People hear the word denial and they immediately assume that we are talking about addicts. Denial is rearing its ugly head in a lot of other situations: Divorce, Sexual Abuse, codependency, domestic violence, food addiction and gambling addiction just to name a few.
Ask yourself these questions: Are you letting the past prevent you from moving forward? Am I afraid to change? What are my fears for the future? Most everyone carries some baggage in their life as they are moving forward. For some it might be a lunch box or a little bag, but a lot of us have baggage that would fit in a railroad car. Imagine this for a moment. What container would you need to put the hurts and trials away? If it is a backpack, you may struggle a little going forward but you can move. If it is something like a trunk you must carry around, you aren’t going to be able to move far. If it is a shipping container that you are chained to, you can’t move forward at all.
There is a complication that goes with this baggage. Denial! I have met people who will look me dead in the eye and tell me that they have no baggage. Yet, I can see the cargo container they are trying to drag around. Denial keeps us locked to our baggage and secrets. Most secrets cause more harm than good.
Denial is a system of false beliefs that are not based in reality. As we grew up, we learned coping skills that helped us deal with pain. The problem happens as we grow up. If we are still using the coping skills we clung to as a child, our perceptions of ourselves can become clouded and distorted.
Denial can appear many ways and is often the elephant in the room that everyone pretends is not there. It can sound like:
It really didn’t hurt that bad and he apologized. If you weren’t on my case constantly I wouldn’t… If we pretend it didn’t happen, it will go away. Becky has been married three times, I have only been married once. I eat because you make me angry. These are just a few that can appear outside addictive behaviors such as alcohol and drugs. It is denial. The wounds you carry won’t heal by pretending they didn’t happen. They just won’t. They may be pushed way down, but they will raise their heads now and then. Usually at the worst possible times.
A major symptom of denial is anxiety. Anxiety can cause a waste of energy and paralyze us. You must let them go. Seek your higher power, a counselor or someone who is ahead of you on the journey back into peace and happiness.
I am a life coach and can help. However, situations such as child abuse, sexual assault and depression require a mental health counselor to help pull up those beliefs and find out what is holding you back.