Saturday, October 31, 2009

Denial-The path of least resistance.

I am chairing a meeting tomorrow and I am hoping to get insight from others on the topic of denial. I have had a lot of experience with denial and have realized that it can be useful at times and also lethal at times.

My first experience with denial was when I was a child. It was second hand through my father. When I was nine my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and my father refused to accept a fatal diagnosis and as a family we couldn’t talk about the possibility of cancer taking her life. At my age I believed that if my father said she would live, she would live. For 2 ½ years we spent our free time between the hospital and faith healing services. When my mother died I was in shock and so was my father. I realize now, as an adult, he was coping with the loss of the love of his life and he could not accept this reality. The denial protected him but ultimately we all suffered the loss.

The story above shaped the way I have used denial in my own life. If we could have faced the possibility of losing my mother before she died we could have been there together for support. But instead we all went along as though nothing was happening. After she died, my father pulled away from us and kept as busy as possible. We never talked about my mom and for many years it was as if she never existed.

My father has since passed and I don’t blame him for my problems now I just realized that this denial issue goes way back for me. I have time and time again denied my feelings and obvious problems in my life until something awful happens and then I feel like a victim.

I want to stay in touch with my feelings and the reality of my life good or bad. Staying so busy that I don’t have to think has ultimately let me ignore my feelings and avoid facing reality.

Relating the way I have used denial and how it was part of my childhood helps me to understand why it comes so naturally to me. I am looking forward to the meeting tomorrow.

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