Rationalization = we excuse or explain away the abuse. For example, “He was drunk.” Or, “She couldn't help it.” Sometimes we say, “I was a bad child.” Or, “I deserved it.” Or, “I should have known better.” These excuses protect the abuser we thought loved us, and protects us from the horror of the truth.
Minimization = keeps the pain way. We don't have to admit the abuse was really as awful as it was. For example, “It wasn't really that bad.” Or, “It didn't really affect me.”
Denial – or what I call Emotional Pepto-Bismol = pretending the abuse never happened. Makes life more palatable and is perhaps the best protector of all.
Wearing Masks = Hides your real self. Acting one way while feeling another. Anything from wearing too much make-up, bizarre dress, layers of clothes, your hair all over your face, sunglasses, etc. so people can't see how ashamed and bad you feel.
Performing = You get noticed. You may get negative attention but any attention is better than none at all. Or maybe you try to conform to what you think is expected of you. You get some needs met but you have to make sacrifices.
Controlling = You're in control so you feel more powerful. Bossiness, talking non-stop, calling the shots, talking when others are speaking, manipulating. Sometimes keeps others away. A good thing if you don't want them close, but what d'you miss out on?
Acting Out = Surefire way to get noticed, defy authority, test to see who gives a damn. Destructive behaviour, accident-prone, aggressive, tough, cynical, feigning indifference. Makes you feel invincible, powerful or may be a cry for help.
Read these through and see if you can identify any you use or have used. Sometimes coping skills such as those above really annoy us in other people. When I reflect on why those traits in others piss me off so much I find they're the same traits I use to cope. Like I can't stand control freaks. Guess who does that one really well! Me -- even though I've tried hard to tone it down.
Once you begin to identify your coping skills you can choose when and if you want to moderate or change that behaviour.
Reminder: Don't try and do it all at once. This isn't a race or a competition.