Why You Need To Stop Using Denial As A Coping Mechanism

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We are all in denial about something.

Denial can happen with a lot of difficult life events, like losing a job, breaking up with a partner or friend, or even a loved one passing away. I have seen the damage that denial can do firsthand. I have also seen what happens when you feel scared to bring up specific issues with certain people because what you have to say will burst their “denial bubble.” It’s a hard situation that often leaves you in an uncomfortable position. In reality, though, those people who live in denial use denial as a coping mechanism. People like this often don’t like change, and they think if they hide away from reality at all costs, then the truth will go away. I understand why people deny reality, but it’s not healthy to live this way.

When I think about denial, my mom comes to mind immediately.

I love her more than anything in this world, but denial is practically second-nature to her. For instance, no matter how much her friends begged her to make a Facebook account, she wouldn’t because she “will be on there and will see who died.” She also refuses to believe that I’ve grown up. I still live at home, and my bedroom recently looked like a 14-year-old girl’s room rather than a bedroom for a woman in her early 30s. My “old” room had Barbie dolls displayed in it, and all of my awards from when I was little were still up.

I knew that I needed a change, but I also knew how much my mom struggles with change. A few years ago, though, I asked to update my room, and it looks night-and-day different from how it looked before. My mom had a harder time dealing with the changes to my childhood bedroom than I did. I was ready for a change, but she was in denial that her little girl wasn’t a baby anymore. The reality that children become adults can bring up denial in many parents, including my mom.

Many of us live in some form of denial — whether we realize it or not.

We often don’t want to come to terms with the fact that everything in our lives will eventually change, including society itself. We keep living in our “denial bubbles,” acting as if nothing will ever change and everything in our lives is perfect — even when that’s not the case. But I think that when we cope this way, we’re doing ourselves a disservice. We don’t want to look forward because then we will see all we’ve lost — but it’s still important to acknowledge reality.

Am I saying that using coping mechanisms is a bad way to deal with change? No, but denial is not a healthy coping mechanism to help you deal with life’s curveballs. After all, change happens, and we inevitably must deal with it, whether we like it or not. If we want to change our future to benefit the generations to come, we have to stop using denial as a coping mechanism.

Featured Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash.

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