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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Some Thoughts on Denial

Denial is such a powerful and subtly destructive coping skill that is often further exploited by the genuine hope that whatever I'm denying isn't true.  In the earlier years of my marriage, it was clear that my spouse viewed graphic online material that was a betrayal to the intimacy I thought we shared.  Even when hard evidence was before me, I confronted him one time and let it go forever.  When I suspected there was more, logically I knew the excuses he told me were untrue, but I mentally forced myself to believe the lies - it was what I was supposed to do, right?  I should be able to trust my own husband.

One of the things I continue to question and need to learn from my past is why I allowed the 'junk' to happen and continue for so long.  Why did I not throw an absolute fit when I was belittled, insulted and demeaned?  Why did I believe the excuses that didn't quite add up to my questions?  What could I have done to stop the cycle of bad choices much earlier and perhaps changed the course of our relationship?

So far, I've come to two overarching themes:
  1. Faith and family
  2. I felt powerless to change
  3. Denial
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In the short term, denial can help one get through a time where there is no 'extra' energy to deal with a situation.  But over the course of a relationship, living in denial forces the issues underground where they are never able to be dealt with in a healthy manner.  The very coping skill I used to get me though the day may have been what kept us from getting the help we needed in time to save our marriage.  That is one of my great regrets.

Tomorrow, I'll share how my faith and family kept me from confronting the reality of my relationship and later how I learned I was not as powerless as I felt. Till then tell me, have you ever fallen into denial?  Did it help or hinder your growth?

Thank you for the linkup at Since My Divorce.