Intervention – Slapping a Nation In Denial

As a nation, we all agree that we want to soar. The question is do we have the wings to soar? How do we grow our wings so that we may soar? Otherwise, we will be in the too-familiar “failure-to-launch” syndrome. From time to time, we need to reexamine what we are doing and determine if we should still continue to be doing it. This examination allows us to have a clearer understanding of what our core aspirations are and what actions we are or must be taking to make our aspirations come true. As Stephen Covey’s observes (rightfully or wrongly) and to which I agree – “Public behavior is merely private character writ large”. We need to remember that a sense of achievement – or what we often refer to as pride springs from the day-to-day actions we take and the choices we make.

What achievements do we have to show for as a nation? Asia’s Laggard, The Sick Man of Asia, A Nation of Servants, One of the Most Corrupt ASEAN Countries, The Deadliest Country For Journalists – Do you really want to kumbaya or do you want to get out of this slippery slope we are on? We were not hit by the recession – with good reason – because there was nothing to hit in the first place! The Philippine economy is at rock bottom. Yes, the economy is be growing, from the bottom of the barrel to just slightly above the bottom of the barrel. Yes, the economy is growing but the population is growing at rate higher than we can provide jobs, schools, and infrastructure. We want investors to come and yet we have a protectionist constitution. We want to present ourselves as a modern nation yet we manage and develop our public infrastructure incompetently. We want peak performance and we elect slackers.

What gives? What’s going on? Someone has to step on the brakes and say… HOLD IT.. STOP IT.. THIS IS NOT RIGHT! WE ARE HEADED IN THE WRONG DIRECTION – WE ARE DOING THE SAME THINGS AND EXPECTING THE SAME RESULTS. How many times have I seen a friend or family member in a disastrous relationship – emotional, business, personal which led them to losing their house, losing their savings, being stuck in debt. I as a friend, believe have the obligation to tell my friend the truth nasty as it may sound – for one purpose, to snap out of the destructive behavior and move on, otherwise I wouldn’t be a friend. But, as you and I know – that’s easier said than done. I  have to be there, I have to catch my friend when he/she falls, I have to cheer them on in their moments of triumph, and when they need it – a reality check. And when they are in denial, intervention, even. I know my friend will do the same for me – otherwise, he/she is not being a true friend to me.

What is Denial?

Changingminds.org provides a concise summary of denial

Denial is simply refusing to acknowledge that an event has occurred. The person affected simply acts as if nothing has happened, behaving in ways that others may see as bizarre.

In its full form, it is totally subconscious, and sufferers may be as mystified by the behavior of people around them as those people are by the behavior of the sufferers. It may also have a significant conscious element, where the sufferer is simply ‘turning a blind eye’ to an uncomfortable situation.

Example

  • A man hears that his wife has been killed, and yet refuses to believe it, still setting the table for her and keeping her clothes and other accoutrements in the bedroom.
  • A person having an affair does not think about pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
  • People take credit for their successes and find ‘good reason’ for their failures, blaming the situation, other people, etc.
  • Alcoholics vigorously deny that they have a problem.
  • Optimists deny that things may go wrong. Pessimists deny they may succeed.

Discussion

Denial is a form of repression, where stressful thoughts are banned from memory. If I do not think about it, then I do not suffer the associated stress have to deal with it. However, people engaging in Denial can pay a high cost in terms of the psychic energy needed to maintain the denial state.  Repression and Denial are two primary defense mechanisms which everybody uses.
Children find denial easier, as with age, the ego matures and understands more about the “objective reality” it must operate within.  Denial is one of Freud’s original defense mechanisms.

So what?

When you appear to deny a situation, then the other person may join you in the denial or may have to handle it in a way that is not as direct as they otherwise might.

How is Denial Handled?

