In these cases of abuse, denial extends beyond the primary aggressor, as it often happens that when a child gathers the courage to tell his or her mother.
For example, that his father repeatedly sexually assaults him, the mother, unable to handle such a large conflict, may cognitively reject what is happening by saying:
“It can’t be what you are telling me, your father would be incapable of something like that,” becoming a new aggressor for the child.
The statistics of child sexual abuse cases are disturbing.
It is even more troubling that, due to their nature and specifically the conniving denial, victims of these crimes often do not report them. Victims may also engage in denial in an effort to make their reality more tolerable and prevent their reality from collapsing, which exacerbates the situation.
The result is a dissociation between affect and intellect. In the example I use, the person or child suppresses their feelings, thoughts and emotions related to the conflict issue through acts of repression and denial despite being aware that they have a problem.
In cases where family members engage in sexual misconduct, perpetrators often downplay the harm caused. In addition, among other members of society who use their position of power or notoriety for the same purposes.
Favorable character traits and denial
The overly helpful personality often uses this defense, which is why we often find in clinical work that individuals who attempt to improve the lives of others do so because they are unable to resolve their own conflicts.
By helping others, these individuals feel some relief from their own suffering.
Extremes can be harmful, especially when “the helper” attempts to manage and control the lives of others while pretending to be helpful.
If “the helper” continually risks his safety or sacrifices his health, he often has no idea that he is doing so. Being kind and helpful to others is a good thing, but helping oneself is above helping others; balance is the ideal middle ground.
Because they live in denial of their own problems, which serves as a form of self-defense, people who are in conflict with themselves often decide to initiate psychological therapy “to help someone they care about.
Denying change because of denial
Facing conflicts and shortcomings can be very challenging and difficult. However, it is possible to profit from experiences when there is acceptance. It requires constant effort and sustained will, which sometimes requires falling down repeatedly and getting back up again.
If this defense mechanism is used, a person’s ability to change can be diminished.
For example, one must recognize character flaws in order to change them. If you are not aware that “something is wrong,” how can you make a positive change?
Parents of children with different abilities or serious physical, psychological or psychiatric conditions must also overcome the barrier of denial to start treating a condition early and appropriately, according to the treatment recommended by health professionals.
This will improve the children’s quality of life and their ability to cope.
I don’t believe what they tell me, my child is doing very well. It also occurs when guardians are informed of inappropriate behavior or the manifestation of symptoms of other conditions that their children may have.
In this way, the individual experiences an emotional conflict, a stressful or upsetting reality, or both, while refusing or “refusing” to acknowledge a conflicting aspect of the circumstance that may be quite obvious to others.
This type of ego defense can give or take away characteristics of a person, circumstance or thing.
Doing so is only possible by accepting the obvious; how could someone who is unable to recognize that he or she has a condition treat himself or herself? The same can be said of dependencies to persons, actions and substances.
Adverse judgment, which is a product of the destructive instinct and has implications, serves as an intellectual replacement for repression.
Denial is one of the first barriers to break down in complex processes in which it is necessary to let go of a person, either because the interaction with that person is harmful or to overcome the difficult process of mourning when there is a serious illness, either of a loved one or of the individual him/herself.
By doing this, one can begin to work on the changes necessary for biopsychosocial health.
With information from Miryam Gomez Obregon for psicoactiva.com