Yesterday, I wrote an article about Denial – Here’s the Rest of that Story & More about Personal Invisibility
In previous posts, I have written about how some people seem to have an ability to empathize while others do not. After posting yesterday about Denial, I realized that the people who have an inability to empathize probably mistakenly perceive themselves as superior creatures, who would simply be above denial. That would not be the case. Not being able to see ourselves as we are might be one form of denial. On the other hand, it might be a symptom of even worse emotional problems. We all deal with denial. Allow me to share a personal story about one type of denial:
When I was twenty, I was in a terrible car wreck. I was initially riding in the front seat of a Mustang, and after a drunk driver lost control of his truck, it catapulted through the air, came crashing through the windshield, and ground through my face. First, I was tossed into the air of the car and then I was jammed into the car’s trunk. I had injuries all over my body and for a while, I was in a coma.
The femur of my left leg had been severely broken. While lying in the car, waiting for an ambulance to rescue me, I drifted in and out of consciousness. I don’t recall any pain or panic during that time. Apparently my mind knew that my pain was too much for me to bear, and my brain simply denied it. During those moments, I was in a dream-like state. During one of my glimpses of reality, I managed to look at my thigh, and I saw that my femur had snapped and that jagged bone pieces were poking through my skin. That was when I knew that I had been hurt. By blocking my ability to feel the pain that I was in, my My brain protected me, and my body entered a state of denial.
It took quite some time for my brain to let go of what happened to me during my car accident. Weeks later, when I needed to learn to walk again, my brain initially tricked me into thinking that I was paralyzed. I would try to lift my leg–or even to move my toes, but my brain remembered the pain. My mind’s eye could still see the jagged bone pieces sticking through my thigh. Although I was not technically paralyzed, I could not move my leg. Because it wanted to protect me from further trauma, my brain DENIED me of my efforts to try to move.
In some cases, emotional denial is like what I have described. At times in our lives, we experience devastations that are simply too painful for us, and our brain protects us by allowing us to deny those things. In its most innocent state, that is how denial works–it is is simply our brains trying to protect us from pain. But denial can be more sinister than that.
Perhaps you want to elevate yourself in your business, but you perceive that the others ahead of you are preventing your ascension. You might do things to discredit those other people with the administration or with other clients. If you do that and KNOW that you are doing it, you are not in denial–you are just mean. Often times, however, the would-be in business doesn’t realize what he is doing. Perhaps some part of himself cannot bear to believe that he is capable of cruelty, and that part of a person denies the rest of his person from knowing the bad thing that he is doing.
The same type of back-stabbing also takes place socially. Sometimes we begin to feel that another person is no longer socially advantageous to us, and we begin seeking excuses to exclude that person. So that we won’t appear to be cruel, we may lie to other people about the person that we want to discredit. Sometimes we may also lie to ourselves about that other person. That lying to ourselves that allows us to behave inappropriately, and often to do so for personal gain, might be denial. It also might be a sign of a problem that is more deep-rooted.
For most people, having a well-developed invisibility cloak is advantageous for slipping in and out of denial. The very skillful can be greedy without appearing to others to be so. The most deceitful people are masters of disguise. Great politicians often fall into this group of people. Salespersons often fall into this group of people. When people can behave selfishly without being detected by others, they are excellent schemers. However, when people can act this way without seeing themselves for who they are, they may be in denial. On the other hand, that person may be a narcissist–or even a sociopath. That person may simply not care at all about the people that he hurts or about how many people that he has to force off the road, to jockey himself to the front of the line.
You might enjoy reading my post: A Narcissist May be the Most Evil Person You Know Here
©Jacki Kellum January 13, 2016
Image Credit: http://ocseneba.deviantart.com/art/Invisible-II-81043406