Crossing Denial

There’s this trait that runs wide and thick through my family. I first noticed it in my mother. If she didn’t want to see something, then it simply didn’t exist. For example, one time my teenaged sister went to a party, got extremely drunk, came home and passed out on the front porch. When my mother went outside to get the morning paper the next day, she saw her lying there and said, “Oh. You decided to sleep outside? It was a lovely night last night…” And then she went back inside and started breakfast.

When I told her I was being sexually abused by her husband, she informed me that I was making too much of it. La la la. When I started drinking at age 14 as a result, this escaped her notice. And she later assumed I was a virgin in my mid-twenties. Huh?

When that same teen-aged sister grew up and had kids of her own, she carried on this destructive tradition of denial. Many were the cries for help from her children that went unheeded. She went through life with her nose buried so deeply in a book that I’m surprised there weren’t permanent ink stains on its tip.

When the person who is supposed to take care of you prefers to live in a fantasy world, the result is you grow up never feeling quite safe. It causes you undue anxiety. It makes you struggle with trust.

Do I have this trait? Unfortunately I do. But I make an effort to resist it. As they say, knowing you have a problem is the first step. Luckily I have no children to damage, but I’ve certainly been self-destructive. The older I get, however, the more I realize that even though it may be uncomfortable to face facts and deal with them right away, in the long run the results are much more pleasant. If you keep your head in the clouds too much, you never get to see the sun.

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2 thoughts on “Crossing Denial

  1. lyn sutton

    My mother went to her grave in seemingly ignorant bliss regardless of how I tried to make her stand in the bright light of reality. But she died heavy with invisible wounds. I may have many visible scars, due to her denials, but at least my wounds have healed. I’m glad you continue to heal from the damage of your mothers denials.

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