Has anyone ever told you, “You’re only fooling yourself?” If so, they were informally telling you that you were in denial about a particular event of belief. Denial is an important part of behavioural health issues and addictions. It creates problems for those people who have a drug addiction, alcohol dependence, compulsive eating disorder, or are dependent on others through sex and relationships.
Understanding, recognising and overcoming denial is tough. It is a part of everyone’s psychological makeup that it seamlessly blends into the way we handle our lives and they way we act. As is true with everyone, you have a system of denial that you have developed over years. This is because it is how you protect yourself from the pain or fear of events you are not ready to accept. Ultimately denial is self-deception.
Self-destructive relationships with alcohol, drugs, food or people often cause denial, as your mind is avoiding the painful recognition and truth. If your destructive behaviour has caused you problems you may not see the truth clearly, often deluding yourself into how ‘serious’ your behaviour truly is. You may blame your physical or emotional troubles on other things, if so, you are in denial.
With behavioural health issues and addictions, denial can become more complicated as you can lose your ability to accurately judge simple day to day situations.
The Denial Dilemma
In order to make the positive lifestyle changes required for recovery, you will need to recognise and work through the system of denial you have built up to protect your behaviour or addictions. As your behaviour is deeply entrenched in your daily life you will have developed a strong group of defences that surrounds and protects your behaviour or addiction.
You may wish to cling to your denial because you don’t want to brand yourself, or have others brand you. In addition, such a loss of denial would make it necessary for you to give up your intimate relationship with drugs, alcohol, food or relationships.
That is why denial, and the defences that support denial, are so important to your behaviour or addiction. It also explains why it is necessary for you to work through your denial and recognise the harm your behaviour or addiction has caused you and the people you love.
Life Works Community
Life Works is a behavioural health and addictions treatment clinic, who specialise in treating alcohol addiction, drug addiction, eating disorders, sex addiction, gambling addiction and co-dependency. If you believe you or a loved one are being led by destructive behaviour, please get in touch. Our highly experienced and trained counsellors can help you or your loved one break through the bonds of denial, allowing you to start addressing why the destructive behaviour is occurring and enter a healthy recovery.