Saturday, February 09, 2013

"Denial is inertia with attitude"

"Denial is invigorating - like inertia wih attitude.  It allows you to be defiant while doing nothing at all."  (from a short story by C.J. Gall in the latest issue of The Sun.) 

I was very struck with this quote.  Since I sponsor quite a few folks in 12 step programs, I am very familiar with denial - which seems to be the main problem with all of us.  I especially like the "attitude" part of the quote since we all seem to react with anger and resistance when someone challenges our denial.  Also, our denial seems to be characterized with extreme stubborn resistance to taking any useful action while at the same time exhibiting a lot of emotional energy (the "invigorating" part). 

Denial also makes us seem either crazy or stupid to other people because they can clearly see what our problem is and what we could do about it.  What they hear from us seems like we're not living on the same planet at all. 

For example, if we're living with someone who constantly criticizes us and we're angry about that, but defend the person when someone else points out that we have the option of getting away from that person, we really do seem either crazy or stupid. 

Of course, our denial is protecting us from a truth too painful for us to face.  In that example, maybe we can't bear to see that the person is unlikely to change, and that our problem solving choices are limited to 1.  learning to accept constant criticism without anger or 2.  getting away from the person. 

In every single case, denial just means that the truth is too painful to face.  The 12 Steps break that denial which is why only people who are really desperate to get out of the pain they're in will actually work them.

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