Learning to Accept a Loved One's Coping Mechanisms

April 19, 2021 Alixzandria Paige

Everyone has different coping methods that they choose to use, and it can sometimes seem like not all coping mechanisms are as helpful as others. There might come a time when you have to come to terms with and accept a loved one's preferred coping method. This is the story of a time I went through that situation. 

How I Came to Accept My Brother's Coping Mechanism

Recognizing the Coping Method

When my brother was diagnosed with autism in elementary school, professionals took a closer look at him to make sure they didn't miss anything else that could have presented itself as a symptom of autism. They found that he also had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). This was a lot for him to manage, especially at such a young age. 

He started developing a coping mechanism to help him get through the physical and emotional turmoil of changing doctors, managing therapies, searching for the right prescription dose, as well as all the normal stress a pre-teen goes through. The coping mechanism that he settled for, and that I recognize a lot of young boys gravitate towards, was video games.

Wishing the Coping Method Was More Useful

My brother began dedicating more and more time to video games as a coping method. A coping method is intended to help an individual manage difficult emotions and time periods so that they can get through them. However, as the time that he spent playing video games increased, it didn't seem like something he was going to get through. 

The coping method that he chose was mainly used to escape his problems, not solve them. And because he was spending so much time playing games, he was falling behind in schoolwork, and he wasn't making any friends. 

Getting Involved When I Shouldn't Have

As an older sister, and as someone who thought that his coping method wasn't as helpful as it ought to be, I began to pester him to spend less time on it and more on his responsibilities. I even went so far as to hiding his video games so that he wouldn't have access to them at all times. 

Not only did the removal of his coping method make his mental health worse, but I damaged our relationship by butting in when it wasn't necessary. In fact, it wasn't much longer before he naturally grew out of playing video games by himself. 

It is very important for me to remember that not everyone has to handle their problems in the same way. I also have to remember that just because I see a coping method as not being able to help much doesn't mean it isn't saving someone's mental health at that moment. It is very important to respect everyone's mental health, and what keeps them healthy.

What are some coping methods you guys use? Do your loved ones accept your coping mechanism as a valid choice?

APA Reference
Paige, A. (2021, April 19). Learning to Accept a Loved One's Coping Mechanisms , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Alixzandria Paige

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Lizanne Corbit
April, 19 2021 at 6:01 pm

Recognizing and understanding that people might (and often do) things differently than us is such an important thing. Whether it's how someone chooses to cope, heal, learn something new, or express emotion, we all do it differently. Wonderful read.

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