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🌟 What’s Your Coping Style? 🌟

Imagine This:

You're planning a weekend getaway, but suddenly, you realize you’ve double-booked and now have to cancel your plans. 

One partner bursts into tears, feeling overwhelmed and seeking comfort. 😢 

The other shuts down, scrolling through their phone to avoid dealing with the disappointment. 📱 

Frustration mounts as one person feels abandoned in their emotional distress and the other feels suffocated by the need for comfort.

The initial issue—canceling the plans—now seems insignificant compared to the emotional rift forming between you. 

Sound familiar? 

It’s not just you—it's your coping styles at play. Let's decode these together and unlock new paths to deeper connection.


 🌟 Discover Your Default 🌟

Understanding your default coping style is the first step to better communication and connection.

Everyone has a go-to method for dealing with stress, and these can vary based on whether you're neurotypical, autistic, or ADHD.

Recognizing these patterns in yourself and your partner can transform how you handle conflict and stress together.

 🚀 Fix-It Mode: Problem-Focused Coping

What It Is:

Problem-focused coping is all about taking action. It's the "let's fix this now" approach.

Key Actions:

- Planning: Mapping out steps to tackle the issue.

- Seeking Information: Digging deep to understand the problem better.

- Taking Action: Jumping in and getting things done.


- Effective for solving manageable problems.

- Can lead to quick relief.


- Less effective for problems beyond control.

- Can increase stress if immediate solutions aren’t found.

Who Tends to Use It:

ADHD partners might default to this approach due to their preference for immediate action and problem-solving.

💖 Embrace the Emotions: Emotion-Focused Coping

What It Is:

Emotion-focused coping centers on managing how you feel rather than tackling the problem head-on.

Key Actions:

- Seeking Emotional Support: Leaning on friends, family, or a therapist.

- Positive Reframing: Finding the silver lining in tough situations.

- Relaxation Techniques: Engaging in calming activities like meditation or yoga.


- Helps manage emotional distress.

- Useful when the problem cannot be immediately resolved.


- May not address the root cause of stress.

- Over-reliance can prevent practical solutions.

Who Tends to Use It:

Neurotypical partners often lean towards this style, valuing emotional regulation and support to process their feelings.

 🚫 Head in the Sand: Avoidance-Focused Coping

What It Is:

Avoidance-focused coping involves sidestepping the issue or the emotions it brings.

Key Actions:

- Denial: Pretending the problem doesn't exist.

- Distraction: Engaging in other activities to avoid the stressor.

- Substance Use: Using alcohol or drugs to escape emotional pain.


- Provides temporary relief from stress.

- Gives you time to cool down and come up with a more thoughtful approach.


- Doesn’t solve the problem, which may worsen over time.

- Can lead to unhealthy behaviors and additional stressors.

Who Tends to Use It:

Autistic partners may default to avoidance when overwhelmed by stimuli or stress, using it as a quick escape from intense situations.

🌱 Grow Together: Understanding and Expanding Your Coping Styles

Do you recognize yourself?

Or your partner?

Take a moment to reflect on which of these coping styles resonates with you. Identifying your default coping style is the first step towards growth.

Now, rank these three styles—problem-focused, emotion-focused, and avoidance-focused—based on how well they fit you and your partner. This simple exercise can provide powerful insights into your relationship dynamics.

Here’s the game-changer: we're not forever trapped in our default coping styles! By recognizing your own and your partner’s default modes, you can start to adapt and grow.

Steps to Expansion:

Self-Reflection: Identify your default coping style.

Communication: Share and discuss your coping styles with your partner. The goal is to be able to talk to your partner about which coping style you are using in the moment you're using it.

Validation: Take turns validating each other’s approach to cut out the shame that one way is better or worse than another.

Flexibility: Practice using different coping strategies in various situations.

Support: Lean on us here at the Neurodiverse Couples Counseling Center for guidance and support.

Embrace the journey of understanding and expanding your coping styles. This isn't just about dealing with stress—it's about deepening your connection and building a stronger partnership.

Let's make a pact to move beyond our defaults and grow together. Remember, we're here for you every step of the way.

Warmest regards,



Dr. Harry Motro, LMFT, Clinical Director

Founder Neurodiverse Couples Counseling Center



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