Living in Denial

Living in denial is a way of life for someone with Borderline Personality Disorder.
I’m sure I lived in denial of my actions and circumstances for years. I may still be doing so, but if so I can’t exactly see it, because the only perspective I have is my own and I can’t see how other people see me. It’s all speculation from my perspective. 
Denial is a defense mechanism in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.
An excerpt from Out of the Fog:
Most people find themselves in denial in everyday living situations, particularly in handling threatening situations, grief or loss. This is quite normal not to face reality – or pretend it does not exist, as one struggles to cope with difficult circumstances.
Denial can result from experiences, memories or information which contradicts our world view resulting in cognitive dissonance. Cognitive Dissonance is a psychological term for the discomfort that most people feel when they encounter information which contradicts their existing set of beliefs or values. People who suffer from personality disorders often experience cognitive dissonance when they are confronted with evidence that their actions have hurt others or have contradicted their stated morals.
However, with personality disorders, there is a phenomenon known as dissociation – which is a more pervasive, destructive form of denial – where a person is not merely disregarding, neglecting or avoiding the truth but rather forms a conviction or belief around a fictitious set of beliefs and attempts to impose, force or project that fictitious version of reality onto others.
Examples:
A family member calls you on the telephone and 5 minutes later insists that it did not happen.
A spouse commits an act of violence and later refuses to acknowledge it.
A child cannot recall an incident of parental abuse.
A divorced woman lives as though her ex-spouse is still living with her.
What Not to Do:
NT’s can sometimes be stunned to discover that the personality disordered individual in their lives completely believes a completely false reality they have invented. It is common for NT’s to spend a great deal of effort fruitlessly trying to reason, cajole or argue with a personality disordered individual into “snapping out of it”, “waking up and smelling the coffee” or “facing the facts”. It can be hard for NT’s to accept that for a person who is dissociating, the denials they are expressing are the facts – at least at that time – for them.
Under such circumstances, standard communication or negotiation techniques are ineffective – since they are built on the premise that both parties can agree on what the facts are, have the ability to reason and can work towards a common interest or compromise.
What To Do:
Accept that each person’s reality is their own property and everyone has the right to believe what they want to believe, think what they want to think and experience their own world without intimidation, control or persecution. That applies to the personality-disordered individual in your life and it also applies to you. That will mean you may have to “agree to disagree” on important facts, history or conclusions.
Remind yourself that one person’s opinion of you does not define you. You are you. Seek out the counsel of wise, caring and supportive people who you can trust to help you rebuild your self-esteem.
If someone says something which you believe isn’t true, it is appropriate to declare “I don’t see it that way”. Once!
{ -What I like about this is that it is non-confrontational way to approach a disagreement. Often when you are in disagreement with someone as emotionally volatile as one with a Borderline Personality Disorder they will react strongly and lash out at any affront to their world view or perception. “I” statements, do not imply anything wrong with the other persons perspective, only that you are coming from a different place. – Haven }
If you, or any children in your care, are being exposed to abuse of any kind, take appropriate action to protect yourself and your children.
After that it is appropriate to walk away from any further discussion and go about living your life in an emotionally and physically safe, healthy, and productive way.


Hm. I agree for the most part but not about the dissociative tie in. I do have a pretty severe dissociative disorder and I don’t agree that it is a form of denial. Not in the way they phrase it, “… forms a conviction or belief around a fictitious set of beliefs and attempts to impose, force or project that fictitious version of reality onto others.”  In my experience, dissociation is not something I can choose to do. It’s a slipping out of my reality. I can ‘check in’ and know that I am actually in reality but I feel other. It’s not a choice by any means. It’s something that happens in order to remove me from a painful or uncomfortable experience, but I can still perceive the world around me in a way that is not delusional. It’s also not something I project, or even can project, onto anyone else. It’s a sense of being detached and removed from others, not imposing onto others. I talk a lot about dissociation, depersonalization, and derealization.
Anyways.
Denial. This is pretty much how I lived in my relationship with Evil-Ex. I wanted to believe the lies and manipulations he told me to keep me, which were in complete opposition to how he acted, in complete opposition to what I believed I deserved, in complete opposition to what I wanted from a significant other. I knew how he was treating me, but I couldn’t reconcile it with my emotional attachment to him, what I wanted from him, and lived in a state of perpetual denial. I also lived in a state of denial that my actions and reactions were appropriate; for most of my life really. Instead of being able to see {in reality} what I was doing, I was/am only able to feel how it affects me. I know the circumstances that ‘caused’ these feelings, and from there how I reacted was ‘justified’.  I may have been overreacting but I wasn’t wrong. I was the wronged. In my relationship with Evil-Ex I actually was the wronged. However, my relationship with my parents and siblings growing up, this was not the case. I was wrong and in utter denial that the way I functioned in my world was not appropriate.
I want to make this clear. Just because we have a Personality Disorder does not make us always wrong in our perceptions. They may be skewed, but like anyone else in this world we occasionally are on the receiving end of misbehavior which is not a product of our disordered reality.  I also want to say that denial is generally subconscious and not intentional. In order to heal, we must get out of denial.
*NT = Neuro-Typical. I use this to refer to people that are not Personality Disordered. A lot of places use Non {BPD} as well.

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