Monday, September 05, 2011

Denial is not a river in Egypt

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.

No comments:

Blog Archive