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#452767 - 11/07/13 11:41 AM Denial
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 606
A bit of a ramble. And a bunch of questions.

Anybody miss those days when "nothing was wrong"? When you could sleep properly? When you didn't remember? When you didn't feel, all numbed out or superficially happy?

I think it's pretty standard to say that once the dam's been broken - denial, rationalization, idealization...whatever you want to call it - there's no turning back. It wasn't that long ago when I was still functioning relatively well - maybe 7, 8 years ago. I could complete tasks. I did relatively well under authority - pretty compliant, obedient. At that rate, I probably could've settled for a standard 9 to 5. But now...*shrugs*. Things were much simpler back then. It kind of begs the question - if you know someone who's gone through abuse but is in that safe cocoon of denial, functioning relatively well...do you try to take them out of it? Denial, as far as I know, is a defense mechanism. And at that, a pretty powerful defense mechanism. If you deny that a problem existed, then there's no problem to fix. You can even deny you're denying problems from the past so that you can deny you have problems currently. Wonderful.

What, then, makes that dam break? Why do certain things break the dam for some, but reinforce it for others? What determines the threshold? Why do some begin the long journey of self-understanding and seeking the truth, while some have their heads buried so deep into ground that no light seems to be able to reach them? Do the latter somehow unconsciously know what kind of onslaught they would face should the dam break? As I understand it, some but not all victims of abuse go onto abusing others. Is the existence of this dam one of the reasons that separates the two? Is it courage? Luck?

Quite a few things have been going on in my life at the moment which is probably why my head is filled with these questions. Which brings me to a rather interesting question. Can I, or should I, grieve for the loss of denial? For the loss of an illusion that paved the way for a painful reality? Am I, ironically, actually in denial of the fact that I was a lot "better off" in denial?
_________________________
Husky

My Story

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#452769 - 11/07/13 12:09 PM Re: Denial [Re: concerned_husky]
Rich918 Offline


Registered: 10/28/13
Posts: 45
Originally Posted By: concerned_husky
A bit of a ramble. And a bunch of questions.

Anybody miss those days when "nothing was wrong"? When you could sleep properly? When you didn't remember? When you didn't feel, all numbed out or superficially happy?

I think it's pretty standard to say that once the dam's been broken - denial, rationalization, idealization...whatever you want to call it - there's no turning back. It wasn't that long ago when I was still functioning relatively well - maybe 7, 8 years ago. I could complete tasks. I did relatively well under authority - pretty compliant, obedient. At that rate, I probably could've settled for a standard 9 to 5. But now...*shrugs*. Things were much simpler back then. It kind of begs the question - if you know someone who's gone through abuse but is in that safe cocoon of denial, functioning relatively well...do you try to take them out of it?


Functioning as a robot or as a whole human being? As a person or merely as a use-value to the service of someone else?

Originally Posted By: concerned_husky
Denial, as far as I know, is a defense mechanism. And at that, a pretty powerful defense mechanism. If you deny that a problem existed, then there's no problem to fix. You can even deny you're denying problems from the past so that you can deny you have problems currently. Wonderful.


It denies a problem on the surface of consciousness for purposes of functioning in the immediate to survive a time until we have the wherewithal to deal with it, but its still wrecking havoc on the subconscious which shall one day manifest itself in the conscious.

Originally Posted By: concerned_husky
What, then, makes that dam break? Why do certain things break the dam for some, but reinforce it for others? What determines the threshold? Why do some begin the long journey of self-understanding and seeking the truth, while some have their heads buried so deep into ground that no light seems to be able to reach them? Do the latter somehow unconsciously know what kind of onslaught they would face should the dam break? As I understand it, some but not all victims of abuse go onto abusing others. Is the existence of this dam one of the reasons that separates the two? Is it courage? Luck?

Quite a few things have been going on in my life at the moment which is probably why my head is filled with these questions. Which brings me to a rather interesting question. Can I, or should I, grieve for the loss of denial? For the loss of an illusion that paved the way for a painful reality? Am I, ironically, actually in denial of the fact that I was a lot "better off" in denial?