I am not a certified psychologist, so I would rather have a licensed professional provide a professional opinion. The author – James J Messina, PhD, is a licensed psychologist with more than 35 years of experience counseling individuals and families. Messina, who specializes in adult and children psychotherapy, serves as Director of Psychological Services at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa, Fla. He has a private practice in Tampa and is also a member of the American Psychological Association. Here’s what he wrote:

What is denial?

* Being unwilling to face problems on either a conscious or subconscious level.
* Acting as if there are no problems to face.
* A defensive response; protection from pain, hurt or suffering.
* A mask to hide feelings or emotions behind.
* A way to avoid conflict, disagreements or disapproval from others.
* A way to avoid facing the negative consequences of reality.
* A way of retaining our sanity when experiencing unbearable pain.
* A way to repress the truth of our loss, a way to continue to function in “normally.”
* A pattern of life for individuals who are compulsively driven to “look good.”
* A way to avoid the risk of change as a result of problems or loss.


How does denial look to others?

Persons in denial:
* Appear to be irrational to those who know the problems and losses they have suffered.
* Appear to be calm and relaxed to those who do not know the problems and losses they have suffered.
* Are a cause of frustration to those who want them to confront the truth of the problem or loss honestly.
* Appear to be unemotional, apathetic or indifferent in the face of loss.
* Are considered pathetic and pitiable by those who have tried to confront them with the denial and have failed.
* Appear to be caught up in magical thinking about the loss involved.
* Appear to be excessively involved in fantasy thinking about the loss or problem.
* Appear to be childlike, very dependent on others to nurture them and reassure them that everything will be all right.
* Appear to be running away from the truth concerning their problems or loss.
* Appear to be avoiding or rejecting those who are intent on confronting them with their problems.
What are the negative consequences of unresolved denial?

Unresolved denial can result in:
* Delusional thinking, leading to a feeling that everything is OK, even when it is not.
* Greater conflict between the deniers and the non-deniers.
* Fantasy or magical thinking, allowing distorted thinking to become a habit.
* Poor problem-solving and decision-making abilities for the denier.
* The denier totally avoiding or withdrawing from everyone who knows of the loss or problem.
* The denier becoming a social recluse.
* Others avoiding the denier to avoid upsetting him with their concern, questions or reassurance.
* Frustration for those who want to help the denier.
* A maladaptive pattern of coping with the loss or problem for the denier.
* Everyone involved in the life of the denier joining the denial; the problem is not confronted honestly by those who can do something about it.
* Resentment by the denier of those who are confronting him about the problems or loss.
* Prolonging the time before the denier must confront the pain, hurt and suffering involved in the loss or problem.
* The denier projecting the problem or the results of the loss onto others.
* The denier’s use of rationalization to explain away the problem or loss.
* Exacerbation of the very problems being denied.

How can we confront denial in ourselves?

We can confront denial by:
* Asking ourselves honestly why we are in denial.
* Asking ourselves what are the benefits to be gained by our denial.
* Asking ourselves what is too painful to face.
* Recognizing when we are caught up in magical or fantasy thinking about our problem or loss.
* Recognizing the negative consequences that result from our denial behavior.
* Not allowing ourselves to fall back into a safe emotional zone, but to keep our emotional response open and honest.
* Recognizing when we are hiding behind a “nice” mask when discussing our loss or problems.
* Allowing ourselves to express negative or embarrassing emotions as we confront our problems (e.g., crying, feeling lost, feeling confused or feeling scared).
* Allowing ourselves to admit to being out of control.
* Trusting others to help us with our problem.
* Admitting our vulnerability and our need for assistance.
* Risking the loss of acceptance or approval by those who may be unable to handle our open, honest admission of our problem.
* Recognizing the negative behavior scripts that impede our ability to deal openly with problems.
* Recognizing that it is human to have problems and to experience loss; it is not a sign of our lack of value or worth.
* Refuting the irrational beliefs that block our acceptance of the loss or problems.
* Asking others to not allow us to deny or avoid the truth about our loss or problems.
* Recognizing that denial is a natural stage in the loss/grief response.
* Maintaining our sense of perspective, allowing ourselves to go through the problems as a growth experience.
* Believing that out of failure comes success; accepting the failure as a chance for personal growth.
* Accepting the help of others in the aftermath of our loss.

