Video:What Is Denial?with Jane Fendelman
What is denial, really? And, can it be beneficial? Learn about the causes of denial and it's many forms in this psychology video from About.com.See Transcript
Transcript:What Is Denial?
Hi, this is Jane Fendelman for About.com and this video is about denial. What is denial?
Denial is Not Necessarily a Bad Thing
Denial is a protective device. Most people think denial is a bad thing. If we change our minds about denial, and actually think of it as a good thing, then we're halfway through solving the dilemmas denial can cause in our lives.
What Causes Denial?
Denial is caused by sustaining some sort of trauma, whether it's in childhood or adulthood. We develop coping mechanisms around that trauma to protect us before we're able to mentally and emotionally handle them. Once the psyche is ready to be able to handle moving through that trauma, processing it, and letting it go. Then, we are able to release our trauma.
Denial and Negative Emotions
Human beings are uncomfortable with feeling negative emotions. We're frightened of them, when negative emotions are exactly those that teach us the most. If we can get present with them and sit with them, and ask ourselves "what is it that most hurts here? Ahh, I'm feeling loss. It's OK for me to feel loss. I now release this need to feel loss." Then it can move through us, because feelings are like the clouds in the sky, just wafting through. We get confused, we think we're the clouds. You're not the clouds, you're the sky.
Types of Denial
Some examples of different kinds of denial are sometimes people stay in a relationship where their needs are not really being met, and they're in denial that that relationship is dysfunctional. Perhaps there is no communication or there's not enough affection. Or perhaps you know your mate is cheating or they're not available physically, frequently, and you keep charging forward, pushing through, arguing, trying to get your needs met. That's another kind of denial.
Sometimes it's drug or alcohol addictions. Sometimes there's workaholism. Sometimes there's a childhood trauma that's affecting you in the present day. There can be a physical, mental, emotional, or sexual abuse in your childhood that will affect you, especially if there's denial surrounding it, protecting you from facing it before you're ready to face it. If you do go get help you will be more ready physically, mentally, emotionally to be able to look at these different kinds of traumas to be able to handle them and heal them. How to help another person with their denial: well, mention it to them gently and without judgement and if they're not willing to take a look that's when you might need to step back from the relationship.
If they're willing to go to an expert or a counselor with you that's great. It can be damaging to force a person out of their denial too soon. If it's not an issue of denial around a topic that is life threatening then be patient.
Thanks so much for watching. To learn more visit us on the web at About.com.