Photo by Greta Schölderle Møller on Unsplash
Most everyone has used denial as a way of coping with a traumatic event or distressing information. Denial can be a good thing at times when it protects us from facing unbearable or shocking news. However, some people spend much of their time in denial and avoid confronting their problems and pain. For example, some deny illness, addictions, abuse, financial problems, and/or relationship conflicts. Often people in denial won’t acknowledge their issues, avoid accepting the facts of the problem, and minimize the impact and consequences on their lives. For many, confronting their pain makes them feel vulnerable or threatens their sense of control.
Most problems don’t go away with time; they need to be confronted and resolved. We need to examine our fears and conflicts and consider the consequences of inaction. Next we need to identify, experience, and express our emotional pain along with identifying any irrational or destructive beliefs that contribute to our problems. Another strategy is to journal our conflicts and decide which ones we have control over and those that are out of our control. We should problem-solve the control items and work on letting go of the no control issues. It also helps to open up and share with others, maybe through a support group or in counseling. Acknowledging our conflicts can help us move closer to healing our emotional pain. Conflicts that remain in our head will never be resolved; it needs to reach our lips. And remember we have to go through it to get through it.
Many people rely on unhealthy mechanisms to bolster their efforts of denial, such as alcohol or drug use. Others assume a pollyanna approach to conflict and pain without directly addressing the issues. The best tact is to avoid minimizing or magnifying the problems, but instead take a constructive and rational approach to conflict. Be patient with yourself and focus your energy on generating a plan rather than denying the problems. We can experience hope and a sense of empowerment when we formulate a plan and take action. Trust in your ability to deal with pain and rely on your support network and faith to bolster your strength.