Monthly Archives: December 2011

Coping Mechanisms and Shame

A big section of my book Healing the Hurts of Your Past  focuses on the “fruit” of shame. These are really coping mechanisms that we use to help take the edge off the pain of shame.

The Right Tool for the Job

I compare these coping mechanisms to a person carrying a tool belt full of tools.  We all want to be prepared. We all know that every job requires its own set of tools.  And so it is with shame. We have many tools to deal with it. We might be a perfectionist one day, a people-pleaser the next and an intimidator the next. Whatever it takes.


Coping mechanisms help cover our shame

People often see this range of behavior and it concerns them. They don’t know what’s wrong with them. It makes no sense. It’s like they have multiple personalities.

Shame is the Problem

But once you understand shame it all makes sense. They don’t have multiple personalities or even multiple problems. They have one problem; shame. They just have a variety of ways of dealing with it.

Coping Mechanisms Require Heavy Lifting

But tool belts get heavy. The more tools you carry, the more weight, and the more weight, the harder life is day-to-day. Trying to prevent the pain of shame is a full-time job. It requires a lot of tools and a lot of skill. Shame alone is bad enough. But trying to prevent it or cover it up makes life that much harder. It wears you out.

So why not just deal with it? Just because you have shame doesn’t mean that you are obligated to keep it. Lose the shame and the coping mechanisms are no longer necessary. If you want to learn how to lose the shame take a look at my book.

Question: What coping mechanisms do you use most often to buffer the pain of shame? Leave a comment. Share the post. Subscribe to the blog. Thanks!