Denial – Retribution – Forgiveness
Posted on 28th May 2020 at 11:23
Very often in therapy, the core of the mental health condition will be somewhere in the Past. Human beings are driven by two main forces: moving away from Pain and moving towards Pleasure.
Denying awareness of a traumatic, crucial or significant event(s) from the past is definitely an attempt to move away from Pain. Naturally we do not want to go back to something that can be hurtful and may inflict feelings of discomfort.
Denial is the refusal of something that is requested or desired. In therapy Denial is one of the defence mechanisms that is used by the client for omitting experiences that could have been too difficult or painful to accept. When a past event that still have emotional hold on us have been ‘buried under the carpet’ and we just pretend it is not there we say that we are in denial. We may try to fool ourselves that we have ‘forgotten’ or that ‘it was not so important, or try not to ‘think’ about it. But the emotional impact of this memory is still here in the present, affecting how we view life and the world, the formation of our belief system, how we think of oneself and how we choose and engage in our relationships.
The state of Denial creates internal tension and discrepancy between our complex needs and the reality. Being in denial of a Past that needs resolution leads to Retribution in the form of self-punishment, inflicted in the Present through thinking of and engaging with life and oneself in negative, disempowering ways. It is presenting in the feelings of embarrassment, shame, anger, resentment, fear, anxiety; feeling not good enough, powerless, inadequate, damaged or insignificant.
The antidote to Denial is Acknowledgement. The way to change is through therapy, working toward acceptance of those events in your life that have been left unaddressed and unresolved. Omitting parts of the past experiences is like cutting off a limb and expecting to run a race. But it takes time and commitment to find the right way to move on and there is no quick fix. Facing the past for what it was and dealing with those crucial events, feelings and perceptions initially may be scary and painful. The result, however, is liberating.
Resolving the Past is a process that involves many aspects of the human conditions with one of those been the ability for Forgiveness. Forgiveness is the freedom of emotional dependency to anger, resentment and many other different arrays of negative involvement. Although not particularly easy to achieve, it is a necessary therapeutic outcome. Forgiveness is grace, reconciliation, compassion and mercy… to the ones that wronged you, even if they do not deserve forgiveness.
Our brain is able to change and overcome trauma. Neuroplasticity allows to rebuild certain areas of our brain through engaging in behaviours and understandings that help us heal and change. It allows the neurons to compensate for a damage by reorganizing and forming new connections. That reorganization needs to be stimulated through the right activity. Therapy can provide the right environment and tools for that reorganization.
Psychotherapy is a powerful and sophisticated journey that is not only about talking but doing. When awareness is achieved, it gives you the potential power to change. Only when you begin to actively employ the new ways of thinking, behaving and engaging with others by knowing who you want to become, the internal shift will happen and transformation will take place.
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