ever happened it a shower, so I figured I was just crazy or lying to myself telling myself that I hated shower (I don't know what reason that would be for, but it's common for me to think I am lying to myself all the time) anyway, then I read on here how someone said they hated showers cause there's NOTHING to entertain yourself or distract yourself with. EXACTLY, geez, now I see why!

Also I used to be a HUGE daydreamer all my life since when I was way younger. Anytime I was the slightest bit bored, even if I was having a conversation with someone, or in school I'd just kinda press play in my mind and on this whole other story of someone else's life would start.

Which would lead into me purposefully triggering myself... this was before I even really remembered or realized I guess that something not right happened, but now thinking back to my daydreams when I was younger, everything was a huge trigger... I read tons of biographies and stories on the topic of sexual abuse... and I always just thought I was sick or weird - but I know the truth now, and it's that i'm NOT. And even now I have seen this and have been struggling with this. I feel so numb in this area of my heart that sometimes I purposefully force myself to remember (reading triggering books or movies) just so I can try to get out some sort of emotion... I thought that meant that I was once again lying to myself and the fact that I needed to MAKE myself feel something meant it must not have been a big deal at all if I couldn't feel anything regarding it on my own. But now reading these I see it was just a way for me to try to feel again...

Also... I don't know exactly how this is an unhealthy coping mechanism... but someone mentioned forgetting to eat. I never thought that had ANYTHING to do with this. I'm home for the holidays and since being here I have forgotten to eat EVERY day for like 5 days unless someone reminds me, so I usually end up eating one meal a day. I know this isn't healthy... and I'm not exactly sure why this happens... does anybody else have an idea?

One thing I DO know is I struggled a lot with eating things a little bit ago... basically it all stemmed from my boundary problems though. Never in my life have I felt like I could say no... even to someone who was hurting me, because I didn't want that person to feel bad. So now, it's like I was holding this huge handful of unused "NO"s... so I would throw them out at the wrong times and places just to get rid of them... only at times that hurt myself. If there was even the slightest reason for me to say no to something (like if I kinda didn't like what was for dinner) I would just completely say NO, but I was saying no to myself, just cause I was too afraid to throw them out anywhere else.

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  • 2 months later...

Unhealthy coping

I hid for years

I once belonged to a porn site and allowed myself to be immersed in a deviant subculture because of very low self esteem

I never fight back

I smoke too much

I cover up my pain with *i'm fine*

I don't talk about anything that bothers me

I hide from those that I love

I never unmask .. except with one person

I find excuses for my stupid mistakes

I blanket every emotion

I don't feel often

I love too much

I lived in practical seclusion for years

I practiced the fine art of avoidance

I let my nightmares control when I sleep

I am afraid

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  • 1 month later...
<font color='#000000'>So Jes has a great thread going right now about healthy coping mechanisms here, and since I just recently realized how many unhealthy coping mechanisms I've picked up, I thought I'd start one on identifying them (and them replacing them with all of the good suggestions in the other thread :)).

A few days ago, bloogirl wrote this thread about numbing yourself and avoiding life by staying on the computer for excessive amounts of time, and I realized that spending 92843 hours a day on the computer had become an unhealthy coping mechanism for me.

In order to avoid thinking about any problems, my life has become a constant stream of entertainment. When I wake up, the TV goes on, and I sign online.

I realize I'm doing the same thing. :tear::down:

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rubyslippers hit on a lot of mine

I drink too much, smoke too much, seclude myself whenever possible, have a GREAT poker face (in fact, the more I'm affected emotionally by something, the less likely I am to show it), I watch too much TV while not really paying attention to any of it, I'm on the computer a lot, I immerse myself in work. And yet, it always there.

I avoid seeing my abuser. Yes, he's still out there, living a pretty good life. Sometimes I fantasize about killing him, painfully. I have to see him tomorrow night for the first time in 2.5 years. He'd better hope I keep it together.

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Another unhealthy copeig mechanism I've found is that I'm too negative towards myself. :(

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well looks like this is the place I need to be lol I find myself employing many different ones throughout the day

* I hate quiet , I will turn on anything I have to to make noise.

* I would drink to help me sleep (I've been on the wagon for almost 2 months)

* I use the words "No I'm fine" atleast 5 times a day

* I read too much

* I spend alot of time online (not as Much as I used to)

* I have an un-healthy relationship with unisom ( Hey I gotta sleep)

* I'm very good friends with avoidance

* I never let anyone in. Ever.

Well there is my little list of no no's lol

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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.

