Coping Mechanisms are the Solution Not the Problem

Coping Mechanisms are not the Problem

Coping Mechanisms are not the Problem

In my book, Healing the Hurts of Your Past, I talk about a variety of coping mechanisms for shame; addictions, perfectionism, people-pleasing, etc.  But reading this list can add to a person’s shame!  To bring this into perspective I shared this simple analogy from my days living on 24o acres of farmland and woods…

Imagine that I am out a mile from home, deep in the woods. All I have is my chainsaw, some gas, oil, a fresh chain, a wrench and a dirty rag to wipe up the gas or oil spill. Then, the saw kicks back on me and I put a huge gash in my leg. Given what I had, what might I do?

I can imagine that if the blood was flowing I might grab that rag and shove it in the wound to stop the bleeding, right? But the very thing that I did to solve my problem could actually kill me. Why? Because the dirt in the rag could easily get into my bloodstream and spread infection throughout my body which would, in turn, kill me.

The smart thing for me to do in that situation is to take off my shirt and use it instead of the rag. But when are in crisis you don’t always do the smart thing, do you? My guess is that you may have done a few regrettable things to kill the pain of your shame. Healing the Hurts of Past, chapter three.

Get the picture? Coping mechanisms aren’t the problem. Coping mechanisms are the solution…at least  that’s what we think in the moment. We are just trying to kill the  pain. We are trying to solve the problem as quickly and inexpensively as we possibly can.

I get that. I think God gets that too. He’s not mad at you for your behavior as much as he is sad for you. He hates to see you in pain and he hates to see you add to your pain by turning to useless and harmful “solutions”.

There is a better way to solve the  problem…something that is long-term and not a quick fix. It involves turning to a loving God who values you for just being you…warts and  all. Once that foundation is in place you can rebuild your life.

Question: What are some “solutions” that you have  turned to for your pain? Please take a minute to leave your comment below. Thanks.

  • Coping Mechanisms and Shame (
  • The Difference Between Shame and Guilt (

3 thoughts on “Coping Mechanisms are the Solution Not the Problem

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