If the truth of your own existence is not important, then your existence truly is a lie, thus inherently of no value by its own proclamation. It is not the absence of pain which makes us
“better off” (that only makes us a robot), but it is the truth that gives us self-value. Denial may be more functionable in the world but denies more than just pain... it denies the worth of our own existence and forfeits the victory of the battle over to the abusers.


Edited by Rich918 (11/07/13 12:24 PM)

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#452777 - 11/07/13 02:39 PM Re: Denial [Re: concerned_husky]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3515
Loc: somewhere in Africa
husky - this is admittedly a huge oversimplification and generalization - but - it always gets worse before it gets better.

don't let yourself get stuck in that in-between place or stage or phase. keep going- it can get better!

LEE
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#452788 - 11/07/13 04:21 PM Re: Denial [Re: concerned_husky]
Moreorless Offline


Registered: 10/07/13
Posts: 21
Loc: Pittsburgh
The beach-ball analogy comes to mind; you can only hold a beach-ball underwater for so long and you'll succeed for that time too - but it will eventually, whether or not you want it to, have to surface.

In my father's case yes, it was his denial-dam that caused him to abuse others; me, my mother. And it wasn't until his dam broke that he was able to face getting help.

I grieved not only the loss of my denial but also the loss of, how can I put this, a self that didn't question the world around him. When I lost my denial I gained and extremely skeptical and inquisitive aspect to myself. I turned to logic and to having to understand something that filled me with awe and wonder.

If I couldn't prove it or I believed it on a measure of faith - then it was no longer good enough for me. I would study even the most basic of stage magician's tricks until I understood what they were hiding from me.

I grieved the loss of my denial and the self that just accepted things on faith, yes.

But finding those things that I was denying... Surfacing those self-beach-balls I was holding underwater... Seeing those nightmares come alive in my waking-life... Having no choice but to face those demons that I fought with everything I had to not face...

Only then did I become the magician holding the cards...

Therapy, self-help, groups like this, non-denial, damn breaking - these are the things that improved my sleight of hand. These are the things that allowed me to saw a woman in half... These are the things that allowed me to pick-a-card-any-card control my life...

When my dam came down - I became David Fucking Copperfield...

Because then I had a say in what was up my sleeve; my past no longer controlled the deck I was shuffling - I was.



Edited by Moreorless (11/07/13 04:22 PM)
_________________________
"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." - Leonard Cohen

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#452791 - 11/07/13 04:54 PM Re: Denial [Re: concerned_husky]
Robert1000 Offline


Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 336
Man, husky... I hear what you're saying. I can remember how great it felt to live in complete denial. I was so deep in denial that I would have insisted... and thought I was telling the truth... that I had never been abused, that my childhood was idyllic, that everything had been not just good but GREAT!

And yet... and yet... the state that I thought of as "normal" was anything but. I lied constantly about the dumbest little things. I one time told my girlfriend that the lights on the way to her house had been all green. What the hell? I beat myself up about those lies. I hated being a liar. I did everything to stop.

And then I would get these suicidal urges. Sometimes I would be driving and almost spin the wheel into a river or oncoming car. It would be so easy. They happened pretty much all the time. I didn't even consider myself suicidal. I never intended to do it. Never planned it. Just felt it. I thought it was "normal."

I used to make all kinds of deals with myself, and attribute values to different things in my life. If I wanted something good to happen, I'd start volunteering. Something good would happen! And I would believe the one came because of something intangible in the other. Sure, you could say. There's karma. But I believed... and maybe still believe in some cases... that the one will CAUSE the other. But then the flip-side would hit me sometimes. And that was a killer. If something bad happened to me, in my gut I believed that it was something to do with something evil within me, something wrong within me, some way in which I had offended nature. And that was absolutely crushing. Sometimes the only way to silence the self-hatred and abuse in my own head and heart was to maddeningly repeat, "I'm a good person, and I like myself." I would do that hundreds of times, whispering if I couldn't get alone enough to say it out loud.

I also struggled with anything to do with sex. Let's just be honest here. I was basically constantly consumed by sexual thoughts/desires/wants/fantasies. And yet I was never satisfied. And when I did jerk off or something, I hated myself for it. I even went so far as to have a damn affair on my wife. I endangered myself, my family, my wife... everything. For a little crappy sex. That was not at all satisfying. Not enjoyable. Just more of trying to fill an unmet need.

