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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