Remember that a coping strategy allows us to remain in an uncomfortable situation without being aware of how uncomfortable we are. Well, what if the uncomfortable situation is now within us? It is years after our trauma, and we have turned against ourselves because of years of feeling the anxiety and distress of that trauma. These were perfectly appropriate responses at the time, but no one ever validated or acknowledged them. We are tired of feeling anxious and constantly insecure. Nothing we try seems to make a difference. We must get away from ourselves because we can’t seem to find a way to live with ourselves.
Bring on the behaviours. Bring on the big guns. Take my mind off my feelings and thoughts that keep me stressed and preoccupied. It can be a relationship so I can now focus on the other person and project my feelings of anxiety and frustration onto them. It can be food or drugs so I can numb out. Whatever! Just get me out of myself! This is how many of us come to find ourselves obsessed with and enmeshed in substances, in other people’s lives, and in food. It’s something obvious in the present to which we can attach this distress. Maybe even something we have some power over.