How can we cope with denial in others?

In coping with denial in others, we need to:
* Have a great deal of patience in order to allow them the time it takes to finally confront their loss or problems.
* Be accepting of the denial as a psychological defense that is a vehicle for them to retain their sanity.
* Be careful in confronting them so that they don’t run away or withdraw from reality even more.
* Be ready for their resistance in dealing with the truth about their loss and problems.
* Freely offer them our support and understanding.
* Accept them as they are, waiting to deal with the loss or problem until they are ready.
* Be ready with a rational perspective to help them refute their current irrational beliefs.
* Resist solving their problems for them; resist the desire to continue sheltering or protecting them from their loss or problems.
* Continue to let them know that there is support for them in dealing with the loss or problems. Let them face the existence of the loss or problem gently but continuously.
* Provide them with subtle means to face the problem by giving them magazine or newspaper articles, pamphlets or books on the subject; suggesting TV and radio programs on the subject, or proposing professional help.
* Recognize that if they are locked into a chronic state of denial, which is debilitating to their mental health, that a denial intervention may be necessary.

A denial intervention model

If a person close to you is using a chronic behavior pattern of denial injurious to his mental health, then the following intervention model may be useful in helping him break through this debilitating denial.

Step 1. Prepare a written script of incidents characteristic of the target person’s denial pattern of behavior. For each incident, list the following:
* The incidents where denial was used.
* When it occurred.
* What loss or problem was involved.
* What the negative consequences of the denial were.
* What could have happened if denial had not been used to resolve the problem or loss.
* Why and how this incident of denial has affected you personally.

Step 2. Seek out other people who are closely related to the target person. Ask these people to prepare a written script, as in Step 1, for incidents of denial with which they know the target person has been involved.

Step 3. Seek out the assistance of a counselor or mental health professional, if you believe the aftermath of a denial intervention with the target person may result in that person needing to get ongoing help


This is ANTIPINOY.COM. You are undergoing intervention – do not change the channel. LOL!

Nah, you are a free person, if you don’t like what you read here, you are free to leave. I believe  in censorship, with the qualification that I believe that each of us are the ultimate censors of what we want or do not want to see.

As Morpheus quipt to Neo, all I am promising you is the truth – nothing else.  After all, the truth, will set Filipinos free – free from destructive behavior, free from destructive memes, free from the mental cages that surrounded themselves since the time they were born. Without that truth, Filipinos will always be economic slaves of the oligarchs – they will be colonized by their very own elite. Freeing people from the mindset which has kept them reliant on the opinions of others solely, instead of listening to a variety of opinions and deciding for themselves is not an easy task. You are considered an enemy by the very people whose minds you are trying to awaken, to get unwired from the mob.

I admit the rawness of my words, I mean Rabindaranath Tagore’s version of what I said is definitely more profound –

My Country Awake

Where the mind is without fear and the head held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening thought and action;
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Snapping out of Denial is a crucial step in Self-Mastery

When each Filipino is truly empowered, rational, realistic having snapped out of denial, I will be singing hossanahs weaved from the words of the ancient sages.

