Denial

There are so many subjects. One thing I was realizing lately is the huge impact of denial.

I’m not against some denial. Denial makes ordinary life possible when it would be unbearable otherwise. Ordinary life is a good thing to keep on top of – meals need to be cooked, bathrooms cleaned, etc. Yeah.

For some years in therapy, I’ve been plunging into trauma and parts in therapy, then hoping very much for it all to go away again, so I could resume my life. I would finally box it all back up again, only to go back to therapy the following week, and have it happen all over again.

I did not want this to be true. I didn’t want to be a victim of trauma. I didn’t want to be in parts, really truly, aside from weird stuff happening in therapy. In my mind, therapy stuff was a blip, then real life kicked back in, where I was whole, and there were no parts. I’ve only just realized that I was doing that. The mind hides itself from itself so well.

I need to give up the hope that everything is OK, in the sense that none of the abuse happened, or if it did, it didn’t affect me. It is such a strong hope. All the years of my childhood, this was the view I was given. I want that to be true so very much.

I’ve started realizing that parts are impacting me on a daily basis, whether they’re out front or not. It’s not a disaster – it’s workable. But it is my situation. It’s not a blip that happens on strange occasions. It’s me. I’m like this. With parts that are there every single day.

This seems so obvious, yet it’s not. I have not wanted to believe it at all. It’s painful to state.

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20 comments
  1. So painful, but also such a powerful realization. In my experience, as I was able to accept it more, more of me was able to work together and I started to function better. It has been far from an even process, but that is the trend. I hope that the same happens for you.

    • Ellen said:

      I hope so also. Thanks for the helpful comment Cat.

  2. leb105 said:

    Perhaps you could see it, rather than ‘giving up the hope’, instead, ‘giving up the LIE’ that you don’t have feelings that need to be expressed, that EVERYTHING IS FINE. Your mother’s lie – about herself, and about you. And that these feelings are you (as you say) and that you need them.

    • Ellen said:

      That is such a great way of looking at it Laura. It’s true. Thank you.

  3. Yes, I think we all go through that. And then finally you realize, “Oh, I just have to fix this. Whatever it takes, I have to do it. I can’t wish it away.”

    • Ellen said:

      It’s funny how denial seems to be par for the course with dissociation. It doesn’t seem true for the longest time. Thank you.

  4. cardamone5 said:

    Tears burn my eyes reading this post because I am so where you are right now: thinking I had conquered all my issues, only to have them reappear every few months. Like you, I am tired of the disruption, tired of the emotional upheaval, tirs of fighting. I just want peace. Oh, God, this sucks.

    • Ellen said:

      I’m sorry you’re in this place Cardamone. I’m actually seeing it as a good thing in my case – I’m realizing what is the case. Better to deal from a place of reality. The rollercoaster does suck, and I want off also. Cheers.

  5. Andie said:

    I can relate to this so much.

  6. Cat said:

    Denial can be good and bad and I imagine it probably comes with the DID territory. It must be incredibly difficult to work through stuff, I’m never quite sure how you can resolve situations when there are different parts to deal with.

    Acceptance is a HUGE word. I kinda know what you might mean about accepting all that shit really did happen, only then can true grieving and healing take place. My issue around this is the difference of opinion between my nightmare of a childhood and my parents fairy tale, this causes me considerable distress and so so so much inner destructive anger!

    I wasn’t quite sure what you meant by your last line, “seems so obvious” what does? I’m not sure if anything like this is obvious, sometimes we are ready to see certain things while other times we can’t see due to our denial, ignorance, awareness or even our ability to cope with whatever reality… Someone used to say to me years ago something about, “we can only be as honest as we can be at any given time”. What I think he meant is that we may well not be honest at times, but that is not from dishonesty, more about awareness. Whatever you can see now, somehow wasn’t so available to your mind a few weeks/months ago. Then again, often things are playing away at the back of our mind, but we’re just not ready to face up to them. That doesn’t mean we’ve failed in some way or helped to contribute to our….shit!

    Sorry, there I go again getting carried away on your blog. Hope you’re feeling a little better, Ellen

    • Ellen said:

      Denial and dissociation do go hand in hand. I don’t have DID BTW – I have a variation of it that is less severe.

      I hear you on the difference of opinion with family – it’s very hurtful and crazy making.

      What I meant by obvious – the way my mind works, I’ll experience a part, or a memory, in therapy, but then back in real life, it will seem to me that it wasn’t real. Then I get plunged back into the memory or part again, and then again think it wasn’t actually real. Like that. I think with dissociation, that’s what happens. It happens in other ways with other disorders. It’s kind of like you’re saying, where something plays at the back of your mind, but you don’t want to acknowledge it yet – you’re not ready. Well, for me, the back of the mind comes to the front, then it gets shoved to the back again, over and over.

      Thanks for your thoughts Cat.

      • Cat said:

        Sorry, I was mistaken about the DID thing, but that makes more sense of what I know of you here.

        I experience similar with thoughts and feelings coming and going, but I do know I have a huge issue with dissociation, it has become more apparent in therapy.

        • Ellen said:

          No problem about DID. I don’t have a handy label for what I have, and it is a variation of DID in fact. I know some people with borderline diagnoses also have a lot of dissociation going on. I wonder if that’s why I feel drawn to borderline blogs, much more so that to other MH issues such as bipolar, anxiety, depression. I think there are quite a few commonalities. Dissociation can be tricky to get a grip on, so good luck. Cheers

          • Cat said:

            It’s strange because I am always drawn to DID type blogs. I have an enormous problem with dissociation and have sometimes wondered if they have the diagnosis wrong.

            • Ellen said:

              That’s one of the reasons I’m not big on diagnosis myself. It’s not like there’s a blood test for mental issues. I think you can have bits and pieces of different ones, for instance. Main thing is to make things workable, or begin to heal, whatever the label.

  7. I can so relate to this as well, especially wanting to box up all the trauma memories as they used to be. Like why did the thoughts all fall out after so many years. I was actually thinking today that maybe I did make up my trauma. I want to take it all back and pretend I never said anything in therapy. What was I thinking? And then I have all this panic coming out and I shut down, curl up, and just stare off in therapy. I must seem crazy but I swear I leave my session and I become a different person who function, talks, thinks and interacts…at least on most days.

    • Ellen said:

      I tend to think also I’m making it up. Even after all these years of therapy. It is strange to have memories emerge after all this time – it’s as if those walls keeping them back get weaker over time, and finally give way, or at least start to leak. You don’t seem crazy – we all have to pull ourselves together again and function in the world as best we can after therapy.

      Thanks AG

  8. Thank you! You are always so supportive and it means a lot. And yes, it does seem as if the walls become weaker over time.

  9. manyofus1980 said:

    I like the part where you said, “this is me”. Yes it is. And you will get through it, denial and all, I’m glad you wrote that post. Sometimes its good to have those sort of realisations about yourself. XX

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