Tag Archives: Denial

Living With an Addicted Person is Crazy-Making Until You Say “No More”

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2013 Nancy Virden,  Always the Fight MInistries

people sitting in front of wooden table
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

“You’ve been drinking again.”

“No, I haven’t.”

“But I found a water bottle in the back of the bathroom cupboard filled with vodka.”

“That’s just water!”

“Oh… ok, it’s just water.”

It is not only those with an addiction who have a problem. Spouses, friends, and other family members jump through figurative hoops trying to make sense of lies while wanting to trust. No one wants to play the fool, yet disbelieving all the time hurts too.

**********

“You’ve been watching porn.”

“No.”

“I saw a link on your screen.”

“You’re too suspicious. I don’t know how that got there. Some ad or something. I have not been watching porn. You have my word.”

“Oh…ok, it’s just an ad.”

Accepting blame and listening to a constant stream of denial can be crazy-making.  It is normal to feel trapped and victimized.  Where gaslighting is involved,  trust is destroyed.  

********

“I finally found comfortable shoes for work. On sale for only $20!”

“We don’t have the money for that.”

“But you bought an I-Pad and took all your friends out to dinner.”

“You don’t need new shoes, your old shoes are just fine.”

“Oh…ok, do you want me to take them back?”

Remember that you matter too. Whether someone tries to pass to you the sympathy card or victim card, the denial card or blame card, you do not have to extend your hand and join the game. 

But I don’t want to make things worse by setting a boundary. I will feel guilty.  May I suggest you are already in great pain?  

One of the strongest women I’ve met was a mother who had to remove her drug-addicted son from the home and not welcome him back no matter how he begged.  It was torment to find him at her door. Yet she stood her ground knowing she might be saving his life. Home for her and the other children  returned to peace. 

Today’s Helpful Word  

Psalm 56:10, 11

 In God, whose word I praise,
    in the Lord, whose word I praise—
 in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can man do to me?

 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

 

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Hope and help are yours.

 

 

What Do You Want, Positive Thinking or Positive Change? Know the Significant Difference. Part 2

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

When positive thinking is denial’s cousin, it is not helpful.

Denial is believing your spouse means  “I love you,” while treating you like dirt. Denial is unnecessarily gaining weight and telling yourself you are still healthy. Denial points out another’s mistake, the same mistake you have made a dozen times. 

Rain is real  

Members of a depression support group,  many of us fresh out of the hospital,  watched as gray merged with silver droplets, creating a panel of sleet over the window.  Someone complained about the weather.

The therapist’s response sounded confusing.  He said, “Look for the positives.”

I asked, “What’s the difference between denial and looking for the positives?” 

“Denial is saying, ‘there is no rain’,”  he said. “Looking for positives accepts the rain,  then deliberately chooses to focus on what is going well.”

Is,  as in “is going well,”  drove the point.  He did not use wish or claim.  Instead, he suggested hope for change comes from noticing what is positive about reality.  

Later he said, “I’m not telling you to just think positive.  I’m not that guy.” 

Rain is wet

Positive thinking tries to convince us the rain is meaningless. Perhaps one admits to the storm, yet summarily dismisses it with, “it’s not wet!”  

Children’s  the-little-train-that-could had positive thoughts. “I think I can, I think I can” motivated it to chug its way over a mountain.  If that little train did not have wheels, no amount of positive thinking was going to carry it. 

Positive thinking is different from positive change in that it has no inherent honesty. Trying to pump up a languishing spirit by embracing fantasy is a temporary feel-good solution at best. 

Denial’s cousin

While denial calls addiction a bad habit,  positive thinking recognizes addiction and tries to wish away the consequences.  Denial says “I’m ok” when nothing is ok. Positive thinking  says, “I’m not ok,  but everything will be perfect tomorrow!”  

Certain times may call for rah-rahs for rah-rahs’ sake. However, there is more power in truth. It is amazing what we can face and accomplish in the realm of our mental health if what we genuinely want is positive change. 

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

 

Death, Murder, and Denial. Emotions Call for Attention

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Denial does not work because bottled up emotions will come out some other way, affecting our physical and mental health.  Refusing to talk about something keeps us isolated, alone with our interpretation of events.

This is one of myriad reasons my suggestion is consistent –  seek a professional, knowledgeable perspective.

At 18 and single, Kimberly had already experienced pregnancy twice. Her first baby died just before birth,  and Kimberly was forced to deliver a stillborn daughter.  The second pregnancy was a rebound one, she said. 

When we first met, she was in the first trimester of the second pregnancy. She was excited!  Her strong family support system, including her mother, helped her cope. Her dreams for another baby girl knew no bounds.  As we talked, I grew to like what appeared as Kimberly’s overcomer attitude.

Family death and murder

Then her mother suddenly died. Kimberly spoke fondly of her, and expressed regret they would not have more time.  Her emotions were well-hidden. “Everything happens for a reason,” she said. I never saw another reaction. 

By now the nursery was furnished. Baby clothes lined dresser drawers. Packages of diapers collected against a wall. Her much-loved child was due in four weeks. Then the unthinkable happened. 

