Do not be afraid of your fears. They are not there to scare. They are there to let you know that something is worth it. C. JoyBell C.
Denial is a defense mechanism that makes us avoid anxiety and frustrating situations. When we deny a feeling or a fact, it is because we perceive a problem in the roots of these emotions and we tend to avoid them. However, in doing so we get the opposite: the problems not only are not gone, but they accumulate and getting in our way in an increasingly complicated way.
- 1 The consequences of denying our emotions
- 2 Deny our own difficulties and blame others
- 3 Freeing ourselves from denial
The consequences of denying our emotions
Suppress our emotions and feelings can turn us into anxious, nervous and irritable people. When we deny those feelings that produce a waste of energy we end up, without realizing it, wasting even more energy in the attempt. This affects our mood and even our mental health causing a negative cycle of recurring thoughts About ourselves and our reality.
We have been educated to hide our emotions and that is why we have a hard time expressing them. This has a adaptive sense, since we could not maintain our social relationships, our work or our partners if we constantly expressed all the strong emotions we felt. However, this has given us the wrong feeling of need to constantly control ourselves. We believe we must control everything but this is something impossible. Some things escape our control and realizing this can generate a lot of anxiety. The more we try to control and change our situation, the more we self-injure ourselves and the more anxiety we end up suffering, feeling more and more trapped.
As a consequence of this need for control, we can end up disconnecting from our own emotions and burying them as if they were dirty junk we don't want to have. But emotions communicate information to us. Information to which we must pay attention, since not doing so can cause major problems.
Although in the short term, avoiding these feelings may seem like a good idea, in the long term it can generate even physical problems caused by the stress and anxiety that this situation imposes on us. Emotional denial is, in fact, one of the main causes of many psychological problems.
Deny our own difficulties and blame others
A very common form of denial is that of not assume our own difficulties blaming external people or circumstances. For example, we imagine that we are taking an exam that we could not prepare well. After suspending, some people will assume their responsibility trying to correct the error, while others will tend to deny the negative emotions generated by the idea of not having done things right by blaming external circumstances, such as the difficulty of the exam or bad luck.
This happens because affirming that we have not studied enough, generates a tension and guilt in the person who is not able to face. The same circumstance can occur in any facet of life, as in a couple fight in which one never assumes responsibility and blames the other.
Denial is also common in alcoholic and addicted people, when they convince themselves that returning to consume in small quantities that product that has generated the problem, will not imply any negative consequences.
Freeing us from denial
To handle negative emotions, we have to understand the function of emotions in general. The word emotion comes from the Latin term “emotio”, Which means“ movement ”or“ impulse ”. Emotions are affective states, psychophysiological reactions that have an adaptive function for the organism and its environment. We can conceive them as a source of information, an impulse that warns us that something is happening, but that does not incapacitate us to evaluate what action take about it.
For example, feeling that we are in love can fill us with fear because of past experiences. This fear can block us, but it can also help us to be more cautious when looking for certain characteristics in a new relationship. If we get our reasoning to overcome the sense of blockage, we may be able to face the situation and use this emotion to decide what is best for us without being carried away by the paralysis to which it conditions us.
It's not about avoid the emotion we perceive as negative or the situation that causes us, but of live it and face it to be able to feel liberated and live in full stability and mental health. If you feel identified with this situation, it may be time to ask yourself what it is that you fear facing or what benefits you might get if you can accept your feelings as something that simply makes us human and vulnerable.