It’s said that the power of love and hate can overcome anything… but I believe that denial is even stronger.
What makes denial so powerful is that it works with its “accomplices” – avoidance, diminishing, and blame. It therefore is one of the hardest habits to break. How can a person work on something that they feel they are not responsible for or didn’t do?
Denial leaves no room for self-awareness, and no room for growth or freedom, but it sure as hell makes life much easier, or so it seems! Denial, after all, is the sister of ignorance, and ignorance is supposedly bliss.
One would assume that it’s easier to avoid responsibility and look the other way. I’ve been in denial many times. And I always ended up paying the price for it. Consequences are what finally got me out and away from the blame game. As long as there are no severe consequences, as long as there are enablers, there will be denial.
I remember having a conversation with my father twenty years ago. He was telling false stories, and I corrected him. He totally flipped out, and yelled at me that I’m a liar. This is the first time that I truly started to grasp denial. He didn’t defend, he actually believed what he was saying!
I have observed this behavior time and time again, and it still leaves me speechless. As a manager, I would present an employee with black and white results, and he or she would look straight at them, claiming that they didn’t do it, or that it wasn’t their fault. I remember reprimanding an employee once for constant personal phone calls. She looked straight at me and told me that she was never on the phone during work hours. I sat right next to her!
Or I would call someone I considered a friend on their bad attitude, and they’d turn around and attack me. And then there’s the downplaying of a situation… i.e.m “I wasn’t really cheating on you, we were just hanging out.”
Life seems so much easier when one removes all responsibility, accountability and truth, and when one can point the finger at someone else, claiming that “it” wasn’t a big deal, that they didn’t do it, or attacking the one who called them on their actions. But is it really the better place to be? Would I rather be able to live in total denial? What would my life look like?
What are we without our integrity and strong character? What are we if we can neither receive, nor give truth? How sad would my life be if I had to continuously muster up all my energy to keep my eyes firmly shut and avoid being discovered for the fraud that I truly am?
When I lived in firm denial, there was no bliss. Instead, there was disappointment, tears, anger, sadness and isolation. As long as I couldn’t be real with myself, I couldn’t attract others who were real either; which left me pretty lonely and miserable. The more I’d deny and blame, the more I’d sink into unrealistic expectations and victimhood; which in return would leave me more and more disappointed. With each disappointment, I’d point the finger again for being rejected and deceived. After all, denial fuels one of the most dangerous parts of the ego, the victim and martyr.
There was no happiness in those modes for me. There was no satisfaction and definitely no light at the end of the tunnel. Life would vary from being miserable and sad to being mediocre and bearable. There was not a whole lot of joy and no freedom at all! The few moments of “fun” were pseudo moments of happiness that wouldn’t last, but at least gave me the illusion that I was OK.
I now know that I am not the outsider I thought I was. It turns out that there are quite a few people who get me perfectly well. Maybe it’s easier to understand me when I don’t wear a mask, act from fear or suspicion, or from a place of having way too many expectations? I’m complicated and multi-faceted, but that doesn’t make me unreasonable or impossible to get along with. I’m more open and vulnerable than I’ve ever been. I guess that makes me more approachable and shows my true character. Evidently, this “new” me draws in a lot more people. Not living in denial any longer has given me the true, keen insight needed to stay clear of those who could exploit or damage this newfound open heart.
It’s a bit wobbly out there, but these days it’s actually much more fun, less energy consuming and leaves me with feelings of true bliss.
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9 thoughts on “The Power of Denial”
I think what makes denial so powerful is that we need denial to control the way we think and act, without denial all the things we deny, which we block out simultaneously each day, would constantly bombard us. You do not know you do it because denial is such a powerful thing and rooted so deeply in our subconscious.
I am glad this was read for what it was truly meant to be, an inspiration, not putting people down or being judgmental.
I have learned that life is short and I have to make the best out of it. It was and still is my hardest lesson to learn: Don’t point fingers and always look at yourself first, asking the question “what was my role in this and what is the lesson I am supposed to learn here.”
I learned over 10 years ago “All that we truly have in life is our word and our integrity. Without either, we are nothing.”
