15 Things You Tell Yourself When You're Living In Complete Denial

You're making excuses for yourself and other people.

Man in denial RollingCamera | Canva 

In life, there are some truths we encounter that are almost too difficult to bear, so many people hide them away by making excuses or living in denial. But whatever you're denying or brushing under the rug needs to be confronted.

Otherwise, it will hold you back from finding happiness.

Denying painful truths is a completely human response. When you feel threatened, your limbic system biologically responds by going into a survival state called the fight or flight response. "Fight" can be physical or verbal, while "flight" is the act of running away through silence, tears, or ... complete and total denial.


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Confrontation is scary when you don’t believe you have the skills to win. So, fearing survival, you search for a protective mechanism that provides you with a sense of relief: denial.

Through denial, you can avoid looking at realities that are too painful. And by refusing to acknowledge your negative emotions and feelings, you can manage anxiety, frustration, distress, and loneliness. You can survive situations and toxic people where you feel immobilized or helpless.

Denial allows you to remain in dysfunctional families, toxic relationships, and unhealthy work environments.


But, your denials also help you hide:

  • Your views ("My funny and engaging spouse has been absent in his love and care for me for the past three months.")
  • Your beliefs ("Most relationships go through dark times where partners won’t talk to each other.")
  • Your notions ("It's okay that my spouse is absent sometimes because he makes more money than me/is more beautiful/is more loving.")

Excuses and defenses such as these are denials of much deeper issues that prevent you from being creative, powerful, and happy.

How do you know if you are living in denial and ignoring your feelings about yourself or your relationships? Listen carefully to the language you use and the excuses you give for people’s behavior.

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Here are 15 things you tell yourself when you're living in complete denial:

1. "I am not angry."

2, "I don’t hold grudges."

3. "All I need is time for recovery and I’ll be fine."

4. "She didn’t mean to slap me."

5. "My mother loves me. It is just that sometimes she gets frustrated with me. That is why she says those hateful things."

6. "When I lose these ten pounds, I’ll exercise more because I’ll feel better."



7. "My father is a good man. He might drink and get drunk and mean, but who doesn’t?"

8. "I forgive people immediately when they wrong me."

9. "I will never be like my father/mother."

10. "When I get out of credit card debt, my money issues will be solved."

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11. "I know that our relationship didn’t work before, but this time it will be different."

12. "My inner self-talk is always positive."



13. "I’m not like most people; I know when relationships are sour."

14. "I’ll get help when I need it."

15. "I can quit whenever I want."

When you live in excessive denial, the physical and emotional strain can result in self-destructive behaviors — like lying, not owning up to your mistakes, being untrustworthy, lack of motivation, fatigue, or addictions to food, exercise, gambling, cigarettes, alcohol, social media, television, cutting, or drugs.


Denial also has another cost: You are doomed to repeat the patterns of dysfunction that created your protective mechanism, which means you will pass this dysfunctional system of coping forward to your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Whatever emotions or feelings you deny persist until you bring them to the surface, face them, and release them. While getting a personal coach will assist you in achieving emotional health faster, you can start today by creating a moral inventory of your self-destructive behaviors and the denials behind them.

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Sherry Winn is a motivational speaker, a two-time Olympian, a national championship basketball coach, and an Amazon bestseller.