Denial or Truth

Denial or Truth

Often when we are young we use denial as a tool to get through difficult situations and times. Pain is a part of growing up but sometimes the pain is more than we feel we can handle as children so we find a way to use denial, sometimes we go into fantasy, sometimes we just withdraw.

As children we can go into the land of play and fantasy which helps us to deal with difficult realities.  Denial at this stage of our lives can serve us well and keep us safe.

However denial brought into adulthood can be the reason we stay stuck in difficult situations and difficult relationships.  We just continue on using our old tool called denial to get through painful, difficult times. As we deny our real selves we deny our wants and needs and often this is the reason we jump into unhealthy behaviours and relationships.

If we lived in a lot of denial as children, if we faced difficult times and emotional turmoil we need to be gentle with ourselves as we learn to face the adult world of reality. Coming out of denial is not an easy road. Even those that came from relatively ‘normal’ homes spent time using denial; very few had a perfect childhood.

When we are in denial we often jump into the lives of everyone around us, giving advice, helping, controlling, and generally keeping ourselves occupied. Some jump into careers, studying, travel, basically any distraction from our own lives.  Often our denial tactic seems very positive, study, reading, travel, helping.  We get praised for doing it and therefore keep doing it long past its sell by date.

If we can learn to gently accept reality as it presents to us we can move out of denial and into our own lives.  Once you begin to accept the concept of denial and realise that it may be a part of your life, you may find that life sends you situations that allows you to face your denial and move through it.  These challenges often seem so unfair but in actual fact they are sent to move us forward once we being to understand.

Denial is not an enemy, but it does become any unwelcome friend once it stifles our lives. It can keep us stuck and stop us fulfilling our hopes and dreams.  It is often because of the presence of denial that we are unable to move out of certain mind-sets and embrace change.

It is not always the easiest of tasks to move from a place of denial to a place of reality, it can be a messy business, deciding to face a difficult situation and then swiftly jumping back to a familiar place of denial.  While ‘familiar’ denial it is rarely comfortable. This is a slow process to be taken on with kindness to the self and understanding. We all have a safety net and it is okay to pull our safety net up to keep us safe until life has stabilised enough to peep back out again.

Making our environment as safe as possible makes it easier to take on the challenge of overcoming denial as a form of self-protection. Try to surround yourself with as many things in life that give you a sense of security.

I spoke to a lady one day about denial and she told me her story, it’s a story of how denial can keep a person locked in unhealthy behaviours in order to make a relationship work.

In her words

‘I knew the relationship was not working but I thought I could make it work. Mostly I thought it was not working because he was approaching life wrong so I spent my time trying to guide him in the right direction, giving him good advice, bailing him out of financial trouble, picking up the pieces when things went wrong for him, generally putting my life on hold because I knew when he realised what he was doing wrong everything would be sorted.  This went on for years, many years, I would be embarrassed to tell you how many.  I worried and fretted, my head usually too full of his problems to deal with my own, I woke up worried and went to sleep worried.  We no longer got on, we fought and disagreed on almost everything, the relationship and fun of the past was a distant memory. I was busy so creating the relationship I thought we should have that I failed to see the truth of what we did have.  The thought began to occur to me over time that nothing I was doing was working, in fact it was getting worse and worse.  Now I understand life was sending me gentle nudges to do things differently but I was not listening, I thought life was punishing me sending me all this heartache.  I could not hear because I was in total denial, I wanted this relationship to work, I was willing to do anything to make it work but I was not the only person in the relationship, I could not control the other person.  I was addicted to worry, I had learned it as a child and I had recreated it now in my adult relationship, it was hard to own my own part, to realise I was recreating what I knew as a child.  So I decided to stop giving advice, stop wondering where he was, stop ringing him when he was late, basically I decided to separate me and him in my head. I decided to do this without discussion, only I was aware of my decision.  It was not the easiest thing I have ever done, I ducked in and out of doing it for a while but funny enough the more I backed off the easier life became for me, my levels of worry dropped which I never thought possible, I no longer felt totally responsible for another person.  I sit here with you today to tell you it worked.  We are getting along better now than in years.  I went into this facing reality convinced it had to be the end of the relationship but in fact it has been the making of it.  I think mostly because I was willing to see where I was going wrong, the blame game ended between us, I found compassion and love where I thought there was none left. Have we the relationship I thought we should be having, no we don’t. I have learned to live a different way, I was denying the notion that every person is an individual entitled to live according to their own beliefs.  I was denying that I had a part to play, I was occupied and familiar with the amount of worry it brought to my life and it allowed me a place to hide while I was unable to face my own demons’.

Denial exists in so many forms, it is really worth spending a little time doing an inventory on your own life, like anything else in life if it exists it can be best to address it before it reaches the chronic stage, which of us needs to end up in any more pain than we need to in life.

When we are in denial all we are really doing is denying our own truth, who we really are, who we really want to be and all because we don’t know yet that living our own truth is the best we can ever hope for.



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