“Denial does not change reality for everyone else. Only for the one denying and those who are foolish enough to believe the fantasy.”~ Elle Casey
Denial is an interesting defense mechanism. It helps us to survive things that are too difficult for our psyche to handle and it helps us push through. The only problem with using denial as a way of living is that it keeps you cut off from yourself, others and being mindful of what is really happening in your life. As a way of temporary coping it is natural and helpful. As a way of living day to day it is dangerous. Here are five reasons why living this way is not working for you:
1) It keeps you in situations that are unhealthy for you
When we frequently tell ourselves that we are fine and everything is fine, it is possible that we are not being truthful with ourselves and we are avoiding having uncomfortable feelings. These lies or half truths that we tell ourselves can lead to us being in potentially unhealthy situations. When we deny our experience we stay in relationships that maybe potentially damaging, use substances that are inhibiting our life or interacting in patterns that are self detrimental. Denial is a blind spot in our lives that keeps us from moving forward because we are unwilling to tell ourselves the truth. Usually one uses this as a way of coping because of fear of change and/ or having to address icky feelings.
2)It encourages avoidance
When denial becomes a way of living it creates an atmosphere of avoidance. So why is avoidance dangerous? Avoidance keeps us distracted and disconnected for our lives. It actually creates more stress because of takes work to be in avoidance. It is like knowing that their is mines in a field and doing all that you can to avoid them. At some point you will step on a mine.. and it will not be pretty. Avoidance keeps us numb to the world around us. It does not allow us to connect and see awe and beauty in our lives.
“That’s pretty much how we get through our own lives, watching television. Smoking crap. Self-medicating. Redirecting our attention.”
~ Chuck Palahniuk
3)It keeps you stuck in a regressive coping stance
Denial is one of the 15 most used defense mechanisms and it seen as a primitive way of coping. When we regress it is usually because we feel unsafe or threatened in some way. If you are dismissing your experience then that is a red flag that there is something wrong in your life.What red flags are you trying to paint white?
To stop regressive patterns one needs to face what they have been avoiding. Admitting and showing up for unpleasant feelings is difficult however it makes you stronger. When one turns to face their shadow side usually they see it is not so scary. This shadow it just needs attention and acknowledgment so that you can move forward.
4)It keeps you shut down to your authentic self and to others
If you live in denial about life and the things that have happened to you, then it takes a lot of work to keep up this facade. When one needs to keep up appearances, avoids their feelings and tries to control their surroundings, it can be exhausting. Lying about your experience to yourself and others does not allow you to get the help that you need. Try to be willing to tell the truth to someone instead of living in isolation.
5) Denial keeps you isolated
When other people begin to become aware of the person’s problems, they may begin to isolate themselves as a way of protecting themselves. One isolates themselves to continue to reinforce their beliefs and ignore the signs that there is something wrong. This can look like cutting people out of your their life that express concern about a particular issue. Avoiding a place because it brings up unpleasant feelings. Or stopping communication because for fear of judgment of ones choices.
Isolation is not the answer, it keeps us sick. Try to be willing to find someone to talk to and bounce ideas off of. Talk to a trusted friend, a mental health professional, or a hotline for help.
“How ’bout a shot of truth in that denial cocktail.”
― Jennifer Salaiz
If the same things keep occurring in your life you maybe stuck in a feedback loop of denial. Remember we all have baggage and have made bad decisions at one point or another in our lives. These decisions teach us lessons so that we can make different decisions next time. Be willing to see the truth and get out of the fog of denial and admit that you need help and learn to forgive yourself for the choices that you have made up to this point.
I hope that you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to comment below and share it with your friends and family. If you have any questions. Please feel free to contact me 🙂 323.515.2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested working on transforming your denial come to my workshop on April 23rd. Learn more here.
Have a blessed week!