Denial. I used to live wrapped up in its hypnotically charged blanket, succumbed into thinking I was safe in my little bubble of “happiness”. But recovery requires the acknowledgment and embracing of truths that can be hurtful, painful to recall, enraging, etc. The second half of Chapter 3 from Love is a Choice discusses this exact point.
“If the effects of codependency are so glaringly obvious, why bother with counseling? After all, surely the sufferer need simply identify with the problem and take steps to resolve it…
Codepdendents with significant unmet emotional needs are masters of denial. It comes built in. For their whole lives, these people have been living a lie – pretending, wishing, yearning that their lives were lovely when in reality they were unbearably painful emotionally and perhaps physically. They can’t stop lying now. If reality sinks in, the wracking past will surface with all its open sores, its pockets of pus and filth. Codependents have spent a lifetime burying that mess. Denial, therefore, becomes a major hurdle to healing. In fact, healing cannot behind until denial dealt with properly.”
This was so much easier said than done for me when I first started on my journey towards a freer place. I had come to love and adore my Denial. It provided a safe place where I could continue to float in a chasm of serenity. But that peace that I thought I was experiencing was all a facade. It was a unit built with cushioned walls of lies that I had told myself so often they became truth. I could no longer distinguish reality from insanity, and I was doing the same things over and over in my relationships expecting different results. So while Denial can definitely provide a temporary state of “happiness”, it ultimately destroyed my willpower and kept me suspended in one place for a long time.
Getting out of that deceptively beautiful bubble was honestly so difficult. When therapy was first suggested to me, I had this negative stigma about mental health that instantly aroused my defenses. However, my life was slowly spinning out of control and I was so tired of keeping up this pretense of being perfect that I was willing to try anything. So I found Nan and I found a CoDA meeting and those two outlets slowly coaxed me from my death grip on Denial. Man, that was a painful process-I had to examine wounds I didn’t even realized existed. But each community wrapped their comforting arms around me and walked with me through my stages of grief.
So, yes, I know how amazing your safe place can be; it keeps all the bad things out of your life. But what you may not realize is that Denial is a darkness within, and if we barricade ourselves from outside harm, we are trapping our hearts in with a different kind of evil. And that will ultimately consume us.
We cannot let that darkness win. It’s time to break out of your cage. Freedom is waiting.