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denial

The Most Important Person You Really Lie To, Yourself

Don't Lie To Yourself

Don’t Lie To Yourself

Would you hire someone and keep them in the dark about the workings of your business?  Would you not give the correct answers to their questions about the business and then if they confront you about lying to them, would you deny doing it to them.  How useful would this person be except as a fall guy for your business if something goes wrong.  Would you trust them with any major decisions?  Of course not, they don’t know what is going on.

To maintain our pride and to avoid fear and anxiety, we often do this but the employee you often lie to is yourself.  You don’t know what is going on here.  Pretending not to see something won’t make it go away.   It is like the elephant in the room in alcoholic families, nobody admits that they see it; but it is still there.

Denial permits us to keep from thinking about the consequences of something we are actually doing to ourselves.  We often use it because there is an immediate reward if somebody believes it.    We hope that while we are convincing others we are convincing ourselves and somehow things that we dread happening will come out differently.  “Oh, what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive (Sir Walter Scott).”

Lies which we make to our selves are like any lies we make to others.  At some point we lose track of what we said to whom, even to ourselves, and there are unforeseen consequences and when they occur, we cry out in disbelief, “Why me?  Yes, you.   You you started this chain of lies to make something big, little, and, instead, it mushrooms.  Some people innocently call it merely self-deception, not really lying.

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How Do You Confront Denial?

In A State Of Denial

In A State Of Denial

How do you confront denial, especially in yourself?  You most need to do this when you have been putting something off and the adverse consequences are multiplying.  Even more so, you may have had opportunities to solve your problems which you didn’t take and now regret that you didn’t take them.

Now you can grieve over your losses or potential losses and do nothing or you can open yourself up to trying something new.  Life is a series of passages which come and go.  Children can’t remain babies forever and as people get older, they acquire more physical limitations whether due to age, accidents, or the type of physical activities that they have engaged in.  For some people, this happens sooner than later.  People leave your life whether through death, disagreements, or deciding to pursue new goals that are incompatible with your goals.

New people keep coming into your life unless you are a hermit.  Do you welcome them or resent the fact that you now have to deal with someone you don’t know well and who are replacing people you were once were well acquainted with and who were very comfortable to be around?  Having a quiet incident free life can be a mixed blessing, it doesn’t prepare you for when life knocks  you for a loop.

Do you greet new things in your life by saying “I can’t” or “I won’t  do that?”

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Making Your Way Out Of The Swamp Of Denial

swampimages

Making your way out of the swamp of denial or helping someone make his or her way out of the swamp of denial may have many causalities, yourself included.  Too many people do not want to pay the price; but they have to pay the piper eventually.  Seniors may put off making the adjustments they need to make in their chosen lifestyle as they get older and need more help.  They are often not willing to face the consequences and often have put it off for way to long and it doesn’t get easier, it just gets harder and harder to do.  Not taking personal responsibility for some of their life decisions as not working is something that gets in the way.  They can get angry and because of their denial they take it out on the very people they need.

Denial is not conducive to rational thinking or to making an objective assessment of the consequences of choices people in denial might make is close to impossible.  Seniors, especially, may have always thought, “I don’t want to think about that yet.  It couldn’t happen to me.  I like things just the way they are.”  Honor thy father and mother is the commandment which gets harder and harder to obey.  In fact these people may drive away the very people they need.

Now Is The Time That....

Now Is The Time That….

Such people in denial (like some seniors) often have had a position of status quo that was comfortable for them and which they never had to compromise.  It is hard for these people to make the necessary adjustments when they never wanted to or had to before.  At the same time their off spring or local support group runs out of patience with them because some seniors who are in denial won’t accept the help  they have to offer and these seniors even get (sometimes) hateful with them.

God Bless you (friends and family) you may be in for a hard ride with no thanks or gratitude or cooperation for your effort.  The problem may be impossible to solve if the person who needs to change is in the state of denial and stays there.  You might even think you are going crazy.  You say to yourself,”This can’t be real.”  You think that no one would deny something like that when the handwriting is clearly on the wall.

