Leading Authority in Treatment of Narcissism and Emotional Abuse

(206) 219-0145
Effects of Coping

What are the Harmful Effects of Coping

Coping is often seen as a good thing. But might it actually be bad for you? Coping mechanisms often hide underlying issues, and when left untreated, can cause more harm than good. Dr. David Hawkins helps us understand what are the harmful effects of coping.

What Are the Harmful Effects of Coping?

In the realm of narcissistic victim syndrome, there is an aspect that demands attention and understanding. Victims of emotional and narcissistic abuse often find themselves gradually accepting their abusive circumstances. They do so as a means of adapting to a highly abusive environment.

This article delves into the concept of coping, shedding light on its three synonymous components: coping, adapting, and accommodating. While these terms are generally associated with resilience, their application in the context of emotional and narcissistic abuse can have detrimental effects on the victim. By exploring the harmful effects of coping, it becomes evident that true healing and transformation require intervention and a willingness to confront the truth.

The Insidious Nature of Abuse

The insidious nature of emotional and narcissistic abuse is comparable to the frog in the kettle story. Similar to the water gradually heating up, the abuse seeps into the victim’s life in subtle ways. Hyper-criticism, the abuse of power and control, and other forms of mistreatment become normalized over time. Unfortunately, due to their pervasive nature, these acts of abuse often blend into the background of everyday life. Victims, in an attempt to cope, unknowingly allow the abusive behaviors to persist without realizing the damage being done.

The Three Synonyms: Coping, Adapting, and Accommodating

When examining the experience of victims, three words stand out as synonyms for coping: adapting and accommodating. Victims employ these strategies to create a semblance of normalcy in their lives. However, upon closer examination, it becomes clear that adapting, coping, and accommodating to harsh realities do not lead to thriving.

Adapting to harsh realities implies accepting and adjusting to an abusive situation, which inherently stifles personal growth. Coping with harsh realities involves enduring and managing the abusive behaviors, but it does not allow for true flourishing. Accommodating harsh realities means tolerating and enabling bad behavior, ultimately undermining the victim’s well-being and self-worth. In healthy contexts, these coping mechanisms can be beneficial, but when applied to emotional and narcissistic abuse, they perpetuate a cycle of harm.

The Dark Side of Coping

While society often praises individuals who cope well with adversity, coping with emotional and narcissistic abuse takes a toll on victims. The coping mechanisms employed to survive in an abusive environment hinder the victim’s ability to heal and thrive. Enduring emotional abuse, critical behavior, power and control dynamics, and dismissive attitudes can erode the victim’s emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.

The Importance of Intervention and Truth

Recognizing the harmful effects of coping is crucial for victims seeking to break free from the cycle of abuse. Rather than adapting, coping, or accommodating, victims should strive for change and transformation. Seeking intervention becomes imperative to facilitate healing and significant shifts in their circumstances.

Facing the truth about the abusive situation can be daunting. It requires victims to be brutally honest with themselves, acknowledging the reality of their experiences. Professional help, such as therapy or counseling, can provide the critical guidance needed to navigate these challenges. Therapists, like Dr. David Hawkins, possess the expertise to identify abusive patterns, offer healthy feedback, and guide victims towards a path of healing and change.


Understanding the harmful effects of coping in the face of emotional and narcissistic abuse is vital for both victims and perpetrators. By accommodating, adapting, and coping, victims inadvertently perpetuate the cycle of abuse, preventing personal growth and healing. Instead, intervention and confronting the truth about the abusive situation offer a way forward. Through professional guidance and support, victims can break free from harmful coping mechanisms, leading to significant change and the possibility of a healthier and more fulfilling life.

To learn how we can help, reach out to us at (206) 219-0145 or info@marriagerecoverycenter.com to speak with a Client Care Specialist

Also read: How to Deal with Narcissistic Emotional Bullying

About Dr. Hawkins:

The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.

Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.

He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.

In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.


Sign up our newsletter to get updated information, promo or insight for free.

Latest Post


Need Help?
Get The Support You Need From One Of Our Therapists