Denial does not make it vanish

Denial does not make it vanish. The notion of denial is something that a bondhu pointed out to me recently. At a very personal level, I was told that my refusing to see the reality of some things around me does not mean that those things do not exist. As you ponder on this, you realize that sometimes you deny because you do not want to accept the truth you are seeing. It seems too painful to admit, and there is the false hope that denying what is staring at you will somehow make it go away. Look around you right now, if you are surrounded by people - friends and family - do you not see those subtle signs that tell you that you the truth but you are denying to yourself that your husband is sleeping with your friend, or your child is sobbing because of the abuse she faces in school. These signs surround us, a stolen glance that you want to overlook, that constant sob that you want to wish away, or that opportunity you let go that you now regret. For many, denial often occurs at the moment when you confront your worst fears. You know your wife is sleeping with your best friend or you know that your child is being abused in school, or you know that the credit card debt you are carrying over from month to month are all formidable. They are real. They are vital, but they are all terrifying. Knowing that your husband did not go on a business trip but was away with someone else on a small vacation is so frightening that it is impossible to accept it. Just as knowing that your child was being continuously abused by other children seems to be horrifying, or realizing that the spending habits are so out of control that there is nothing more to be done. In those moments, the fatalism of denial appears to be the only way out. To say to oneself that this is not happening, or simply is impossible, but then seeing the location turned off on your spouse’s phone, or the silent child sobbing himself to sleep, or the late fees on the credit card statements seem to bring that reality crashing back. And then you start to live on your knees. Your denial is your defeat. To believe that you made the correct choices – from a boy friend you choose to the car you purchased – and then realize that indeed those choices were not the best, leaves us with few options. Either you deny to yourself that poor choices or decisions were made. Or. You make the personally liberating decision to be willing to die on your feet, and go beyond the denial, and confront the truth that you know is there, and needs to be addressed. The reality will not vanish by you living on your knees. But a new reality can be created when you stand on your feet, and fight your own denial. When you confront that what you really feel, and you have been denying because there are things around you that forbid what you really feel, and denying and suppressing that feeling seems to be the only defeatist and fatalistic position available. We are conditioned to deny. And it is up to us to finally say that I will confront the truths – and do something – I will ask my husband where he went, I will go to my child’s school and see for myself what my child sobs about, and I will cancel the credit cards and live a life where I no longer have to deny – because I have regained control. Just as Stevie Ray Vaughn said, "Yeah the wall of denial, must tumble down/Down to the ground"


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