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Guest ab333

I actually thought about this question when someone confronted me with the question not too long ago. It was only then that I started to think about the ways that I was coping. Unfortunately, they were negative ways.

Firstly, I completely made a life changing "move" which I think was to escape any lasting reminders of what happened. I wanted a new routine, new experiences ... new life.

I daydream.

I zone out in the middle of conversations. Sometimes, I don't even realize I am doing it until someone will notice and ask "Are you OK?, you just spaced out ..."

I drink.

I isolate myself from friends and make excuses for not wanting to go out with them.

Negative self talk.

:hug: for those who would like/need them ...

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  • 2 weeks later...

id never really thought like this before, but now that i have a agree with all of you. if i can get out of a situation where my mind is idle, i will..

every day on the way to work, i have to have a book to read on the train so i dont have to think. the only thing i cant avoid is at work. sometimes i get stuck mailing letters for 3 hours, which gives me way too much time to think, and its the worst place in the world to think about all that stuff. ive resorted to telling my boss my desk is too small to do it, and i sit in the lunchroom so i have someone to talk to to distract me.

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I isolate myself alot

I smoke

Hurt myself

Bathe in bleach to *clean* myself

Take pills, I think I have an unhealthy addiction to vicodin. It' bad.

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I isolate myself alot

I smoke

Hurt myself

Bathe in bleach to *clean* myself

Take pills, I think I have an unhealthy addiction to vicodin. It' bad.

Hugs, honey.

I know it's difficult to stop bad habits. I certainly have enough of my own. But the bleach on your skin is not so good. Can you maybe try to dilute it to wean yourself off? And maybe use some moisturizer afterward? You ARE worth it and you are NOT dirty.

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punishing myself with physical activity to the point of exhaustion


avoidance of all social situations

drinking (only when absolutely necessary)

being jealous of my friends seemingly "normal" lives



taking things too personally

thinking everyone is "out to get me"

ridiculous negative attitude towards virtually everything

But there are some positive and that is what I try to focus on:

my puppy

reading is ALWAYS a great escape

and of course, the one person who genuinely cares about me (too bad theres only one)

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  • 11 months later...

- 420 Smoking

- Smoking Cigarettes

- Junk food or starvation, whatever i'm in the "mood" for.

- Keeping busy all the time

- Avoidance

- Deflection

- Letting too many people in who in turn hurt me worse

- Protecting my abuser, with the excuse being "she's my mom"

- Cycles of Negativity that are slowly being swallowed by my natural positive nature.

- Dissociating (Sp?): I space out in the middle of conversations all the time. I never realized this was a coping mechanism. I mean ALL the time.

- I'm 25 but I still act like i'm 9 somedays.

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- Avoiding any-thing social out-side of physical activity. I won't go to the movies with friends, but will spend four hours at the rink with them.

- Procrastination.

- Fear of failure -- to the point where I won't try any-thing be-cause I don't want to fail at it.

- Falling back in-to ED habits and knowing that I've lost control, but not doing any-thing about it.

- Working out to the point of fainting.

- Avoiding sleep as much as possible -- even though I'm already an insomniac. I feel like I have to punish my-self for different reasons. If I eat after 9.00, I'm not allowed to sleep un-til 2.00 a.m. If I say some-thing hurt-ful to some-one, I'm allowed to sleep only in the corner between my bed and my desk where I can't lay down. If I fail a test, I'm not allowed to sleep un-til I have memorised all the answers to the test, etc.

- Laziness.

- Always smiling. No matter how much I'd rather scream or cry...or do any-thing else other than freakin' smile and pretend every-thing is okay.

- Overly private. Don't share very much with people.

- Immaturity. I hate it, but can't help acting so stupid.

- Exhaustion. Not necessarily a coping mechanism, but I swear...just writing this post is taking every-thing out of me. I'm so tired and keep avoiding doing any-thing (even went to work late twice this week) be-cause of it. I won't go out with friends, call them, interact on-line, etc.

- Take on too much and cause more stress in my life.

- Wishing I could die, but being too afraid of failing at killing my-self to actually go for it.

- Defensive. I feel like I constantly have to defend my-self -- even if the person talking doesn't mean any harm by the remarks s/he makes.

- Avoiding wearing any-thing feminine like make-up, fitted clothing, skirts, nice shoes, etc. It's problematic at work where a dress-code exists and I have such a terrible time adhering to it. And, I'll avoid just about any situation that calls for wearing any-thing out-side of my men's shirts and jeans. I just don't want to send a guy the wrong message.

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