In coping with stress, a person is confronted with 2 challenges:
1. To meet the requirements of the stressor.
2. To protect oneself from psychological damage.
When a person feels competent to handle a stressful situation, a task oriented response is typical- which means the person objectively appraises the situation, decides on an appropriate strategy, works out solution, takes feedback.
When a person's feelings of adequacy are seriously threatened by a stressor, a defence oriented response emerges, that is behaviour is directed at protecting the self from hurt rather then resolving the issue. For example, a person who denies acceptance of a failed relationship to avoid guilt and blame.
Many a times we combine the strategies & workout solutions and they help.
We must remember that defence oriented responses are maladaptive behaviours if used repetitively.