Denial: Why We Lie to Ourselves and How to Stop

Why We Lie to Ourselves and How to Stop

Denial is Potent

Denial affects us and others with more potency and impact than we may think. It’s also something we can acutely see in others, but have a hard time recognizing in ourselves. The psychological definition of denial is: “An unconscious defense mechanism characterized by refusal to acknowledge painful realities, thoughts, or feelings.”  What this boils down to is that we create elaborate rationalizations, justifications and blind spots to ensure we don’t have to face a truth—a truth that’s so painful we would rather lie to ourselves and others to avoid facing this agonizing reality. Yet the real stinger in the nature of denial is the element that it is unconscious. To be in denial requires you to be unconscious of the fact you’re in denial. That’s its power.

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In Denial Then, In Denial Now

All of us can look back and see a time in our life when we were in denial. We could have been used by a friend or let down by a parent. In hindsight, what was not obvious then becomes obvious now. And if we were in denial then, we are also in denial now. What truths have you built a mental fortress of smoke and mirrors around?

Denial Has a Function

Like all our internal mechanisms, denial has function. If someone grows up in an abusive home as a child, denial allows them to cope with something they had no control over and it can protect them from the trauma they weren’t able to process when they were very young. Yet as we grow older and evolve into adulthood, we start to see denial as something that works against us—not for us. And the more we deny something, the greater a thing it becomes. The further we run, the faster it chases us. It’s better for all of us to be more conscious of our unconscious, through our own choosing. That’s better than allowing what we have been avoiding to come crashing down on us when we least expect it.

Seeing What We Don’t See

So how do we learn to see what we don’t see? We aren’t in denial about things that make us feel awesome. But in order to see the truth about what we’d rather ignore, we need courage and honesty. It’s up to us to open ourselves up to what’s really there and we need to be willing to face what gets revealed. If you’re wondering what you’re in denial about, think about what topics make you defensive. If a topic makes you defensive, it means that it has struck a nerve. It causes you to attack outward to avoid looking inward. Defensiveness is an overreaction to something we are in denial about.

Avoidance is another red flag of denial. Some of us may avoid looking at our credit card statements because we are in denial of how much debt we are in. We know that not looking at it won’t make the debt go away—we just want to deal with it another day. We’re trying to avoid the unavoidable.

Trust Feedback

Trust the feedback of someone close to you. They can tell you what you are in denial about. If they have good intentions and care about you, be open to what they have been observing about the way you are.

Deepen the Love for Yourself

Deepen and further the compassion and love you have for yourself. It’s really the most powerful means of becoming more aware of your unconscious. Fear is at the heart of denial. Perhaps you fear not being good enough, your fear failure or your fear not being loved. If you nurture a more intimate care for yourself, your fears will become less powerful and your ability to deny what is unpleasant, yet truthful, will become harder and harder. Self-love gives us permission to have faults and scars, and in the end, you will realize that you had nothing to really fear.

Psychic Archer ext. 6512

4 thoughts on “Denial: Why We Lie to Ourselves and How to Stop

  1. Archer 6512

    Thanks Gina Rose, I agree that fear is the crippler of mankind. Even within the context of readings, whatever problem someone deals with, when you break it down and get to the core of what’s there it will reveal some kind of fear. So much of what we build, aim for, project and protect can be based around these kind of core fears. I know even myself I can look back and see how such and such a choice, in the end was in service to some fear. So being able to occupy a fearless space in the end its critical to any kind of lasting happiness, as well as any genuinely fulfilled relationship. Getting into that fearless space and remaining there is an other question all together, it certainly one of those “easier said that done” type issues. Given it’s impact you think if schools were of any real value you have would a subject called “dealing with fear” from 5 to 15. Lets face it ,what will be more an issues for most people in their life, dealing with fear or knowing the square root of a really big number?

  2. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Loved your article, Archer !

    I agree with you, fear is at the heart of denial. I’ve always said that fear is the biggest ” crippler ” to all of mankind.

    Blessed Be )O(
    Gina Rose ext.9500

  3. Archer 6512

    Hi Dan,
    Sorry to hear your in so much pain. Though its worth remembering most often our judgements about ourselves, the conclusion we draw, aren’t the most accurate. This harsh condemnation is more of issue than issue your in fact condemning yourself for. The fact you’re willing and humble enough to acknowledge some form of denial, in of itself is huge step, as denials power rest not knowing we are in it. We are all doing our best with what we have and what we have been given and that includes yourself. You may not know it but your doing a great job of being Dan, there is nothing you can do better. As you seem to be assuming the issues you have are issue you somehow should be over with or dealt with. Yet if your not, there reason isn’t because yourself or lazy or selfish, it’s because your human and maybe those issues still have some role to play in your life. There is huge cultural pressure that some how at certain point in life your mean to on having your “s**t sorted out” Yet who does? Honestly who are these people I love to meet them. Truth is no one really knows what the hell is going on and often those who claim they do are most deluded. Everyone is walking around in sea of pain, denial and anxiety, hope, love and trust. Being human is messy and complicated business that no one gets right. We learn as we go and I can tell you Dan your goodness is evident by the fact you care how you are and are not. The people who are most destructive are the one who think that have nothing to address, as how they impact other they genuinely don’t give s**t . I read somewhere that the way we talk to our kids is the way we talk to ourselves, as we internalise those messages. Maybe that harshness towards yourself isn’t really you, maybe it’s a voice you made your own but doesn’t belong to you. One of the things I like most about compassion is it loves all of who we are, the ugly, the selfish, the noble and the kind. Your worthy of that kind of love Dan, we are all. Take that weight off you of how you think you should be and see yourself with compassion. Maybe we not meant to be these spiritual people walking in states peace and nirvana .Maybe Dan your right where you are meant to be. The universe doesn’t make mistakes and you don’t get exempt from its loving hand.

  4. Dan

    There is so much denial in my life that it’s just eating me alive. I tend to think “I’ll make the effort to help others solve or cope with theirs and leave mine by the waist side. I try to think of it as an act of selflessness or brotherhood towards those I mean to help. I often think of myself as the problem solver for almost anything. The reality may be that I could possibly do more harm than good, despite my best intentions. That is a classic example of something I’m in denial about. It is so painful, cause I often put a ton of heart into “my life’s work.” Why should it be flawed or dangerous? I figure my mind is mostly a wasteland, so I try to leave it out of the matter. That’s where problems occurr.


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