He who rules his spirit has won a greater victory than the taking of a city, Proverbs, 16:32

He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still, Lao-tzu

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power, Lao-tzu

One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself., Leonardo da Vinci

It doesn’t matter how one was brought up. What determines the way one does anything is personal power. Carlos Castaneda quotes from Journey to Ixtlan

One who conquers himself is greater than another who conquers a thousand times a thousand on the battlefield.  Buddha quotes from The Dhammapada

The intelligent want self-control; children want candy. Mevlana Rumi quotes from Rumi Daylight: A Daybook of Spiritual Guidance

The lion who breaks the enemy’s ranks is a minor hero compared to the lion who overcomes himself. ~ Mevlana Rumi quotes from Rumi Daylight: A Daybook of Spiritual Guidance

So much so that when our self-mastery is embedded in our psyche and our private behavior is writ large, it will be that of a nation that has mastered itself. Do not put the cart before the horse, we are not there, yet. Till then, ANTIPINOY.COM will remain a voice in the wilderness, a wild man whose head is wanted on a silver platter. A wild man that keeps on howling GET REAL PHILIPPINES!!! Tandaan – nation-building is a marathon, not a 100 meter dash.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RijB8wnJCN0

Tame your inner anti-pinoy in ANTIPINOY.COM – the antidote to Da Pinoy Dysfunction.

Maganding gabi/tanghali/hapon/gabi po sa inyong lahat, maayong buntag/udto/hapon/gabii-i sa inyong tanan – suking tigbasa. 🙂

Bong V.

Advertisements

22 comments

  1. rafterman · ·

    Very well written BongV. I am glad and proud to be part of Antipinoy.com. The best Pinoy blog there is.

  2. I can’t get enough of quoting one of my favourite lines from The Rock:

    Losers whine about doing their best;
    Winners go home and [bonk] the Prom Queen.

    AntiPinoy provides the blueprint for the major makeover the Philippines needs to get itself on the road to bonking the proverbial Prom Queen. And that, by the way, is a metaphor, in case Mr GabbyD asks. 😀

  3. “The Rock”, to me, was (arguably) the last, good Sean Connery film.

    While reading this article though, i was reminded of a scene from another film that had Nick Cage in it. It was the famous scene in “Moonstruck” where Cher slaps Cage twice, yelling “Snap out of it!”. I imagined Cage as an “classic anti-pinoy” that deserved to be slapped hard for being in denial.

    Snap out of it, Philippines! Wake up and get real! This is what it’s all about!

    (SLAP!)

  4. Correction:

    …as A “classic anti-pinoy” WHO deserved to……

    (my OCD made me do this…) 🙂

  5. John Amend-All · ·

    Great, Bong. The last paragraph has real passion.

    I see this blog as a pair of firm, insistent hands, repeatedly turning Philippines around to look in the mirror at that which it just does not want to see.

  6. FreeSInce09 · ·

    Maayung hapun usab suking tigsulat!

    Well, tis a good thing but seeing as how people are too concerned about their own lives it’s going to take a while before people start getting real.

  7. Great article, great reflection about the Philippines. Hope something beautiful will happen to our motherland. Perhaps, we need a miracle, and this time it should come from the people. So vote wisely!

  8. UP n grad · ·

    GabbyD was just asking why you answer rudely when he asks for clarification.

  9. GabbyD is way too immersed in Political Correctness – that’s so uncool 😀

  10. Thanks John. Ang problema nito, tinutulungan mo na, ikaw na ang inutangan, ikaw pa ang masama.

  11. Kay unsa pa man diay Free.

    The thing is someone needs to start speaking up..

    “First they came …” is a popular poem attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group. In Niemöller’s first utterance of it, in a January 6, 1946 speech before representatives of the Confessing Church in Frankfurt, it went (in German):[1]

    First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.

  12. I wonder if “slapping” is enough. Maybe you need a good heck of a whack with a two-by-four a la Hacksaw Jim Duggan… that’ll crack enough hard heads. LOL

  13. Thanks Jansen.

  14. ayan ChinoF, kaya nagtatalak ang mother superior ng combento ng FV 😀

  15. Eto naman is from a Lebanese poet by the name of Kahlil Gibran one of my faves:

    My Countrymen

    What do you seek, my countrymen?
    Do you desire that I build for
    You gorgeous palaces, decorated
    With words of empty meaning, or
    Temples roofed with dreams? Or
    Do you command me to destroy what
    The liars and tyrants have built?
    Shall I uproot with my fingers
    What the hypocrites and the wicked
    Have implanted? Speak your insane
    Wish!