One afternoon, her boyfriend’s sister assaulted her, beating and pushing.  Kimberly’s pre-born baby died.  She filed charges and eventually won a homicide case against the assailant. 

The next time I saw her, she was unemotional. In the course of one year, this young woman had lost two babies and her mother. Yet she showed no pain.

Hidden emotions will spill…

Her behavior told a different story.  Only one month after the assault,  she invited me to walk her through her third round of hope and dreams. For months, all she could talk about was her developing little boy. 

“Are you sad?” I asked, referring to so many losses.

“I was, but now I have this baby to care for,” she said with a smile. “Everything happens for a reason.”

I’m convinced  she was coping the best she knew how – by tackling one storm at a time.  That’s an effective, temporary coping skill.  However, it leaves us dependent on the whims of circumstances outside of our control.  Buried emotions powerfully push us toward immediate relief.  The resulting lack of awareness does not guide us toward making healthier or wiser decisions. 

I hope for the sake of her longterm physical, mental, and spiritual health, she eventually found the will to face, experience, and share her feelings with a professional grief counselor.  

We all live with pain. God draws us to himself, gives of himself, and tells us to reach out to one another. Why? Because none of us are meant to do this alone. We thrive in honesty. 

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

 

Sit , Emotion, Sit! Proverbs 3:16 Put to Practice

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2015 Nancy Virden

I came home a few days ago angry. It was the quiet kind of angry that sneaks up on a person slowly. Or does it? More likely, I had managed to stuff it for a few minutes before it could not be denied anymore.  

My stomach roiled. Typical tension and pins and needles sensations were there, too. Most obnoxious were the thoughts – racing toward nothing and refusing to leave. Food, busyness, social media, online shopping, and television were some of my favorite escapes when strong emotions would not take a rest.

This time though, I exercised a new technique and sat with the anger. Literally, I sat down and asked God why I was so upset. Over a few minutes, an idea occurred. A friend had offered criticism while interrupting and talking over my explanation. There was good reason for annoyance, however was there truth in what she said? Anger was rising from my fear she may have been right.

Studying the situation more critically, I concluded her assessment of my motives was incorrect. Anger still agitated my stomach, and all the physically uncomfortable symptoms were active. Then the unimaginable happened.

I sat some more.

It felt horrible. I wanted to hide, to bury this struggle under something more pleasurable. Nevertheless I stayed, acknowledging God, the hurt, and discomfort.

Sure enough, it subsided. The whole exercise had taken about twenty minutes. In that amount of time I could have eaten that leftover beef roast or checked Twitter dozens of times, and felt and resolved nothing.

Taking the time to ask God for insight and ride out a strong emotion had actually made it go away. Annoyance disappeared as reason and forgiveness took over. Not relying on my limited understanding had led directly to peace.

Today’s Helpful Word

Proverbs 3:16

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” 

*********

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

 

An Anti- Fear of Death and Dying Potion

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2014 Nancy Virden

photo-24780866-old-bearded-manPeople are afraid of death.

Or dying.

Or of being alone when they die.

This is one reason why we have denial of symptoms, refusal to see the doctor, or hypochondria. Some phobias, OCD, superstitions, anxiety and depression are fed by a fear of death. This is why some researchers suggest we tuck away our seniors in nursing homes – to keep death out of sight and out of mind. 

I knew a man who had been “stored” in an unfinished basement and left there with a port-a-potty and a bed. Food was brought to him, he had an occasional visit by his son, and he begged those who came by to just talk with him. He was refused.

There was another man whose money was the reason his stepson kept him. This “caretaker” would not allow family members to see his stepfather alone, did not feed him much, and stole his property.

As I visited my dad in a nursing home this past week, a woman who lives there looked at me in fear, “Where can you hide a person? Do you know where? I need to hide.” She went on to say, “They are going to give me a job-  do you know what ‘nothing’ is? They told me to do nothing.”

Loneliness can drive a person out of their mind. Of course I do not know if she was lonely, reacting to meds, or struggling with a pre-determined brain disease.  Stories like this make us afraid. We wonder if it will one day be us packed away as if we are nothing.

My father’s situation is such that I cannot take him in and keep him safe. Without other family involved he is going to live in that home until his death. Even though he is in a top-notch organization, It hurts me to see how lonely and dejected he gets. I call him regularly, and visit as often as I can from another state. At least he is better off than the man in the basement.

Small comfort.

Maybe there is not much I can help him with from far away except to find volunteers to visit him, however there is more I can do for me and another lonely senior. I can visit locally.

Yesterday I signed up as a volunteer visitor. My “assignment” will be named in a few days. I look forward to meeting her.  What life she has lived? How can I show respect for their age and experience?

Although I do not consider myself afraid of death, I can be fearful of aging. What if our society were to invest in our seniors instead of packing them away as if they never existed? What richness would be added to our lives if we practiced respect for our elderly? I know I will be comforted by making a new friend and she will be too.

An anti-fear of death and dying potion is to stop denying, invest in a respect for all life, and to become uncomfortable so we can comfort and be comforted.

******

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

*picture from qualitystockphotos