Freud and The Power of Denial

It’s an old joke, but perhaps worth repeating. Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt! Freud spent decades observing people’s thoughts and came up with a long list of what he called “defense mechanisms,” the ego’s way to cope with stress! Defense mechanisms, he noted, are done unconsciously; we are not even aware that we are using them. The purpose he said, was twofold: To decrease pain and increase pleasure to the ego. Topping the list of these coping skills is DENIAL. Young kids about to get spanked are quick to yell out, “I didn’t do it.” BP seems to be in denial about the amount of oil gushing to the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. Alcoholics deny their drinking problems. Congressmen and preachers deny their sexual orientation—until caught in the act! (Politicians make such great examples of Freud’s theories of psychology!); the list of examples is nearly endless. In the short term, denial may serve as a means of protection, in the long run, however, it spells disaster, because it allows the individual to attemt to postpone/avoid the inevitable. This is metaphorically described as “falling asleep.” Eventually we all have to wake up!

• Stress Tip(s) for the Day:
Metaphorically speaking, are you asleep? Are you hiding something behind a defense mechanism? Are you denying a truth about yourself or the world you live in that needs addressing and resolution? As Dear Abby often said, “it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee.” And she’s right. All stress needs resolution and the sooner the better.

• Links/Books Worth Noting:
If you are interested in further reading on this topic, here is a link to more insights:

• Quote for the Day:
“The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves. We live in denial of what we do, even what we think. We do this because we’re afraid. We fear we will not find love, and when we find it we fear we’ll lose it. We fear that if we do not have love we will be unhappy.” — Richard Bach

• Photo of the Day:
Never having been to Egypt, I have no photos of the Nile River, but here is a photo of a Gulf coast island (I think Alabama, but it could be Miss too) just days before the oil spill, as I was flying from Houston to Ft. Meyers, FL. Enjoy (and while your at it, please say a prayer that this oil disaster is resolved quickly).

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Brian Luke Seaward

Author Brian Luke Seaward

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