    What is it you would have me do,
    My countrymen? Shall I purr like
    The kitten to satisfy you, or roar
    Like the lion to please myself? I
    Have sung for you, but you did not
    Dance; I have wept before you, but
    You did not cry. Shall I sing and
    Weep at the same time?

    Your souls are suffering the pangs
    Of hunger, and yet the fruit of
    Knowledge is more plentiful than
    The stones of the valleys.
    Your hearts are withering from
    Thirst, and yet the springs of
    Life are streaming about your
    Homes — why do you not drink?

    The sea has its ebb and flow,
    The moon has its fullness and
    Crescents, and the ages have
    Their winter and summer, and all
    Things vary like the shadow of
    An unborn god moving between
    Earth and sun, but truth cannot
    Be changed, nor will it pass away;
    Why, then, do you endeavour to
    Disfigure its countenance?

    I have called you in the silence
    Of the night to point out the
    Glory of the moon and the dignity
    Of the stars, but you startled
    From your slumber and clutched
    Your swords in fear, crying,
    “Where is the enemy? We must kill
    Him first!” At morningtide, when
    The enemy came, I called to you
    Again, but now you did not wake
    From your slumber, for you were
    Locked in fear, wrestling with
    The processions of spectres in
    Your dreams.

    And I said unto you, “Let us climb
    To the mountain top and view the
    Beauty of the world.” And you
    Answered me, saying, “In the depths
    Of this valley our fathers lived,
    And in its shadows they died, and in
    Its caves they were buried. How can
    We depart this place for one which
    They failed to honour?”

    And I said unto you, “Let us go to
    The plain that gives its bounty to
    The sea.” And you spoke timidly to
    Me, saying, “The uproar of the abyss
    Will frighten our spirits, and the
    Terror of the depths will deaden
    Our bodies.”

    I have loved you, my countrymen, but
    My love for you is painful to me
    And useless to you; and today I
    Hate you, and hatred is a flood
    That sweeps away the dry branches
    And quavering houses.

    I have pitied your weakness, my
    Countrymen, but my pity has but
    Increased your feebleness, exalting
    And nourishing slothfulness which
    Is vain to life. And today I see
    Your infirmity which my soul loathes
    And fears.

    I have cried over your humiliation
    And submission, and my tears streamed
    Like crystalline, but could not sear
    Away your stagnant weakness; yet they
    Removed the veil from my eyes.
    My tears have never reached your
    Petrified hearts, but they cleansed
    The darkness from my inner self.

    Today I am mocking at your suffering,
    For laughter is a raging thunder that
    Precedes the tempest and never comes
    After it.

    What do you desire, my countrymen?
    Do you wish for me to show you
    The ghost of your countenance on
    The face of still water? Come,
    Now, and see how ugly you are!

    Look and meditate! Fear has
    Turned your hair grey as the
    Ashes, and dissipation has grown
    Over your eyes and made them into
    Obscured hollows, and cowardice
    Has touched your cheeks that now
    Appear as dismal pits in the
    Valley, and death has kissed
    Your lips and left them yellow
    As the autumn leaves.

    What is it that you seek, my
    Countrymen? What ask you from
    Life, who does not any longer
    Count you among her children?
    Your souls are freezing in the
    Clutches of the priests and
    Sorcerers, and your bodies
    Tremble between the paws of the
    Despots and the shedders of
    Blood, and your country quakes
    Under the marching feet of the
    Conquering enemy; what may you
    Expect even though you stand
    Proudly before the face of the
    Sun? Your swords are sheathed
    With rust, and your spears are
    Broken, and your shields are
    Laden with gaps, why, then, do
    You stand in the field of battle?

    Hypocrisy is your religion, and
    Falsehood is your life, and
    Nothingness is your ending; why,
    Then, are you living? Is not
    Death the sole comfort of the
    Miserable?

