Shedding the Heavy Armour: When Coping Skills No Longer Serve Us

As human beings, we are remarkably resilient. Throughout our lives, we develop coping skills—our armour—that help us navigate challenges and protect our mental and emotional well-being. These coping skills are invaluable, providing us with a sense of security and stability in the face of adversity. However, there may come a time when our armour starts to feel heavy, no longer works as effectively, or even becomes restrictive.

One of the signs that our coping skills may need to evolve is when they start to feel heavy or burdensome. This heaviness can manifest as a sense of exhaustion or overwhelm, indicating that our current coping strategies may not be sufficient for the challenges we are facing. Similarly, if our coping skills no longer seem to work as effectively as they once did, it may be a sign that it’s time to reevaluate and explore new approaches.

Another indicator that our coping skills may need to evolve is when they become restrictive, limiting our ability to fully engage with life. For example, if a coping skill that once helped us manage anxiety now prevents us from taking healthy risks or pursuing our goals, it may be holding us back rather than supporting us.

So, how might this scenario play out in real life? Consider a person who grew up in a household with parental conflict. As a child, they may have learned to shut down emotionally as a survival strategy to avoid becoming overwhelmed. However, as they mature, this coping mechanism may begin to feel burdensome or unhelpful, especially in situations of disagreement at work or at home with a partner. Similarly, a person whose needs were not met growing up, may develop very high need for control, planning and organizing excessively in order to ensure their own wellbeing. This may again start feeling rigid and not flexible at some point.

It is important to remember that acknowledging the need for our coping mechanisms to change is not a display of weakness; rather, it demonstrates your strength and openness to personal growth. Your remarkable mind devised strategies to handle pain or challenges effectively in the past, which created the protective armour. By shedding the weight of outdated coping mechanisms and embracing new approaches, you can foster greater resilience and well-being in your life.