Wow! What a powerful article. It rings with truth. You truly have a beautiful energy and an advanced attutidue
about life. You are so right when you say “What are we without our integrity and strong character?”. This article is a great reminder that we do not have to hide behind a mask of denial. Bring on the bliss!
Thank you for the reminder,
Loved your article!!!! I just love your honesty. Being real, honest and living with a sense of vulnerability IS empowering. Thanks for reminding me of the way I want to continue to live my life (not in denial), you are a true inspiration, Carmen!!
Yep, this is why I like it when the “usual suspects” respond. All of you get me.
I can relate, Gina Rose. My mother died when I was 19 and she was severely damaged goods. But my mother-in-law…WOW! This one is a whole new blog worth. I have rarely seen anyone as deeply in denial, as toxic, manipulative and miserable as this woman.
Watching people like her, as well as the women in my family, who have their heads so far up their butts that they can probably see through their mouths again, made me work super hard to not become like them. But I am still so amazed when someone who has been caught in plain sight will still insist on being innocent.
Nothing scares me more than denial, because most don’t recover from it.
Cheers, Girls 😀 A big hurray for not being one of them!
Thank you, Carmen. Another Encore here. Brilliant as you are…
Will not say much, but all I have to say today, in regards to your article is, “THE TRUTH SHALL SET US ALL FREE.”
You did it again, Carmen! GREAT post! Your father sounds just like my ex-husband. He was in total denial our entire marrige, which made it impossible to work anything out. He admitted to nothing! I wrote about this just recently also.
After my divorce I went through an even rough time in my life than I had ever imagined. It wasn’t until I took responsibility for my choices.. esp. the one of allowing men to treat me the way they have… that I was finally able to have real self awareness, growth and freedom from the past. Opening the doors wide open to my future!
I too felt like an outsider, trying for years to ‘fit in’. I know now that until I was ‘open and honest’ with myself (self awareness) that I didn’t know or accept… most accept, who I was. That needed to come first. Then I started attracting the people in my life that did ‘get me’ and I cared less and less about what the ones who didn’t ‘get me’ thought. Hugh ‘growth’ and ‘freedome’ for me!
Funny how we connect and understand each other so well, Carmen!! 🙂 I certainly feel like someone ‘gets me’ wheneer I read your work! Thank you!
Blessings & Many Hugs,
Coreen @ VOS
You can’t see me now…..but I’m giving you a standing ovation…..!!!! WELL DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is , to date, the BEST article you have posted and made my top 5 favorite.
My Great Aunt and GrandParents raised me from 17 months old ( thank goodness)……but I do have a relationship, of sorts, with my biological mother. I say ” of sorts ” because she lives and breathes DENIAL!!!!!!!
My mother had 3 kids taken away from her , ten years apart, by the courts which proved her to be an unfit parent in all 3 cases. Now I’m the oldest, but my brother Sean is ten years my junior, and my youngest brother Peter is 19 years my junior…..I was old enough to see and hear what happened with my two younger brothers and the courts were right to remove them from her ” care ” and custody and place them into better homes.
But to hear my mother tell the story…it was everybody elses’s fault….not her fault at all…….( everybody was against her you see). And she really has lied so much, her entire life……she believes her own lies.
I love her….but at a distance, and severely limit my time around her because she is so toxic.
My brothers have nothing to do with her now at all, and vow that they never will , as she used to go out of her way to push their buttons and try to convince them of her lies as well. My brothers really consider me more as their mother.
When I managed a company later on in life……I saw and heard the same thing you did……” they didn’t do it”……it never happened. Or…… ” somebody else was at fault “……or ” they didn’t know not to do it “.
Now, I had very good employees overall I must say……good people who worked hard and cared about their quality of work….but every now & then I would get one who either thought I was stupid or blind or both.
I was taught by my GreatAunt & GrandParents to admit my mistakes,take the heat, and learn from it…… and my word is my bond.
We are all down here to grow and learn, we learn by making mistakes and we all make mistakes….but we will not learn from our mistakes by living in denial.
FANTASTIC article Carmen !!!!!!!!
Blessed Be )O(
Gina Rose ext.9500