Denial may be the biggest way we lie to ourselves. While it can help, we often do more harm than good. It can also be looked at as a form of “avoidance”, which is another psychological term that indicates a person is doing all they can to not deal with a given situation.
How to Recognize and Address Denial
Pay Attention to Recurring Negative Themes
Recurring negative themes are good red flags for denial. Chances are that we are either creating an environment that is conducive to the negative outcome we don’t want or fooling ourselves into thinking that we have control over a situation that we really are helpless to affect. If you see a recurring theme, know that you’re probably denying the truth.
Don’t Blame Groups of People
(Women are trash)
If you find yourself saying things like “all [insert adjective here] people are no good/trash,” then you’re probably denying your role in a situation. It’s highly unlikely that everyone else in the world is colluding against you so you’re probably doing something to contribute to the negative outcome you’re whining about.
Take note whenever you use (e.g. ‘always’, ‘never’, ‘every’, ‘nobody’, etc.) to describe what you think is the cause of your dilemma because it’s probably those occasions that you need to take a long look at YOUR behaviors… after all, the one common thread in all of your so-called problems is YOU.
Consult Different Thinkers
Having someone who challenges your opinions and assumptions can do wonders for learning what questions you have to ask yourself about a given situation because they are probably going to question why you feel the way you do. In other words, if you’re a liberal-leaning person then it may be a good idea to keep your conservative friend on speed dial. I would like to think I am that friend tbh.
Remember that denial is normal and we all engage in it. If we keep finding ourselves in the same negative situation and clueless as to why then we are probably in denial about something. Look for the red flags and question your assumptions and hopefully, you’ll break a negative cycle. Thus, denial doesn’t always mean we don’t see there’s a problem. We might rationalize, excuse, or minimize its significance or effect upon us.
Other types of denial are forgetting, outright lying, or contradicting the facts due to self-deception. Deeper still, we may repress things that are too painful to remember or think about
You might be wondering how to tell if you’re in denial. There are actually signs. Do you:
- Think about how you wish things would be in your relationship?
- Wonder, “If only, he (or she) would. .?”
- Doubt or dismiss your feelings?
- Believe repeated broken assurances?
- Conceal embarrassing aspects of your relationship?
- Hoping it will change someone else?
- Spend years waiting for your relationship to improve or someone to change?