denial, Dr. Tracy Kemble

I don’t know about you, but along my journey called “life” there has been a time or two that I have chosen to pretend that the big black elephant sitting across the table from me was really not there. Nor was it stealing my money from me. Or cheating on me. Or robbing my joy from me. Or draining my power from me. Or…oh, you know what I mean. For many years, I had a habit, or perhaps I need to say a survival technique, that whenever a big or painful problem would plop itself on top of me, I would sit under its weight and pretend that “it” was not really there. In truth, I was really just hoping it would go away. But for the sake of my survival, and due to my lack of tools, it was easier to put on a perfect smile and pretend “it” was not happening.

Of course during those years I had people from Normal Land look at me, and some so brazen as to tell me, “What are you STUPID??!!”  But there is one thing I have learned about denial. Denial has nothing to do with stupidity. Rather, denial has to do with survival. In fact, denial is a tool we use to get through situations when we do not possess healthier tools to do so otherwise.

Typically, we live in denial over people we love or situations we’ve placed on pedestals and upon which we’ve built our entire belief systems, financial securities, insecurities, hopes or reputations. To walk out of our denial and face the truth means facing things we do not want to face—our fears, our pain, our abandonment, our anger, our weaknesses, not to mention others who have either built their lives on our denial or are just waiting for us to fail. Quite truthfully, who would want to slip out of denial?  Facing the things we have to face is like walking into tidal waves with inner tubes around our waists!  Certainly we are not stupid. We know if we go “there,” it might kill us. So, to survive, we instead sit in denial, hoping it will just go away.