Understanding Your Coping Strategies
Suppressing our negative emotions creates conflict avoidance where we avoid conflict or become overly aggressive in situations that appear similar to fearful situations in our past. We create compensating strategies to avoid fearful situations and to succeed and achieve in the face of these fears we picked up along the way. These compensating strategies can become our strengths and gifts, but when used inappropriately, they also can become part of the problem that keeps our denial and our cycle of conflict locked into place.
While our compensating strategies may be helpful in certain situations, they are dysfunctional and inappropriate in other situations. The problem is that when we are upset or triggered, we may use our compensating strategies compulsively or inappropriately. For example, being nurturing, supportive and helpful is a great thing. However, when we are faced with a bully who is trying to dominate us, being nurturing and supportive may not be appropriate. Another example is being organized and logical when a friend or partner needs empathy and understanding. While being logical and organized are great things, this will only drive others away when they need encouragement and support.
Your Compensating Strategies
Describe the compensating strategies that you use compulsively or inappropriately in response to difficult situations. (E.g. - being nurturing and helpful, assertive, logical, methodical, organized, etc...) This quality is your strength and your gift, but it may be an inappropriate response to a particular situation and it will never resolve that particular conflict or heal the core fears driving the conflict.