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Denial Is Not A River In Eygpt

denialquote,EgyptDenial (the Nile) is not a river in Egypt” is something I might have heard of in Alcoholics Anonymous; but it’s something said by Mark Twain first.  Many people use denial because they say to themselves,,”Denial will never hurt anyone.  It will keep me out of trouble.”  The sometimes scarey trouble of having to do something about it such as when you have $40,000 in credit card debt and you keep making the minimum payments.  It will hurt nobody (but me and you).  Sometimes we are afraid of what other people’s reactions will be to what we don’t want to admit to.

denialroadsignDenial can become so evasive that we no longer are living in the real world.  We may forget what it was that we were denying and this results in a second denial when reality hits us in the face and we have to deal with the consequences.  Then the only thing that we can say (and we now believe it to be true), “I don’t remember doing or having that.”

Denial is one way of dealing with too much stress.  We can’t handle everything that we need to handle so we conveniently forget one or more of them.  This way we miss appointments, don’t get assignments done, and even have a physical condition get worse.  How often have you said,”I don’t have time to deal with that now,” and then to compound the problem have even forgotten that something needed to be done.

“Me?  Face the things I have denied.”  “No, way!”  I have got enough to do and/or worry about right now.  Many of the things we avoid this way generate a lot of anxiety.  Sometimes our body tells us this by creating a physical problem or by making it get worse.  I have done this and have developed hives (both inside and outside my body), earaches, and stomach and bowel problems.  It’s not “all in your head”; but it is not all outside you either.  Some people call them psychosomatic problems?

stressedoutWhat can you do about denial?  Obviously you can take some of the things you stress about off your “To do list“.  You can look for the hidden stress factors which you are basically denying right now and do something (which you have been putting off  doing) This is because doing this will you think make you even more anxious.  With these types of psychosomatic symptoms, recovery can be almost instantaneous when you “sh.. (defecate) or get off the pot”.

I am at my personal limit when this happens.  I often become even more anxious by resolving the problem but there usually an end to the process and I get some relief.  Then I wonder why I tried to deny this problem for so long?  There is a price to pay which does not seem worth it at first and that is why you deny the problem.  Often there are  at least two choices in the process of resolving this problem and neither appears to be a good one.

When in denial, I have carried such burdens by denying them for such a long time that looking back I wondered why I let myself live that way?  How about you?  Is there something you have put off dealing with? or something stupid you are doing which is a waste of time and money (like getting life insurance policies with your spouse with each other as beneficiaries when you really down deep, underneath it all are headed for a divorce)?

signs,doublebindLast, but not least, to avoid one obstacle in life by not seeing it, you start stop seeing other obstacles and soon you have blurry vision and “blind spots.”  You begin seeing more and occurrences through the filter of denial and you get further and further from what is really there or reality.  If this hits home, I suggest you look up the topic, “mindfulness” as it helps develop realistic thinking  and helps you to avoid missing some of the things that are going on (like the look on a person’s face which doesn’t match their words) that would help you make a better judgment.

For example,  you may have been denying to yourself that the person might not have your best interests in mind, but you feel stuck because you feel that person is the only one that can help you.  Sometimes that is called a double-bind.  It is when a person says something that is not matching what they are doing otherwise, like their tone of voice or lack of eye contact.  Denial of one part or other of the equation is a way of dealing  with it and you can guess which people go for (especially if they are all ready insecure).

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How We Fool Ourselves

Denial and rationalization are two ways we think we fool ourselves into thinking we don’t have a problem when we do.  Of course, it is not just you, yourself, who does this, other people do it too; but you have more control over it when you work on changing yourself instead of other people.  Also hopefully you will be less defensive about being confronted with what you do than somebody else will be if you do it to them.

When you deny something, you pretend, and sometimes believe, that it doesn’t exist.  It is well known for being one of the stages of the process of grief.  If something doesn’t exist, you don’t have to deal with it; but that doesn’t solve the problem which still exists and which may get worse if you don’t recognize it and do something about it.  College students who concentrate on partying often find this out at the end of the semester when they fail their classes and have to leave school because of their grades.

Rationalization seems to be a more sophisticated form of defense mechanism.  With rationalization, you admit that you have done something but for a good reason.  You were justified in doing what you did.  It is often used by passive aggressive people to justify their behaviors that are hurtful to others.  For example, they say, “But I was only doing this to help you,” when at some level they know it was something that you feel didn’t help at all.  Many times people feel broadsided by this type of behavior.  We often learn this early because it gets us out of being held accountable for some behaviors until somebody catches on to what we are doing.

The clear wings make this South-American butte...

The clear wings make this South-American butterfly hard to see in flight, a succesfull defense mechanism. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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