One of my major hurdles, was to let go of was denial.
Denial was a place I lived for 46 years...and, for the past 10 awake.
It has been hard for me to explain how I choose denial over reality or how I could use denial to block reality.
Denial is very powerful.
And once you 'wake up' you can't find the physical evidence of denial anywhere, there is no trace...except that the life you thought was there, was so far off the mark.
Denial is a place in the mind where we go and truth cannot follow...it is the alternative to reality.
I had to look up the word, "Denial" and I found this.
Denial consists of the refusal to accept a past or present reality and is most commonly employed to protect the host from their own negative traits; to protect them from the repeated memories of the negative actions of another or to avoid recognizing their own guilt from past actions, thoughts or feelings.
It is a self-defense mechanism employed by aspects of the subconscious mind in an attempt to protect emotional and psychological wellbeing.
Denial can be a scary and very sad thing to witness in someone that you love or care about; it is generally very difficult to help someone see the truth and especially for them to truly believe and accept that reality on a long term basis.
People deny responsibility every day for a number of things; but denial itself goes deeper into the psyche than that. While people in denial generally still have the seed of truth still buried within their heads, they generally cannot believe that it is the truth even when confronted with it. This is due to the mind in effect rewiring or superimposing a more acceptable reality over the original memory.
Even with abject proof of an events occurrence, someone in denial is highly unlikely to fully accept the particular reality that their mind has decided they cannot cope with. They are more likely in that instance to use projection or minimization or to continue to revery back to being in full blown denial.
What I had not considered, even though I have been staring at it...is that it is an act of defense. AND, it is used to protect the "host" (self ) from their own negative traits.
What is so hard for my mind to wrap around is that this is all done subconsciously and unknown from the person in denial. It is like we found an alternative universe to live on...and we see people as we want to see them, not as they are.
The other thing that popped out at me, was the ability to stay with the truth LONG TERM.
This to me is crucial. For it does sometimes appear that folks are hearing the truth and agreeing with it, and yet their actions never change. It is like they looked at the truth and then decided to not be affected by it...but to resume their usual activity.
I recall some family members stating that my father's truth would not change their worlds...that they are not going to let it "ruin" their lives...and returned to life as if nothing happened.
To me...this is denial.
How is it possible to have children who were abused and you continue on as if nothing changed?
The only explanation is, they are defending their own selves from their own negative traits. It has nothing to do with my father, his actions OR their children.
What I now believe, is that my break down out of denial came when I was willing and able to look at my negative traits...and be open to being with memories. Albeit, they were few.
Denial is used to protect your emotional and psychological well being.
However, living in denial Is not being well. In the end, it allowed my father to continue to abuse...while so many of us denied abuse's existence.
It may have been a sheer drop from my lofty cloud of denial into reality...into knowing abuse was everywhere. But, it was only then, that I was able to distance myself from dysfunction.
Being in denial, while it keeps the trauma at bay....also keeps us in its midst.
All it really does is wrap us in a shroud of pretend. We are in reality, with dysfunctional people we just don't know it.
Scary to see someone in denial and even scarier knowing I lived there for 46 years.
It is to be in reality with glasses that can't see.
At least can't see anything that would stir up my trauma.
So, while I wore the denial glasses...I didn't see abuse.
It was there, and I was in relationships with those who abused and with those who knew and did nothing. I was part of the problem when I lived in denial.
This indeed is a mental illness. Where the mind can't stay in reality.