This saying is not a joke! Denial kills. I learned about denial when I was first in recovery. I didn't have a lot of denial - I knew I had a bad problem (I wasn't sure what it was), I knew I needed help and I was ready to accept it. Since then, I've recovered enough to work with others who are newer in recovery than I am. Everyone has denial. Some of us have a worse case of it than others. Melody Beattie talks about how breaking denial is like yanking a warm blanket off somebody in a cold room. They just yank it back and cover up again. You have to make the room warm first.
I'm not very good at making the room warm. I'm a blanket yanker. As one of the people I work with says, "Boy, you really just cut to the chase." As I was cleaning out a bookcase earlier today, I found a book for professional counselors on managing denial so I'm reading it so I can be a better "room warmer." I'm working with a couple of people now who switch into denial really quickly in a couple of areas of their lives. Because of the denial, their whole lives are affected negatively and they are in a lot of pain. But they don't think it's denial; they think it's their circumstances that are creating the problems.
The author of the book says that denial is just a coping mechanism that has developed to protect us from emotional pain. It keeps us from recognizing that there's a problem, that it's a very serious problem that resides within ourselves, and that we have the responsibility for solving. I've noticed that I and the people I work with usually go to blaming other people, bad luck, etc. for their problems. They change the subject a lot. They get mad and yell. They attack me (verbally). I worked with one person whose cell phone died when she was talking to me as soon as she went into denial. Weird.
I'm hoping I will find some answers for "warming up the room" for myself and others who are plagued with denial and whose lives are being sabotaged by it.
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