Denial and the Monster Within

Denial very often operates like the typical plotline of a bad horror movie. 
We watch as the protagonist (often a young, beautiful woman) is sitting in a peaceful corner of her empty and secluded, century-old farmhouse. Suddenly she’s startled by a noise coming from the eerie dark bedroom down the hall. Sensing danger, she gathers a weapon, (usually a baseball bat) and tiptoes with trepidation to investigate further.

donde te esconderias si un asesino te persigue?
by liss_mcbovzia
She pauses just before entering the room and then boldly rushes in, only to find the window was not closed and the blinds were the “flapping culprit.”

Relief descends (we all heave a collective sigh) and watch as she closes the window and proceeds back to her peaceful spot …

Only to find the real intruder grabbing her from behind her bedroom door with a dagger!

Plot point A: She saw trouble where there was none.

And …

Plot point B: She didn’t see the real trouble where it lurked.

Yep, that just about summarizes how denial works in the life of one who has indulged this distorted focuswhether out of fear of what might be found or out of fear of what it might personally cost. 

Here’s how it works in married life:
Your spouse may tire of you constantly sounding the alarm and criticizing the small problems you see in him/her or even in your situation, while you seem to ignore the “big harry monsters” lurking in your own life.

Does this sound familiar? If it’s reflective of your life, then consider Jesus’ admonition in Matthew …

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5-3 (NIV)

Only problem with this is … we often (pardon the pun) “lose sight” of the way to take that speck denial out of our lives.

There are many ways, but I want to highlight two important ways I’ve found to be helpful:

  1. Ask God to reveal the sin. Pray the prayer found in Psalm 139:23-24 daily, being open to and watchful for what God reveals to you.  
  2. Open up to trusted, Christian friends. There’s a helpful technique developed by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingram called the Johari Window that helps us to see how increasing our self-disclosure to safe people will increase our ability to see our own faults and sins—crushing denial.

Once we are armed with this knowledge, we can hunt down our inner monster denial and save the day save our marriage and spouses a lot of pain and frustration!

How have you allowed denial to blind you to the true dangers lurking in your marriage and life? What will you do today to attack and take down the danger?

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Linking up with NOBH, Imperfect ProseWomen Living Well, and New Life Steward

  • Hmm – interesting one. I very much like your portrayal of denial as those things that we’re not worried about but should be. But then I’m worried about what I’m not worried about! I shall have to ponder, I think! I’ve also been thinking about marriage and love and how you keep working at it. Great minds think alike!

  • soulstops

    Ps 139:23,24 is a great place to start since God sees and knows all, and if we are truly open -another prayer- then God will reveal what we need to know…plus being open and humble to being corrected…I will have to check out your Johari link…Thanks, Beth 🙂

  • This is so true…great post…blessings~

  • smoothstones

    What a helpful post! Thank you.

  • Elizabeth

    The analogy was perfect, and yes, I was just praying about the log in my own eye this morning!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, addressing the denial in our lives would certainly keep and make our marriages stronger and healthier. I know, b/c I’ve been blinded by denial (and sometimes still am), but since I’ve been opening myself up for examination, I’ve watched how God has brought healing to my marriage and life. Thanks so much for stopping by, Tanya!

  • messymarriage

    It’s such a great prayer–one that I am committed to remembering and applying. Just recently, I’ve been praying it daily and it has been an eye-opener for me! Yes, Johari is very helpful. Hope you find it helps you as well, Dolly! Thanks so much for your encouragement!

  • messymarriage

    I’m glad you think so! Thanks for coming by, my friend!

  • messymarriage

    Good for you, Elizabeth! It’s a painful thing to pray for but it is truly rewarding once we see how God can use this reality-check in our lives and marriages. Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me!

  • Emily Wierenga

    i was reminded of this verse today when i was running and inwardly hurting because of something someone had done, and then it was as though God held up a mirror, and made me realize the log in my own eye. thank you for reinforcing this lesson, friend. bless you.

  • messymarriage

    Isn’t it amazing how God is able to open our eyes? I’m so glad that He’s doing that for you Emily … and for me too! 🙂

  • Kell

    Well put and so true! It is far too easy to see the speck in my husband and not to work on my own overwhelming shortfalls. Thanks for linking up with us at No Ordinary Blog Hop. Every blessing, Kelly