Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

How to deal with someone’s denial

“Overcoming denial often depends on the nature of the problem. People often come to terms with the reality of a situation on their own given time and support.” (source). I suppose this answer is valid. Still, by not challenging someone’s denial, it may/will feel like denying someone’s denial.

In my past, I would confront someone’s denial. I used to believe that gentle healers make stinking wounds. My old tactics did not not work and only increased their denial. Denial is not a debate you can win. The more facts you present, the more (disputed) opinions will be heard.

Today, I’m just wondering whether I would spend my time wisely by confronting it. The outcome of that confrontation is highly predictable anyway: no change. So, why bother?

I suppose that we bother once we like or love that person. Hence, they are deemed worthy of our time. Once we do not like or love that person, we would just ignore that person, including their denial. The seeds of self-doubt that we planted, may still grow into their future healing.

Our empathy for a person may even result in our own pitfall, like the (literal) Dutch proverb: He who digs a hole for someone else, falls in it himself. They, who do not want to be helped, will view our empathy as an attack. We will also fall into our own pitfall as we may lose that loving feeling.

Hence, our empathy can easily become a double-edged sword by wounding them and ourselves.

Our (apparent) indifference might well be the best available and most dangerous tool. We use the arrow of time in their and our advantage. However, indifference may well become mutual. Still, what’s more important: their healing process, or your self-interest? I know my answer.

“Denial is a type of defense mechanism that involves ignoring the reality of a situation to avoid anxiety. Defense mechanisms are strategies that people use to cope with distressing feelings. In the case of denial, it can involve not acknowledging reality or denying the consequences of that reality.”

The opening paragraph of the 2022 article Denial as a Defense Mechanism

Sowing The Seeds Of Love (1989) by Tears For Fears
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-song

Sowing the seeds of love, seeds of love
Anything is possible when you’re sowing the seeds of love

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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