In Denial…

There are some folks in Alabama and around the country who believe the stories about Roy Moore molesting teenage girls are “fake news.” 

factcheck dot org
We’ve heard a lot about “fake news” lately. Before we called it fake news, we called it denial.

Remember when the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal first blew up? No? Well let me tell you, there were LOTS of faithful Catholic priests and higher-ups, including Pope Benedict, calling it fake news. Of course while they publicly denied the allegations, privately they worked to protect themselves from lawsuits and prosecution.

I previously worked in social services and have seen denial in many forms. I’ve heard attorneys and social workers who were supposed to be on the side of victims make comments about the child victim either lying or asking for it.

I watched adult women be allowed to resign rather than fired and prosecuted for having inappropriate relationships with incarcerated teenage boys, because to do so would bring scrutiny on the administration. Some of those women went on to work with children in other jobs.

But the most memorable act of denial occurred during a parole hearing at a high security prison. I attended the hearings as a part of my job, and they’re typically boring affairs. The offender is first asked to tell about his crime, then others may speak on why they are for or against granting parole. Sex offenders up for parole come up with some pretty creative ways to describe their crimes. One old man talked about it being an accidental occurrence. The hearing officer asked the old man how it could have been an accident THAT many times. Another guy danced around his crimes by calling it “the incident.”

This particular parole hearing was for a man convicted of molesting a family member under the age of 5. Numerous family members, including the offender’s mother, attended the hearing on his behalf. When the hearing began and the officer asked the offender to describe his crime, the offender stated, “I did it,” at which point his mother jumped up and began screaming at the top of her lungs, “No you did not do it!” The inmate turned around, looked at his mama, and said, “Yes, I did.” Other family members also became agitated. Extra officers were called in and the hearing officer told everyone to either sit down and be quiet or leave.


Denial is a powerful mental process that keeps us from accepting a truth we do not want to see. It’s what keeps neighbors and co-workers from seeing problematic behavior in the guy next door prior to his killing his family and then himself. It’s why so many are quick to accept that trusted news sources are spouting “fake news.”

It’s why Donald Trump can spout the most ridiculous shit on Twitter, and 1/3 of the American population accepts it as OK.

I’ve had my own bouts with denial. Most recently I experienced it when the vet told me of Rumpy’s diagnosis. Same with June Buggie and Bubba. I knew they were dying, but I didn’t want to accept it, until I had to. The gang are due for annual vaccinations but I’ve put it off, as though not going to the vet will ensure they won’t get sick.

Denial is much easier than facing reality. Reality is painful. And it sucks. 


jung quote

Denial is why I’ve muted several people I’m connected with on Facebook. It’s painful to me to read their hate-filled posts about guns, or immigrants, or of anyone who doesn’t blindly support Trump. I know them, and I like them, so it’s easier to deny it’s happening. Besides, I reason, they’re in denial too and won’t listen to any argument against their stance on these subjects.

I hope that one day we as a nation will be ready to collectively face some hard truths about ourselves. But many of us are still rehashing the 2016 election. And it’s been over 150 years since the Civil War ended yet we still haven’t come to grips with the truth about that either.

Until we are ready to face the hard truths, we will continue to suffer from not acting in our collective best interest. Instead we will act in the best interest of those who exploit our denial.

29 thoughts on “In Denial…

  1. Denial is the most effective non-prescription medication against reality. From dumbest to smartest, no one is exempt from it, either. In fact, I think that the smartest of us are the most clever at making denial seem perfectly rational. We combine denial with massive rationalizations to create an alternate reality that others may actually believe.

    I went through that with each dog, each cat, my own heart, with both cancers, with my dying brother, dying mother … each time … and eventually, I took a mental cold shower and did what needed doing. You are brave to write about it. It is difficult to admit it, but it also takes courage to speak about it.

      1. when you find out the reason for it let me know because all I have found in recent years when some one is in denial that person makes our lives hell as it is with my mother in-law she has always been in denial about being diagnosed with dementia and the last 3 to 4 years she has made our lives hell accusing us of all sorts of crap from trying to poison her to steal from her to trying to make out she has lost her marbles to take her money oh and being accused of assaulting her too and being threatened with the police on a daily basis yet it is all delusions that she has created because of her denial….now she is to far gone to even try to explain it all to her because what ever you say doesn’t even go in and register on her brain and she just doesn’t understand what we even say to her half the time and yet I have had other friends who have gone through this with parents and they were total opposite and worked to get all the help they could to make life easier for those who take care of them…..sorry I just get frustrated with it all to me Denial is just counter productive and negative,xx Rachel

      2. Thank you,it’s not just her denial,it the families as well,there are things that need doing,and they are dragging their butts on it all,I can see what needs to be done but trying to get them to act is nigh impossible,they all need to face reality and get on with things,I guess I am a bit more pragmatic with things always have been,I find it easier to be like that.anyway many hugs to you and the kitties,xxxx Rachel

  2. It is time that people felt that it is okay to talk about all of their experiences. Many are shamed into being quiet. That has never been my problem. If you don’t want to hear the truth, stop listening to me. 45 has done more to destroy truth than any other person ever.

  3. Hearing so many Republicans now turning against Moore reminds me of what Obama said about Fox News in 2008: if Fox criticizes the Bush Administration, then you know it’s BAD. Discussing sexual misconduct or the brutality of criminal behavior is always uncomfortable because most people really don’t want to think of such transgressions. It’s just too difficult to realize that some human beings could actually do those things. Trying to understand why is even more cumbersome. It just goes against what we consider the norm for human activities. But these things HAVE to be discussed, or we’ll never be able to deal with them on any level.

  4. And denial is also the source of so much bigotry, too: anything rather than admit what one truly feels, or has done – hate others instead. Thank you for this excellent post! Pip and the boys

  5. The news surrounding the Alabama senate campaign (as well as the presidency) is confounding. It is incomprehensible the things both men have been accused of and have done. More incomprehensible is that people believe in the denials in the face of evidence. And I find in seeing the reaction by many, a deep foreboding sense of fear that ‘these people walk among those who can see it.’ Such a horrid realization I am struggling with and can’t seem to make sense of. I need to truly explore the question “Why do we deny” reality? Making sense of this is going to be hard. And will probably add to the pain of some terrible realizations of the capacity of mankind.

      1. I am the opposite. I have not had a whole lot of denying . Except when death is involved then it gets me. Though out my life I didn’t deny my problems and situations. I took them straight on and tried to fix, or solve . Have always been that way.

  6. Finally, getting to important posts since my big move…..And, I have a friend who was from the Stolen-Generation. He was sent to Italy to be raised by priests. When they were about 8 and proved to be difficult children they were returned to Australia to be raised by you guessed it other priests. You should check our Reverend Pell in Australia. The church has many secrets! Cheers,H

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