When I look back on all that now... and all the aggression and hatred I held inside myself, all the self-delusion I had, all the pain I caused... and caused myself, I see defense mechanisms that I first developed as a kid to keep myself safe... and which then spun out of control until I needed something to keep myself safe from those defense mechanisms!

It's been almost four years since the affair, the therapy, the admission that... yes, I was sexually abused/assaulted/wtf... when I was a kid.

There were many, many times when I wanted the truth to just go away. If I could have cut off a toe and rid myself of the abuse and everything to do with it, I probably would have. But it wouldn't have helped. It would have HURT!

Anyway, I know what you mean about wishing to be able to go back into denial. I sometimes wish I could... for like five minutes... and then I realize that it's better to progress to the point where you're living your life not thinking about the abuse that happened to you, but not denying it, either. That's a pretty sweet place to land. That doesn't happen to me often, but it happens, and I hope it happens more. And I hope it happens to you.

You see, those defense mechanisms would be fine, if they didn't cause problems themselves.

Otherwise, I'd be all for denial.

Keep seeking peace. Keep seeking truth. And when you find it, hold onto it.

Bob


Edited by Robert1000 (11/07/13 04:57 PM)

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#452809 - 11/07/13 09:27 PM Re: Denial [Re: concerned_husky]
BraveFalcon Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 1147
Loc: The ATL
Originally Posted By: concerned_husky
Anybody miss those days when "nothing was wrong"? When you could sleep properly? When you didn't remember? When you didn't feel, all numbed out or superficially happy?


Hi Husky. I don't miss those days because I never had them. Even before my own personal dam broke I was desperately unhappy, but I was only partly sure why. After the damn broke, almost 20 years ago, it all became more clear where a lot of that unhappiness came from. Twenty years later, I'm still sorting it all out. Most of it will likely never be resolved.

It's an interesting question you put forth about denial. I only wish I had answers. Is denial in fact a strength and not a weakness? Is it perhaps better in some cases to remain in denial if it keeps you functioning and happy? Like choosing to stay in the matrix and deciding not to take the blue pill, just because you'd rather not fucking deal with it? I honestly don't know the answer to that.

In a lot of ways, I wish I was better at denial but I'm not good at it and I never have been. I've always been a person who's been way to honest with himself and who self-analyzes constantly. Everything that is wrong with me or fucked up about me has always been at the forefront of my mind and the wrongs that I have committed, the mistakes I've made, and the stupid things I've done eat at me to no end. I think a little denial would be nice every now and again.

As for what causes a given person's dam to break, I think the answers to that can be as varied as why the dam is there in the first place and as what the dam is holding back. For me, it was just a culmination of misery, secrecy, shame and fear that built up until things reached a breaking point. Something had to give and it did. The damn broke and then everything fell apart completely. Still slogging through the muddy waters of the flood it left behind.

Sorry this didn't really even come close to answering any of your questions. frown Peace,

Ken

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#452822 - 11/07/13 10:26 PM Re: Denial [Re: concerned_husky]
Suwanee Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 759
Loc: Southeast USA
Husky,

When I was younger, there was a water park nearby that had a play area with lots of water activities---water canons, fountains, etc. One other featured item was a large suspended bucket that filled with water until it reached a tipping point and dumped out all over everybody playing down below. Even watching it for a while, it was always a surprise when it poured out.

My point is, we all have different sized buckets over our heads. Some fill up and dump quicker than others. Hell, I think mine varies in time and frequency. I think everybody has a certain tipping point where the accumulated angst eventually weighs us down. It could be a major episode of depression or as it was for me a fit of rage after news coverage of CSA. I had endured it for years, but I finally just dumped it all out.

To introduce another analogy, catastrophes such as airplane crashes are rarely caused by a single event. It is usually a multitude of factors and failures that alone would not bring the plane down. When occurring in sequence, they cascade (much like the water from the bucket) and cause the crash.

Are we better off beforehand? Maybe on one level-a superficial one. Sometimes I miss the days when "nothing was wrong." The trouble is, something WAS wrong. The bucket was filling up all along. I guess I operate under the theory that it WILL come out. I suppose ideally, it would finally come out the day before you die in your sleep at age 90. Life isn't like that.

