Denial. Fuhgeddaboudit. Really, how bad can it be? It’s just make believe. We’re all experts in pretending from our early years of childhood play. Where’s the harm in inventing our own reality today as adults? Or excusing our involvement with harmful habits; after all, it’s only occasionally. And not thinking about certain critical situations enables us to get through the day. Fuhgeddaboudit.
Author Rosalind Kaplan wrote: Denial is a useful defense mechanism until it’s not.
Due to a shocking and emotionally painful situation, a part of the brain prevents a conscious awareness of the truth or reality–this is called denial. Denial is intended to be a short term defense mechanism that the brain uses to give a person a brief time to accept a painful or stressful event–to accept the reality of it.
In what appears to be sympathy and approval, Sigmund Freud wrote: Illusions of denial commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces.
Today, denial is seen as a delusional mind-set that believes in something that doesn’t exist. Denial is the biggest barrier facing emotional and physical health. It prevents those in the snare of addictions or abuse from seeing how their lives have become unraveled and out of control. It stops people with physical pain from making an appointment with a physician.
People refuse to accept the truth or refuse to admit the truth; and this, sadly, keeps them in an emotional prison of despair instead of protecting them from pain. People excuse behavior, minimize behavior, and defend behavior that’s battering, habitual, and destructive because another way of thinking or living seems scarier. In reality they experience the very thing they’re frightened of because denial creates fear; it doesn’t eliminate it. Pretending that something doesn’t exist, doesn’t make it go away. And fears of the unknown create more worry and anxiety.
People who have experienced an emotionally injurious past may struggle with reality today. Impelled to avoid revisiting painful feelings and situations, they may pretend that facts in their life today are negotiable. They may deny truths about certain behaviors in a person to avoid facing the pain of ending the relationship, even though it’s toxic. They may minimize it when someone mistreats them to dodge a confrontation that history has shown won’t change anything. Reality is often denied when we think facing it will shatter any hope still in our grip. But, reality won’t bargain and won’t compromise. And if we remain in denial, the trade-off is more pain than if we had accepted reality’s first invitation.
Is there something you need to accept today? Do you need some discreet guidance about a situation or relationship? Do you have a question? Just contact me. I’m here.
Think about it.