Denial

Reality
Reality (Photo credit: Beatnic)

Denial

“Whomever falls on this stone, will, be broken: but on whomever it shall fall, it will grind to powder.”

     Denial is a powerful force, which few can refute. It can also be an unbelievably destructive force.  Denial can come in many forms: Denial of Fact, (a form of lying), Blaming, Minimizing, Justifying – all forms of Denial of Responsibility. Denial of Impact: avoiding thinking about or understanding the consequences of one’s words, actions, deeds, or lack thereof – a form of lying by omission. Denial of awareness – most often associated with addictions, and sometimes, mental illness. Denial of cycle: claiming ‘it just happened’ when in fact, it is an observable, repeating pattern of behavior. Denial of Denial: involving the belief, action, thoughts, words of confidence affirming nothing needs to be changed in one’s own personal behavior, often associated with self-delusion. And finally, D.A.R.V.O. – Deny Abuse, Attack victim for attempting to hold abuser accountable, Reversing Victim with the Offender, taking the mantle of Victim, while in reality, being the Offender.

From noted Psychologist Jennifer Freyd: ‘…I have observed that actual abusers threaten, bully and make a nightmare for anyone who holds them accountable or asks them to change their abusive behavior. This attack, intended to chill and terrify, typically includes threats…covert attacks on credibility, and ridicule.’

Deniers often go on a furious crusade, quickly claiming the mantle of the victim, all the while, continuing to heap more abuse on the real victim.  All of this, from, denial. A complete refusal to acknowledge responsibility, complicity, deception by either omission or commission, smear attacks, gossip, slander, libel, brawling, using a furious offensive in the name of self-righteous, angry defense against accountability for something as simple as objective, verifiable, truth – reality really.

I discovered from harsh, crushing, painful reality, that denial and rejection of truth, no matter how painful, led directly, almost to, self-destruction. In ignoring, stuffing, locking away, compartmentalizing, and denying some painful realities in my life: suicide of 2 brothers, the reality of experiencing violent crime, denying the lies being told about and to me, while denying the worst lies of all: The lies I told myself, that in my worst moments, I believed.

Denial is a straight and direct path to darkness. In denying the very worst about myself, the lies I ignored, heard, told, and believed. I lost the ability to distinguish truth from fiction. I thought the fiction was easier to hold on to. In facing the very worst about myself, thru many years, looking at the reality of myself and acknowledging it – only then, did I discover that accepting the truth, no matter how painful, accepting the rejection, the lies, the deceit, the pain, the hurt, the reality of that pain and depth of hurt, did I begin to realize that it was the path to the light.

Truth is a powerful thing, even more powerful than denial. In my pride and arrogance based on my education, status, intelligence, income and possessions, it finally landed on top of me. It crushed me, and not only that, ground me into powder. As was written many years ago, ‘That grinding is terrible’. It was.  In running from and denying the very things I was trying to escape, I’d made it worse. I’d become and was doing everything anathema to my being. My spirit finally puked up what was so anathema to my very being.

In seeing the ugly truths about myself, what had been done to me and by me. I was able to become what I wanted to be all along: Free and whom I really am. Not an easy thing to do. The power of the experience continues to keep me humble to this day and yet, fills me with a power that is from elsewhere, yet inside. In my ultimate weakness, strength emerged.

It’s true that often those who have suffered have the greatest capacity for empathy, compassion, humility, and most of all, for joy. It’s just as true that just as many of the same who have suffered so much, will choose, in their own denial, and fury, to exact vengeance upon others in a futile attempt to relieve their own suffering and failures.

I still fail daily. But I don’t despair. I may let a stinging bitter hot tear roll down my cheek in shame at my failure. I go to the person I failed and ‘fess up, no matter whom it is. The longer I failed to go to those who had hurt and wronged me, and I in turn, hurt and wronged them, the greater the magnitude of my own self-destruction became. Don’t think your own self-destruction is something that happens only to you. It brings pain, anguish, heartache,  and gut-wrenching shame, fury, anger and denial to those around you as well.

Is there something you’re continuing to deny? mortality? living? responsibility? reality? Gossip? Complicity that hurt others? Telling different stories to different people about something or someone? Carrying the weight of past hidden abuse, tragedy, or current suffering? The only failure left, is failing to get help, ‘fessing up, acknowledging, counseling, and/or restitution. Only by completely owning the truth about our own failures, abuse, pain, suffering and denial can we begin to be humble, healed, and completely free, free of what was told, believed, or dreaded, free of the pain caused by others or ourselves, free to love and, in turn, be loved. Acceptance, truth, all are even more powerful than denial. The power of love and acceptance will break the bonds that we ourselves, or others have forged. Otherwise, instead of breaking to pieces on the truth of ourselves, the truth will grind us to powder – and that grinding is terrible.

“For as one thinks in their heart, so are they”

“Don’t think of yourself more highly than you should, rather, think of yourself soberly”

“If anyone doesn’t provide for his relatives, and especially for those of their own household, they deny providence and are worse than the ignorant.”

Resources on Denial:

Denial: When It Helps; When It Hurts – Mayo Clinic

Denial: Children, Therapy & Adults (a Layman’s overview) – Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders

Effects of Denial on Mood, Compliance, Quality of Functioning After Cardiovascular Rehabilitation – NIH

How Denial Negatively Affects Your Choices and What You Can Do About It – Lifehacker

Stripping Away Denial – Psychology Today

Denial Makes the World Go Round – NYTimes

Why Are People So Often In Denial – Dr. Stephen Juan

Defense Mechanisms

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menbuildingbridges

Just a guy directly challenged to write and share my experiences. This is not easy.

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