    Life is a resolution that
    Accompanies youth, and a diligence
    That follows maturity, and a
    Wisdom that pursues senility; but
    You, my countrymen, were born old
    And weak. And your skins withered
    And your heads shrank, whereupon
    You become as children, running
    Into the mire and casting stones
    Upon each other.

    Knowledge is a light, enriching
    The warmth of life, and all may
    Partake who seek it out; but you,
    My countrymen, seek out darkness
    And flee the light, awaiting the
    Coming of water from the rock,
    And your nation’s misery is your
    Crime. I do not forgive you
    Your sins, for you know what you
    Are doing.

    Humanity is a brilliant river
    Singing its way and carrying with
    It the mountains’ secrets into
    The heart of the sea; but you,
    My countrymen, are stagnant
    Marshes infested with insects
    And vipers.

    The spirit is a sacred blue
    Torch, burning and devouring
    The dry plants, and growing
    With the storm and illuminating
    The faces of the goddesses; but
    You, my countrymen, your souls
    Are like ashes which the winds
    Scatter upon the snow, and which
    The tempests disperse forever in
    The valleys.

    Fear not the phantom of death,
    My countrymen, for his greatness
    And mercy will refuse to approach
    Your smallness; and dread not the
    Dagger, for it will decline to be
    Lodged in your shallow hearts.

    I hate you, my countrymen, because
    You hate glory and greatness. I
    Despise you because you despise
    Yourselves.
    I am your enemy, for
    You refuse to realize that you are
    The enemies of the goddesses.

  16. Ma Xianding · ·

    Kumakanta na yun ng “how do you solve a problem line benign0, how do you catch a cloud and pin it down”…

  17. Persona Non Grata · ·

    I believe the last paragraph of BongV’s. My being anti-pinoy molded my character of seeing what is wrong with me and made me a better person so I will not be the brunt of criticism of all the anti-pinoys out there but be a part of the solution as a pinnacle of example. So, that I will have the right to “throw mud at Filipinos”. What good is a mud thrown at them when the mud is myself.

    If anyone care to visit FilipinoVoices for fun and entertainment, Nick made a subtle reference to AntiPinoy.com and its netizens.

  18. Catch a cloud eh? Maybe we should shout at them to get their heads out of it. hehe

  19. You guys have the best articles!

    I’ve read that article which i think calling AP writers disgraced Filipinos. Really, pointing out the ills of this country’s people does not make anyone a disgraced Filipino. But I understand they are threatened by AP now..you’re getting a huge share of their readers.

  20. kayo talaga oo, meron lang few na nag-disagree sa inyo and/or di pinakinggan ang mga sinabi nyo – in denial na kaagad ang buong nasyon!

    it seems all of you are just looking for justifications to your decision to migrate to the US, UK, Canada or Australia – so you stress on the, ugh, need to ‘improve’ the country you abandoned

    nag-migrate na nga kayo sa ibang bansa, what is it to you if the country is still “in denial”?

    for those who are in the US – di kaya kayo ang in denial? that the current financial crisis there “can’t be happening” to the “richest nation on earth”? so believing that “its much worse pa sa ‘pinas” gives you some comfort?

  21. waitwat · ·

    So what if some of them (I don’t know) are not in PH anymore? Automatically disowned as a Filipino? You can’t say anything critical about the people you lived with back then? That’s so stupid.

    “nag-migrate na nga kayo sa ibang bansa, what is it to you if the country is still “in denial”?”

    I think this is the most stupid statement I ever read. It’s like when you left your parent to fend for yourself, that you shouldn’t care for them anymore. You have no love for our country or its people if that’s what you believe.

    I’m still in PH, BTW. Just in case you brand me as the one that migrated to US or UK.

    Peace.

  22. this post isn’t even about migrating or staying..hello??
    so you think PH is in pretty good shape, huh? LOL!!! 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: