4 Ways We Don't Realize We Suck at Coping With Adversity

The human condition is not just a song by musical circus Jhameel, it's something by which we're all afflicted all the time, like scurvy on a pirate ship or crabs after a Vegas weekend. What makes it interesting is that we're so very unaware of our humanity from day to day, seeing as it's just the necessarily human way we live our lives. We do things without question, we have reactions without consideration as to why we do them, and we let ourselves get all swept up in being certain ways that, individually, we rarely notice about ourselves.

One of the most ridiculous ways we do this is in facing adversity. When the world kicks our ass, we let it. Hard. And we never even notice. Next time you're feeling that you're standing in front of the fan as shit gets ladled into it by an industrial-size spoon, see if this is how you're reacting to it.

#4. Trivializing It

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The absolute worst thing about this method of confronting adversity is that we're actually taught to do it. We present it to others in a comforting way, in fact, and we try to internalize it. Here's a fine example -- say you have a job at Old Navy. All day every day, you make people buy mediocre clothing, and life is pretty alright. Then your hours get cut drastically, because people only need so many hoodies, and as a result you're pretty sure you won't get to go away this summer, paying your bills is going to become a real hardship, and you're worried you might need to find a cheaper place.

This is a pretty serious issue. Now of course there are numerous ways to deal with and fix this problem, but your gut reaction to it is what? For a lot of people, after the initial "Fuck you, you Old Navy ass bandits!" they'll seek solace in something like "Well, at least I didn't get fired" or "There's plenty of people who can't afford any kind of home" and so on and so forth. It's the count-your-blessings approach to dealing with bad news. Sure, you got skin cancer, but the guy down the hall had his dick bitten off by a wolf that was on fire.

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Oh, the beast was ravenous for dicks it was!

No one likes a whiner, and no one wants to see you shut down like an organic vegan burger joint in Chicago when things get tough, but by the same token, be pissed off. If you get fucked, you don't have to say thank you and offer the fucker a napkin. Things could be worse, yes, but that doesn't mean things are good. Anything could be worse. Flaming-Wolf-Bait Dick could have had someone jam a Thermos of bleach up his ass at the same time, but you don't expect him to be thinking that and getting back to work.

At its core, making something trivial is a coping mechanism. It's like telling kids that bullies are just afraid on the inside. What a load of horseshit that is, but we tell it to the kid who gets his face dunked in a toilet every day in the hopes he'll take some comfort from knowing that Brutus in third period Spanish wasn't actually forged in the devil's womb and has real humanity and weakness, too. It's a way to fit yourself on a scale and not be on the very bottom of it. Cosmically, you're making your cup half full, because if you have to deal with literally being in the worst place ever, you're going to cry until you die of dehydration. Not that that stops some people ...

#3. Amplifying It

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The exact opposite of trivializing your troubles is amplifying them. It's much nicer to deal with people who trivialize things because they're upbeat, if nothing else. Those who amplify them are like a black morass of despair. They stub a toe and will tear their shoes and socks from their feet before your eyes, lifting their afflicted and palsied digit to the heavens as though sacrificing it to the very God who betrayed them in a desperate attempt to understand and ameliorate their terrible pain.

Most people are guilty of this to some degree; you'll find yourself doing it when you get overwhelmed, and it's often why people hate the holidays. You have to travel, clean up, buy gifts, cook a turkey, get the whole house prepared, deal with family, and try not to drink all the scotch, and by the time your relatives show up, you want to remove their faces with concentrated acid for making your life the equivalent of a colonoscopy performed by a jittery monkey with a webcam on the end of a broomstick. Is that how bad things really are? Let's hope not, because if so, you need a vacation. But it can feel that way.

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"Just relax, Jerry, let's see what's going on down here."

On the day to day, you'll find these same people bemoaning every tiny inconvenience they face in a way that makes you never want to deal with them again. Ever see someone in a grocery store literally shout obscenities at a cashier because they couldn't use an expired coupon? This is the kind of trogg I mean, a person for whom 30 cents off Sunny Delight is a serious life event and being denied it has caused them to lose any modicum of decency and just go full fucktard on some kid who clearly has his own shit to deal with.

Bad shit happens in life, and when it piles up, it feels like the universe itself is conspiring against it. It's the realization that the universe doesn't care about us that really gets you through. Basically it's a sign of terribly misplaced ego to get so wound up about things that are not earth-shattering, because who the fuck are you that you need a closer parking space, or that driving behind a cyclist ruins your day because you were going to do what, perform brain surgery in half an hour? It's understandable if you start losing faith in life itself if your cat dies on the same day everyone in your family falls into a volcano and you get diagnosed with leprosy, but those big kicks in the ass are few and far between. Those are times when you can lose your shit and no one blames you. On smaller issues, maybe just a hint of sanity is in order. Or else this happens ...

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Felix Clay

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