What is Denial ACTUALLY and How To Navigate Through It?
Denial is the refusal to accept a past or present reality and is employed to protect us from a number of things: our own negative traits, repeated memories of the negative actions of other people and guilt for our past actions, thoughts or feelings. It is a self-defence mechanism aimed at defending our emotional and psychological wellbeing.
The dark side of denial is that it locks us into a state of refusing to accept responsibility for major areas of our life. When it comes to substance use, denial is the major operating mechanism which perpetuates the cycle of abuse and addiction. We can find out if we are in denial by asking ourselves questions such as: What is the state of my marriage, love life and other relationships in my life? Am I social or do I isolate?
- Do I need substances to socialise?
- Am I sleeping far too much or far too little?
- How do I feel when I wake up?
These are just a few of the questions which enable us to look in the mirror and identify whether we are in denial or not. However, they are difficult questions to answer and we may need help doing so.