When people go through an uncomfortable or traumatizing experience, they sometimes tend to live in denial in order to avoid dealing with a painful situation.
Whether this is about a toxic relationship, an addiction, the death of a loved one, or another type of issue, sometimes pretending the problem doesn’t exist seems to be the easiest way to cope with it. However, living in denial for too long can be very harmful, and it can have long-term consequences.
What is denial?
Before examining the signs of living in denial, it is important to understand what it means and why this sometimes happens.
Denial is a coping mechanism and it consists in refusing to accept a certain situation that we are not comfortable with. When a traumatic experience is too much for us to handle, we refuse to accept its existence. At one point or another, we’ve all experienced this. It happens unconsciously and it can be beneficial for a short period of time. However, while it might be helpful in the initial stages of experiencing a traumatic event, it is essential to move past it and accept the situation we are dealing with.
Unfortunately, some people refuse to move on past this stage and are constantly ignoring certain negative aspects of their lives instead of accepting their problems and trying to solve them consciously. The problem is that the more you live in a state of denial, the harder it is to move past it.
So, how do you know if you’re living in denial? Check out some of the most common signs:
You avoid talking about your problem
In order to avoid the problem, you naturally avoid thinking or talking about it. Therefore, instead of dealing with the problem head-on, you choose to ignore it.
That happens because the less you talk about something, the easier it is to temporarily forget about the issue and pretend it doesn’t exist. Plus, you might also avoid having a conversation about it because you’re afraid that others will realize that you have a problem and will try to convince you to face it. When living in denial, the last thing you want is for others to become aware of your problem. However, you need the help of your loved ones more than ever, as they can provide you real help in dealing with this issue.
You are stressed all the time
Just because you’re pretending that a problem doesn’t exist doesn’t mean that you’re not subconsciously aware of it. Also, ignoring the problem doesn’t eliminate the stressful thoughts associated with it. In fact, you might even feel more stressed and anxious than you would be if you tried to face your issue.
While feeling stressed from time to time is perfectly normal, feeling like this all the time is definitely a sign that something is wrong. Therefore, try to analyze your thoughts and emotions and attempt to determine the cause of your stress.
You’re blaming others
While it might be difficult to accept this, we are usually the ones responsible for most of the things that happen to us. If you’re constantly blaming others for the situation you are in, you might be afraid to take responsibility for your mistakes without even realizing it. Being defensive and blaming others is a common method of taking the attention away from your own problems, but it is an unhealthy way to deal with any type of issue.
Therefore, if it sounds like something you do on a regular basis, take some time to reflect upon your actions. It’s essential to try to analyze things from an objective perspective and to be honest with yourself. When you don’t take responsibility for your own others, you’re not only fooling others, you’re also fooling yourself.
You’re snapping at others for being concerned
The same way you don’t want to talk about your problems, you don’t want others to bring them to your attention either. Therefore, when someone is trying to help you, your first instinct might be to lash out at them. That happens because you’re trying to pretend that everything is alright and hearing the truth from others is destroying the illusion that things are going well.
When this happens, remember that most of the time your loved ones are trying to help you and their intentions are good. Instead of being angry at them, try to consider their advice and reach out to them for help. You might be afraid to deal with your problems, but having the support of your friends and family often makes things easier.
You’re making excuses
One of the most common signs of living in denial is making excuses for your unhappiness. This is especially common in toxic relationships when one of the partners is constantly finding excuses for the other’s behavior.
Therefore, if your partner is constantly treating you badly and you’re constantly trying to find reasons for tolerating his actions, there is definitely something wrong. People often do this because they are afraid that the pain of going through a breakup is worse than living in an abusive relationship.
The best thing to do is be honest with yourself and admit when things are not going well. Dealing with relationship problems might seem difficult at first, but it is much better than tolerating toxic behavior.
While dealing with your problems might be difficult, living in denial is worse. Remember that the only way to truly improve your life is to face your fears and be honest with yourself.
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