Refusing To Accept Reality
You might know the old joke, “Denial is not just a river in Egypt”. A clever pun. But denial really can be a huge issue. To deny the existence of a problem only leads to more problems and higher stress levels.
Many years ago a middle-aged lady – let’s call her ‘Shannon’ – came for therapy. She said she was unhappy in her third marriage. Her sixteen year-old daughter was acting up and being disrespectful. She and her husband were not getting along.
Shannon told me her story. When she was just nine years old, her mother’s father began to molest her. This went on for years, until one day her mother found out. Nothing was done, except to keep grandpa away from Shannon. When she was about fifteen, she began to smoke marijuana regularly and became sexually active. Eventually all the guys found out she was easy, and they took advantage.
At the age of eighteen Shannon married a man who later became an alcoholic. All the while Shannon smoked weed daily – she said she could not have sex unless she was high – and never considered addressing the trauma. She and her husband had a daughter. One fine day, this same grandpa happened to take a liking to Shannon’s daughter. And while nobody was looking, he molested her. That daughter – like Shannon – grew up to make a string of bad choices and was currently in an abusive relationship.
Still in her twenties, Shannon divorced her alcoholic husband, and later married a man who had mental problems and “forced” her to do things she found repulsive; but for some reason, she was not able to say no. They had no children. He eventually committed suicide.
After that, Shannon went back to school to learn a profession. But there was one catch: she had to quit smoking marijuana. She was able to do so, she completed her education, and went on to obtain a good position. Then she married for the third time and had her second child. Throughout this marriage, she has not smoked marijuana; but she also has no desire for intimate relations. Her husband is not happy.
Shannon had originally come for help because she was depressed, anxious and worried about her daughter. Doing therapy with me, she realized that sexual trauma had influenced her later choices. Still, she denied the need for treatment, even though she saw her sixteen year-old daughter repeating history.
But Shannon’s denial was not the original source of the problem. It actually started with her mother, who refused to accept the fact that the grandfather was a pedophile. Furthermore, she had no idea how Shannon would be affected in the long-term. So, did Shannon’s mom fail her because of ignorance, fear, denial or lack of caring? One thing is certain: people refuse to accept reality, because they believe that opening up about it will make things worse. Fear is always a factor.
Do you wonder whether a problem you’re experiencing is connected to your denial of reality? It’s not uncommon, there’s no shame in it, it’s very human … and I’d guess most of us have resorted to it at some time or other. It doesn’t need to be as dramatic as this real-life story.
If you’d like to explore this, there’s good news: you can find a way to “get real” without making things worse. And even better news: I know how to help. Please reach out for a free consultation, by calling 219-309-3928. I’d be honored to be of service.