I know many people who live in a very happy place – a place where there are few challenges, where children are well behaved, where living is simple and carefree…a place where life is downright blissful. On occasion I have visited this magical land and I therefore know it exists. But, I never stay long enough and I always end up back home. This delightful and enchanting land is called, “Denial”.
My own visits to Denial have varied in length and my reasons for taking those trips are as numerous as the trips themselves. When I was younger I went in search of fantasy and fairytales and because I grew up believing in both, I had to be sure I left no stone unturned in my quest. Other trips were motivated by less joyous passions – fear, sadness, weariness, loss, and more often then not – selfishness. However, I always come home.
The residents of Denial always seem to be at peace. They whistle happily and say things like, “my children have NEVER given me one ounce of trouble and are smart, talented, and beautiful”, or, “my husband has never said a harsh word and treats me like a queen every moment of every day”, or, “I’m the perfect best friend and I’ve never let anyone down”. They are experts at pointing fingers, they don’t struggle under the burden of personal responsibility, and they seem to never experience shame or guilt. Who wouldn’t want to live in such a place?
A mother recently left a message on my phone telling me all the reasons her daughter’s bad choices were my fault and the fault of my children. My husband and I had made a choice in regards to our daughter and this mother wasn’t happy with our choice and said to me via the phone message, “you’re making my life hard”. I had a best friend who witnessed another friend pummel me with a torrent of judgment and lies. Instead of standing up for me, she took a long trip to Denial and settled in for a nice quiet vacation with the pummeling friend. Long stays in Denial change people and I lost my best friend.
Maybe I need a change. Maybe it’s time I pack my bags and move to Denial for good. The population in that spell-binding place is high, but I bet there’s room for one more!