CSA upsets a balance, a trajectory, a path, a balance. You instinctively know it…even if it hasn't poured itself out. For me, it was at long last a chance for me to address it on my terms and not the terms the perp left me with. I'm scrambling to regain balance and trajectory. I've made progress in a year's time, but I know setbacks can and will occur. I'm not kidding myself…things can never be perfectly put back together, but It's still worth getting as close as you can. It's a long race and every step closer….is well, another step closer.

I'm not minimizing the task, but this is really how I managed to to parry the rage and denial and turn into something beneficial. It's still happening. I lose focus. I get irritated with the news and the lack of closure. I have to catch myself and restore my will to fight this thing.

Will


Edited by Suwanee (11/07/13 10:32 PM)
_________________________
Cruel Summer
My Journal

-Signs and traces left in stone
Ruins of a past unknown-

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#452828 - 11/07/13 11:30 PM Re: Denial [Re: concerned_husky]
BuffaloCO Offline


Registered: 07/14/12
Posts: 441
Loc: USA
Hi Husky, I really don't remember anytime before getting T when the dam wasn't broken. However, since getting T, coming here, getting support in RL and doing other things, life has gotten better, a whole lot better. I still struggle with somethings, but I struggle a lot less now then ever before on the inside. I agree with Traveler (Lee) when he says it gets worse before it gets better. This summer and fall you helped me push through some of the worst of it. Now if I can, I'll help you in return somehow. That's what we do here. Stay strong brother, you are already victorious in my book!
_________________________
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” - Plato

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#452833 - 11/07/13 11:50 PM Re: Denial [Re: concerned_husky]
Jude Offline


Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1600
Loc: New England
Hey Husky,

Yes denial is a defense mechanism, and can be part of a healthy process if its used as a short term bridge to coping with what the reality is. But for many of us, well for ME, it became a way of life.

My parents were alcoholics and among other things, they taught us that drinking, keeping secrets, and denial is how you deal with life. I can sum up how they lived by saying that if you don't like reality....make something up. And they made up all kinds of stories to explain themselves. As kids, you figure adults know everything, so if they say its so, it must be so. For example, part of their story to explain why my father wasn't working, was that he was selfemployed in his own business. But the reality I saw was coming home from school at 3:00PM and finding him drunk and in his underwear. Despite what I saw, I was trained to believe the story without question. The line between reality and fantasy was blurred for me right from the start.

It was natural for me to use that same method for dealing with CSA, and mental illness when they came. So I drank, kept all of it a secret, and pretended none of it ever happened. I can remember coming home from my abusers house and sitting on the couch saying to myself, over and over, "that didn't happen, that didn't happen..."

Its been a hard thing to rid myself of. The drinking was left behind 16 years ago. But the secrets and denial continued. It happened unconsiously, a secret even to myself. I gradually worked my way out of it all, but I still have to be vigilant, questioning every idea, thought, and feeling that I have. Always asking the question, "Is that real?" But for the most part I think I am living in the real world today, facing the shit as it comes and not deluding myself anymore.
_________________________
Seems I've got to have a change of scene
Every night I have the strangest dreams
Imprisoned by the way it could have been
Left here on my own or so it seems
I've got to leave before I start to scream
Joe Cocker

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#452837 - 11/08/13 12:28 AM Re: Denial [Re: concerned_husky]
don64 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 827
Loc: St. Croix, USVI
Hi Husky,

Many years ago I had a saying I repeated to myself frequently--"How do I remember that I just forgot what I already knew?" It was a way of keeping me out of a crazy loop in my head and a way of maintaining some impulse control, which was not easy for me. It was a way for me to reassure myself that there was a LOT that I was not aware of, and that I had a sense that there was a lot that I was not aware of, and that on some level I was aware of what I was not aware of. It helped me be ok with going through crazy times, and just telling myself that my only real job was to keep myself safe, again a very difficult task for me.

I have read somewhere that misery is a prime clue that I have not given myself the time and space I need to come to a new position. I hope you are able to be gentle and kind and patient with yourself, and give yourself as much time and patience as you need. The not-knowing can just be a great space for reorganizing some pieces that do not work well. It doesn't have to be so scary. HA! Easy for me to say because I'm not on the hot seat right now.

I'm sending good thoughts your way.

Don
_________________________
Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

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