Are you in touch with reality?

Dr. Santy explains the phenomena, why it is a concern, theaters of its exhibition, and what is necessary to get past it.

The essence of psychologica denial is a refusal to look at, or acknowledge, reality.

Fortunately, reality exists outside of one’s head and is objective and verifiable. It is not altered by whim, desire, lies or myth. This is not to say that people might not believe ideas that do not conform to reality–in fact, they do so all the time. Just like Anna’s description of the child’s ego, the ego of an otherwise normal adult may also resort to childish, immature and primitive mechanisms when it feels threatened.

You would think it would be a simple matter to be “in touch” with reality. But it isn’t. It requires a great deal of cognitive effort–i.e., thinking–and often that effort must assert itself over powerful emotions that draw the person away from the real world to a place more comfortable and unchallenging to their inner reality.

So, how does a rational person determine what is true and what is delusion? How do you decide if something is a myth or is real?

metacognition? (see Metacognition and finding the light)

It reminds me of all the paranoid patients I have observed over the years, who effortlessly are able to dismiss or explain away those facts that don’t fit in with their carefully constructed conspiracy theories. If you get too assertive in pointing out those uncomfortable facts, you find yourself in no time fully integrated into the theory. For the paranoid, the case is closed and the argument is finished.

No matter the subject, you will find this all over the I’net. Nearly every discussion forum has threads that illustrate just how denial can lead to trash talk and unpleasant behavior.

When it suits their purposes (i.e., when they are losing the argument), they will resort to the claim that reality and truth are merely subjective constructs anyway, and that any evidence you present is only someone’s “opinion” and that their opinions are as good as anyone else’s.

Such a position should logically disqualify their position to begin with, but of course, it doesn’t

Generally they use this as their argument of last resort–when they cannot bring any facts or logic to support their position. After a brief escape into the relativism noted above, they will then usually proceed directly to the usual ad hominem attacks. Q.E.D.

The heat is so intense that people forget to step back and think about their thinking – and get burned. But thinking about your thinking is a form of psychotherapy. It may lead to revealing conflicting desires and needs. It may lead to a realization of a need for change. It may mean revealing a need to do something. Oh, my!

One of the most serious psychological challenges that any human being must face is to face reality, particularly when the consequences of confronting truth are personally unpleasant and very painful. That is exactly what psychological denial seeks to avoid doing.

What set her off was the appearance of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker on Capitol Hill and the political posturing. That hearing provided only the stimulus for several examples of correlation between denial behaviors and political persuasion. That may mean that you need to watch out for your own denial if you think she is attacking your political cohorts. One way to do that would be to read her post carefully and consider the behaviors and the observations without the political examples. Look at the selections quoted here as an example. Think. Meta-cognate. Consider your feelings and where you are coming from and why you are where you are in your view of things.

Good stuff. Read it all. carefully.

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