What happens when coping is unconscious?

Our psyche does that: it protects us from (real or possible) traumas, and as a consequence of this suppression, it ‘copes’ by creating secondary issues.

Let’s clear this with some examples.

▪️ You might have suffered from anxieties that despite interfering with your wellbeing, have remained relatively uncovered. They might be too much to handle, the context not safe enough to let go, and you start getting angry instead. Apparently, there is no reason. Why does someone else’s behaviour trigger you so much? Why have you snapped? Your anxiety is under the surface and pushing, your mind recognises the danger that would derive from letting it go, and creates another emotion, that arises with no apparent reason.

▪️ You have had a sexual trauma. You fear being sexualised and objectified and as a consequence, you date people whom you don’t like (even if you are firmly convinced you do), but that provide that sense of safety and trust you have been missing. The safety feels like happiness for a while, it replaces it in some way. But you feel like something is lacking, you feel unsatisfied, unfulfilled, but don’t know where these feelings come from.

▪️ As a consequence of your childhood, you have had a tendency for depression. You have never really recognised this, or admitted it, but it has affected your life even if you are not aware of it. The academic achievements have represented, throughout the years, something that define you. You are convinced your whole identity is attached to them, and are persistent in always performing better. Your fear of embracing something as scary as depression has led you to a perfectionism that you consider a trait, but is ultimately a coping strategy not to face the abyss.

You have created a new symptom, you have engaged in the wrong relationship, you have chosen that your success will give meaning to your life.

All of this to cope with something your mind thinks you cannot handle. I will tell you a secret: you can.

Some coping helps us survive, some coping makes us stronger, some helps us find meaning.
This only creates more issues to solve while keeping us away from our true self. 

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