I Cannot Cope Anymore


Stop stress and toxic emotions from limiting your aspirations and desires in life


An inability to cope is not caused by an inherent internal personal weakness. It is the circumstances in life that cause us to learn to cope poorly with emotions.

Fortunately, this inability to cope with emotions does not have to be sticky. it is helpful that we realize that this inability was something we learnt as a result of circumstances in life. It is not something inherent in our nature. It is not something we are stuck with.

Why some people learn to cope and others don’t.

The belief that we are somehow doomed to the negative effects of distressing emotions on its own is enough to cripple anybody. This belief drives the relationship we have with negative emotions.

Our beliefs about negative emotions can either makes us fight with emotions almost as though we are being drowned or make us give up coping with emotions because we believe we have no chance of surviving them.

The irony is that everybody can learn to cope with emotions given the opportunity to learn how. Really, this is no different from how we learn other skills like riding a bike, learning to fry an egg, or driving a car.

Barriers to copping

A major difficulty though is that emotions tend to be abstract in nature and do not tend to follow similar rules as physical things. This can be a source of confusion for many and is often why people get stuck in revolving negative cycles.

Once these rules are understood, it becomes easy for us to recognise what we need to do to work better with our emotions. This helps us to develop a sense of hope for our future.

Another difficulty is that, In order to learn how to cope with emotions, we all need to learn some basic coping skills from other people around us. So if those around us don’t know how to cope properly themselves, or if they have a tendency to be hostile towards us when we need to learn to cope, we don’t stand a good chance of learning effectively.

Life experiences that sabotage our ability to cope

1. Here are some situations that may lead to a feeling of not being able to cope. (This is not an exhaustive list)

  • Growing up in an environment where emotional issues are not discussed.
  • This can make us feel ashamed about dealing with emotions.
  • It can also lead to a lack of knowledge about how to manage complex negative emotional feelings.

2. Growing up in environments where no one comforts us when we are distressed.

  • This can make us think it is wrong to be comforted.
  • People can actually begin to feel guilty at attempts to comfort themselves.
  • Can make us feel it is a weakness to want to be comforted.

3. Growing up in an enviroments where comforting gestures from other's have been used to abuse us or take advantage of us.

  • This confuses us into believing that comforting gestures like hugging are dangerous.
  • This makes life threathening as we are afraid to allow ourselves to be comforted.
  • It can also make us feel intense guilt when we attempt to comfort ourselves.

4. An I cannot cope any more feeling may result from parents, loved ones or school mates punishing us, or ridiculing us for showing any sign of distress.

  • This can make us feel vulnerable when we need comforting, or when we need other’s to help us feel safe. This can make life feel very unsafe.
  • Cause us to develop a tendency to self-criticize (Criticize myself before others have a chance to criticize me)

5. Parent, loved ones or friends rushing immediately to our aid whenever we experience any distress no matter how small the distress is. (causes us to lose confidence in our own selves)

  • This often makes people feel guilty for experiencing emotional problems. People often say things like “I should not be having any problems.” "I had wonderful parents who were there for me whenever I needed them.” Problem is that those parents were always there for them even when it was not needed.
  • This also causes us to develop a lack of belief in our own abilities to manage our own problems.
  • Being treated like this can make us believe that distressing experiences are to be feared. (Because we’ve never been allowed to see the outcome of the experience- we’ve been rescued before the experience ended)

6. An I cannot cope any more feeling may result from being criticized by others all the time. We end up becoming experts at self-criticism in order to avoid criticism from others.

  • This can make depression a regular experience and cause us to believe that we will never break free from depression.

7. Parent’s or loved ones making all decisions for us. (Leads to loss of self-confidence and an anxious personality)

  • This can cause us to be prone to making mistakes
  • It can also lead to a poor ability to problem solve.

8. Parents have an anxious personality themselves.

  • This might cause us to develop a tendency to worry over every little thing.
  • It might make us feel very insecure because we always expect things to go wrong.
  • Causes us to become increasingly afraid of making mistakes (Mistakes are an essential part of learning).

Having all these experiences can act as an opening to experiencing more stress related problems, hense the conclusion I can't cope anymore.

First steps towards learning to cope

To begin the process of learning how to cope with stress and emotions, we need to be able to acknowledge where our inability to cope came from. Doing this allows us to give ourselves the permission to learn what we need to learn in order to become better at coping.

Ready to learn some techniques for improving your ability to cope?

Click here to learn about coping with anxiety.

Click here to learn about coping with depression.

Click here to learn about coping with anger difficulties.


I cannot cope anymore

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Articles and video tutorials by Adewale Ademuyiwa.

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Please note that although most of the case examples used on this sight are taken from true life
experiences, the case examples have been changed somewhat in the interest of keeping the confidentiality of the clients involved.

www.stresstherapist.net is the property of Adewale Ademuyiwa, BcSHons Community Specialist Practice, Post Grad Cert in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, DipHe Mental Health Nursing, Diploma in Mentoring in Public practice.

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