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JewishJournal.com

May 3, 2010

Denial. D.E.N.I.A.L.

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/httpaskyouryentacom20091231denial-d-e-n-i-a-l/

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Photo courtesy of www.davidhenrygerson.com.

Hey Bubby,

So a close female friend of mine told me a couple of months
ago that a friend of hers had just moved here and suggested we hang
out. I met her friend for drinks and we ended up making out at the end
of the night. I told my friend about it a couple of days later -
expecting her response to be anywhere from ambivalent to supportive -
but instead she responded, “I will tell her not to date you.”

Apparently, she thinks I was an asshole to one or two of my
ex-girlfriends. (I really didn’t do anything that terrible to them.)
I’ve seen her friend a couple of times since and I’m not crazy about
her or anything, but my friend’s threat has really gotten under my
skin. Why would she be friends with me if she thinks like that? I
don’t want my friendship with her to end, but I don’t think I can be
friends with someone who feels like that about me. I don’t know what
to say to her and she’s ignored me when I’ve tried to continue the
conversation. Basically, it seems like she’s done talking about it.
Also, she isn’t jealous like she wants to date me or anything.
That’s not the issue.

-Zadie In Waiting

Dear ZIW,

Might you be in denial? According to MindDisorders.com, “Denial is the refusal to acknowledge the existence or severity of unpleasant external realities or internal thoughts and feelings.” It seems to me that when a woman tries to protect her friends against the perils of dating a man, it is never in vain or without prompt. What happened with these exes? Did you unwittingly behave in a way unbecoming of yourself?

I don’t think any of this is so weird. You can love your guy friends as buddies, but not want them to go near the hearts of your female friends if you know they can be hurtful. Romantic involvement is not what your relationship with this friend entails, so the judgment of that side of you is null and void to your friendship. If she were IN love with you and thought you were a jerk when it came to dating, then you might want to question the integrity of your interactions.

It sounds like she cares about you, but doesn’t love the idea of you hurting another friend. It also sounds like she is controlling the conversation. But if you are in denial, then that is a pretty typical response. Some people hate going in emotional circles. When they know something and they find their partner in conversation faking like that shit doesn’t exist, well, continuing in that manner can be a sincere waste of time. Try reading The Elephant in the Room: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life by Eviatar Zerubavel to better understand this phenomenon.

Her girlfriends are going to trump you, because life sucks like that sometimes. So, do some personal gravedigging and yank up those skeletons. Re-visit the endings to those relationships and see if maybe you forgot to see something in the mirror of your ways. I wouldn’t abandon this friendship, I would abandon the self-avoidance.

According to LiveStrong.com 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.
* Recognizing the negative consequences that result from our denial behavior.
* 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 that denial is a natural stage in the loss/grief response.
* Believing that out of failure comes success; accepting the failure as a chance for personal growth.

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