The power of denial is so prevalent that I am sure there will be comments denying it is even a problem. We put on blinders to hide us from unpleasant realities so that we don’t have to face them. Some of us are more habitual than others.
Denial is a defense mechanism that gets confused with coping.
Denial is a defense mechanism that gets confused with coping. There is a difference between coping and denial. When we are coping through any given situation, we are recognizing the problem and attempting to rectify it. With denial, we just pretend it doesn’t exist and it blossoms into a cancer. This is where marriages falter, children stray into trouble, careers fail, and addictions destroy. It’s painful to open our eyes—even excruciating. So the alternative those in denial often choose is to keep their eyes closed, and the results are always destructive.
I have had my own battles with denial many times. It wasn’t until I lifted my head up and accepted reality for what it was that I was able to grow as a man, husband, and father. Let’s take a look at how the power of denial affects us and how we can rise above it.
Almost everyone has at least one addiction and most have several. It could be something as innocuous as coffee or dangerous as drugs and/or alcohol. It could be an emotional addiction or a physical addiction concerning our body and/or appearance. Addictions are everywhere. We mask these addictions in a thick blanket of denial. The trouble with addictions is that they prevent us from achieving our true purposes. They chain us down when we are meant to fly free. Make a brutally honest assessment of the things you may be addicted to and then begin the process of healing.
The husband who refuses to see how his selfish behavior torments his wife. The wife who can’t fathom that her constant meddling and criticism has beaten down her husband’s confidence and pride. Denial in marriage is a wrecking ball running wild. The solution is effective communication followed by sincere actions to reverse the damage. Successful marriages are built upon two people working in tandem to create a smooth running union.
This is a painful area to acknowledge for a parent and it’s why denial is used to cover-up issues. Your son is in danger of failing his grade in school. Your daughter reeks of smoke when she comes in later than curfew. Major issues are in play, and we, as parents, must open our eyes wide and get to the root of them. That’s hard to do because we still see them as little innocent children with big smiles and loving hearts. However, allowing ourselves to be blinded by that only serves to hurt their present—and their future. This is the dirty work of parenting. Put your safety glasses on and get to work.
The family needs money to function and survive so that much gets overlooked and excused when it comes to careers. There is a fine line though when it comes to the overall health of the family. When greed or personal achievement override the needs of the family, a natural progression of erosion is going to ensue. The family is going to drift apart and seek other sources to replace what has been lost. Though they may “understand”, it’s not okay that we never make his football game or see her perform in that play. There is no denying our presence is required.
Sound Off: What things are you in denial about, and how might they be affecting the life of your family?
Huddle up with a trusted friend and ask them to tell you where you are in denial.