Denial is defined by Merriam-Webster as refusal to admit the truth or reality of something. Sigmund Freud, way back in the 19th century postulated that denial is unconsciously choosing to push back on factual truths because to admit them would be too psychologically uncomfortable and require facing the unbearable.
Many people live in a state of denial and don’t even realize it. They also don’t realize how dangerous it can truly be.
Almost all of us have had experiences so uncomfortable or traumatizing that we do everything in our power to push the memories or feelings aside. Or maybe there is an everyday reality we live with that feels too impossible to cope with, so we pretend it doesn’t exist, and that dealing with it is not our responsibility.
That is denial.
The state of denial usually feels much more comfortable than confronting difficult feelings or circumstances. But anyone in the mental health field will tell you that living in denial for too long will only backfire.
Denial may feel easier, but it actually only intensifies whatever challenging feelings you are dealing with, making them more difficult to move on from.
What are some features of denial?
- turning a blind eye
- shifting responsibility
What are some ways to combat denial & learn better ways of coping and dealing with uncomfortable feelings, issues, and situations.
- Honestly examine what you fear.
- Think about the potential negative consequences of not taking action.
- Allow yourself to express your fears and emotions.
- Try to identify irrational beliefs about your situation.
- Journal about your experience.
- Open up to a trusted friend or loved one.