The Other Side of Denial

Because We're All in it Together, by Debbie Richards


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Denial – It’s Okay (Or is it?)

I took a short break from blogging, which turned into a longer-than-expected break. Truth is, I’ve been in a transition period since ‘losing’ my full-time caregiver job, i.e., my father, a few months ago. While he was living with me, this past year, I kept my business going, somehow. Having a work-from-home business can be a blessing and a curse, all at the same time. There is no doubt the blessing part this past year, was being able to be home and take care of my dad. However, taking care of Dad was painfully difficult and created a situation whereby I was unable to focus on anything else – the curse. I would be living in a ridiculous state of denial if I did not confess this truth. Those who know me best know that I pride myself in being real. I don’t believe that putting up a front for others honors our true selves, so I tend to tell it like it is. There will be a touch of this honesty in every future blog post, no doubt, for it is who I am. Consider this your fair warning.

I learned much from watching my father in his last months. He was an interesting character, to say the least. He had an innate ability to live in denial; yet, at the same time he was a huge worrier. It was confusing to observe this, but thankfully I learned some life lessons that will forevermore stay with me. My denial antenna (the one that allows me to spot it in myself and others) has sharpened. I don’t mean finger-pointing, rather I mean, I recognize it and consider its necessity.

For example, yesterday I followed a FaceBook discussion where folks were debating whether or not feeding one’s children McDonalds is an indication of one’s love (or lack thereof) for their children. One woman had an extremely defensive reaction and stated that she was offended. That indeed she feeds her children McDonalds and (basically) it’s nobody’s business and certainly not a reflection of her love for her children.

This got me to thinking. I have very strong viewpoints on healthy eating and I was supportive of the initial FB post, “If you love your children, don’t feed them McDonalds.” However, I also understood the possible effects that a bold statement such as this might have on those who are unaware. Defensiveness is what ensued, followed by clarification, and then jokes. It is my belief that the offended woman chooses to live in denial that McDonalds might be unhealthy for her children. In fact, she might believe that taking her children to McDonalds is an act of love for them, since they enjoy it so much, denying the fact that doing so might teach them unhealthy eating habits . . . or worse, contribute to future health related problems.

Denying her children the joy of eating McDonalds food could be construed by some as child abuse. Okay, not likely, but the point is, there is a lesson to be learned by our

Real Food

Real Food - No Denial

own defensive response – if we happen to notice. Does this mother’s denial cause her to believe that McDonalds is a fine food for her children? Was there a possible lesson in it for her, that perhaps she could at least limit their McDonalds intake and teach them the reasons why? I hope this is the case.

By watching my father’s ability to completely deny certain obvious truths, I learned to be more aware of my own tendencies toward denial. But I also learned to be less judgmental toward others who are in the midst of a good ole bout of denial. Sometimes denial is good and healthy, after all. Unlike McDonalds.

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