Denial is a powerful concept. And our brains are extremely good at using it.  In one sense, it’s necessary for us to deny certain events, traumas, and even facts; denial protects us from “overload” and prevents us from becoming paralyzed by emotional stimuli.  Just as we can’t learn everything at once, so also we can’t emotionally and spiritually accept and understand everything at once.  In this sense, denial allows us time to come to terms with a rotten test score, lost job, divorce, death of a loved one, or other traumatic event.  However, when we become “stuck” in denial, it arrests our emotional growth and creates shame, drama and co-dependency within ourselves and in our relationships with others.  The most important thing is to recognize and become conscious of our own denial.



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Shame, Addiction, Faulty Core Beliefs & Denial

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Denial Strategies

Helpless / Hopeless
Takes no responsibility, says things like “it’s not my fault,” and blames everyone else. Helpless / hopeless is the “I can’t,” or “all is lost” attitude. In reality, this denial strategy is simply “I won’t.”

Creating an illusion (telling myself a particular storyline), to lessen or make less significant the reality of the outcome or situation.

Giving myself permission to contrast or shift attention from myself to something else or someone else, giving license or concession to what I want to believe, or do, or feel, etc., in order to condone my behavior.

Attempting to control, deceive, falsify, dominate or exploit others by creating a perception that is uniquely what I want.

Uniqueness / Different
Feels entitled to do things that others aren’t allowed or supposed to do. I believe I am more special than others, that the rules don’t apply to me, and I expect exceptions to be made for me. This denial strategy includes power tactics: “I can do this because I’m different than you.”

Giving myself “evidence” in order to give myself permission to do what I want. Justifying makes it “okay.”

Consciously or unconsciously leaving out pieces of the storyline (whether a lot or a little) in order to manipulate or deceive the listener into believing a different story.

An absence of being responsible for myself, and instead giving the responsibility to others. Includes giving myself permission to make situations someone else’s fault, and telling myself stories to help me believe it.

Giving the appearance of being willing to do what is expected of me, without sincerely agreeing or committing with-in myself. I lie to those around me, saying that I am going to change, but I never do. I repeatedly recommit, but go through similar motions of lip service without behavioral change or sincere-heart commitment. This is a cycle that I engage in so that I never have to face the reality of my situation or be responsible for myself.

Presenting a reason or position to myself or others that allows me to accept unacceptable or inappropriate behavior. This includes giving permission to any type of thought, feeling, or behavior because I want a particular outcome.

Creating or placing stories I tell myself into separate partitions or compartments, so that they are partitioned off from each other. I endeavor to believe that one act, behavior, feeling, etc. doesn’t affect the others.

Creating Distractions
Attempting to ignore responses by doing anything that will distract or shift attention away from me. This includes (but is not limited to) changing the subject, joking around, using anger to scare or threaten others, using shocking language or telling shocking stories, etc.

Behaving or believing as though I am intellectually superior to others, in order to avoid feeling responsible or uncomfortable. Using my intelligence to distract myself and/ or others, and getting them lost in irrelevant questions or baseless details.

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