Friday, December 21, 2012
at 9:59 AM
Denial is something that we all witness on a regular basis. It's when a person doesn't want to accept or cannot accept the truth, and hence they push it away. They either deny what is obvious to others, or they refuse to talk about, or they discount anything said to them is logical.
Denial is a mechanism that can be used by our own body to preserve our sanity, or it can bring us to the brink of insanity.
Denial can happen in two ways: subconscious or conscious denial.
When children kill, I have seen parents go into a subconscious denial. It's quite common and its a coping mechanism for survival. The idea that one's own flesh and blood has killed someone is simply too much for the brain to cope with, and hence the body literally rejects the idea at every turn. It's understandable. It would not be easy for a parent to rationalized that they produced a killer in physical form, if no other.
Other parents of homicidal children display indications that they are living in plain old conscious denial. They know the truth, but don't want to accept or talk about it. That's the difference. In subconscious denial, they have no idea they are in denial whereas conscious denial they do, but reject the concepts with knowledge of their inconsistency.
Some of you have asked me, how do I know if I am in denial? This is an excellent question.
When people disagree with you, and you refuse to consider their point of view--this is the simplest form of denial that can lead to a growing problem. If you get defensive when someone doesn't agree with you, and you can't listen to an opposing opinion--take note! A good sign of this is you get into heated discussions with people about your topic and can't find people who agree with you.
To ensure you are not in denial, you need to not only be able to calmly listen to other people's opinion and be able to take them into fair consideration, but you must be able to rationalize your thoughts to most people and have a sense that you are understood by others. It's when we can't agree with others and we are isolated in our opinion that denial becomes a distinct possibility.
So how do you know you are truly understood? I would look for true interactive discussions. If people are sharing back supportive ideas with you, and elaborating on your thought process with their own independent ideas, you have a good idea that your thought process is not just your own, but congruent with other people.
It's when people don't elaborate or get into discussions with you, but simply politely smile back at you and nod their head, without having a discussion that you should take note. It could be simply because they don't want to have a discussion, or it would be that they think your thinking is off and that you are not seeing something clearly.
So, how do you find the answer to this question? You simply engage more people! If a handful of people refuse to engage in a conversation with you--people who you know normally would, it's a red flag. Or if a handful of people disagree with you and cannot see your perspective -- you need to do some self-assessing. You could be in denial.
People who are in conscious denial will slowly isolate themselves away from the people who disagree with them, and they will protect their denial by isolation and removal. They will then try to seek out people who agree with them and try to hang out with those people--rejecting the others. Or they will fight frantically to keep their beliefs powerful. They may rage at simple and normal discussions because they feel they are being threatened in their belief system.
A person who is an independent thinker and who is not in denial will be able to engage in discussions, share ideas, ponder different points of view, and will feel confident about their opinions without any negative feelings.