Denial is not a river in Egypt but is about lying to ourselves and others about something we know to be true but refuse to believe or take responsibility for.
When it comes to addictions like food, alcohol, drugs, shopping the term “denial” refers to the process by which people pretend to themselves or to others, that they don’t have a problem, when in fact they do have a big problem. Denial can be a conscious thing where the person who is addicted, lies to cover up their habits, in order to keep the addiction a hidden secret from others or unconsciously believe they drink but don’t have a problem stopping.
Denial may be partially conscious, for example, when someone admits that they drink more than they know they should for health reasons, but deny that it causes them problems, when in fact many of the problems they experience are consequences of their drinking.
Denial is the refusal to acknowledge the existence of unpleasant painful realities or our internal thought process and feelings that we are ashamed of but refuse to face in order to change, leading us to lie and pretend we are in control, when in fact we are not.
When we are lying to ourselves about all the emotions we are feeling, we are in denial which is often a protection mechanism against the pain we have to face in our reality, outside our emotions. For example you could have been dating someone for 10 years who you love, need, has become a part of you, you cannot live without but this person does not feel the same and has decided to walk away from you. At first you are angry, lash out, do not want to let go, say stuff you don’t mean in the moment, then say how much you love them and you tell anyone who will listen how hurt you feel. With all these thoughts swimming around in your head, you want answers solutions, for him to come back, tell you its all going to be fine.
Being in denial in this place, actually lying to yourself is because it is safer and less painful than having to face the fact you have been dumped and there is no going back because you want answers and telling him how you feel, may not get you the answers you want. Love and pain go hand in hand and we have to learn to take the good with the bad, always looking to forgiveness for internal peace. Being in denial about being loved by someone who is obviously clearly saying they don’t love or want you anymore, is never going to make you happy and you are never going to make them change their mind, unless you lock them up and force them.
When we get dumped, we must learn to face the reality, see it for what it is and move forward, feeling the hurt but forgiving the person at the same time because being in denial will only prolong the inevitable and keep you stuck in the past.
Being in denial when you are seriously over weight and killing yourself daily because you don’t have the will power to change, is a very dangerous place and something you have to face if you ever want to be truly happy. Keeping your head down with a bagful of excuses as to why you cannot lose weight or those who don’t even acknowledge they have a weight issue, is denial in its best form because it is obvious and clear to on lookers, so in reality is not possible to hide behind.
Being in denial about your happiness by pretending you have everything you desire materially, is only about fooling yourself because we all know money does not make us happy, no matter how much we think or believe it can.
Denial is the worst form of self abuse because whilst ever you are lying to yourself, you are lying to others and lying is not the route to your internal peace and happiness, something we all have to seek out in order to be the best we can be.
If you are fat, then face the fact you are fat and if you cannot do this because you are afraid of what others will think of you, recognise they already think you are fat because in reality you are. You may think that others judge you for being fat and this maybe true but most people would in fact feel sorry for you because they can see what you are doing to yourself and your health, so being in denial is rather pointless, especially if you are hiding behind it.
If you have a problem with alcohol and you keep telling your friends and family you are on top of it, can stop it anytime, face the fact you are in denial because if it was that simple, you would be doing it and those who care about you would be off your back.
Facing the truth is so liberating, once you get over the fear of confronting the problem or the pain of loss, hope and comfort because finding your inner strength is your key to being able to never have to live a lie.
Photo by: Chaozzy Lin