We all use a defense mechanism called denial. Denial is a refusal to recognize or believe the reality of a situation, a truth or a fact. It’s subconsciously used to protect us emotionally. It’s not necessarily lying, but it is dishonest. Denial clouds judgment so that we cannot clearly see ourselves or others.
Defensiveness is often a sign that denial is present. You may change the subject, avoiding the problematic belief. Ignoring important facts like in my above example is denial. Minimizing the consequences of your behavior when your partner complains is denial.
As humans, we become very emotionally conflicted when we behave in ways that don’t match our belief systems. This situation cannot peacefully exist for very long. We must create a new reality and find a logical explanation.
Story: Sally met and fell in love with Sam and they were married. Sally had a poor self image and had a subconscious belief that she was unlovable. It was fine initially during the romance part of their relationship, but as Sally’s insecurities began to emerge, she found herself unable to feel love from Sam. Sally is unable to see that her insecurities caused her to see proof of Sam’s waning love in everything he did. Sally developed a logical explanation (Sam treats me like crap) to protect herself from looking at her own issue. Once Sally could be honest about that insecurity, it created opportunities for Sam to reassure her of his love in a healthy way. Without this realization, Sally may have continued with her denial and resentment until the relationship withered.
When we can recognize our own denial, we begin to heal. Blaming our partners for problems or issues is a red flag for denial. Do you believe your partner is a jerk sometimes? Do you tell your friends your partner doesn’t know how to treat you? Does your partner tell you something yet you refuse to believe? Take some time to look at your own belief system around that issue.
Ok, this may be a little difficult for you, but winning is never easy. Remember, anytime your answer to a problem is “my partner needs to change”, it’s a sign you have a problem. Even if your partner is physically abusive and he SHOULD change, your problem is allowing yourself to be treated abusively.
Game Changer: Where are you blaming your partner? Explore the situation. What are you in denial about in regards to your own beliefs? Share this with your partner if you can. Let me know what you discover in the comments below.