Denial

“Now I can understand friends who wanna tell me
They think they’re gonna help me, open up my eyes
But the play by play makes me wanna lose it

Every time you do it man, it turns the knife”

We’ve all been in denial at some point in our lives. Denial about relationships ending, the death of a family member or close friend, or simply any refusal to something we already know is true. People are unwilling to accept the truth because it’s not favorable to them. They’d rather ignore the reality of a situation than face the emotional impact it will have on them if they admit to it. It’s too much to take in at once and too great of an event to even try to comprehend.

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When I was younger I thought I knew everything. I managed to figure things out by reasoning and using common sense. I was one of those kids that saw through the whole “Santa” thing early on. In about second or third grade my suspicion was at its peak. There was no way that this random man who no one has ever met could sneak his way into billions of people’s houses in one night and leave presents for the sole purpose that they’ve been good that year. Plus, it was impossible for a man to eat that many cookies all by himself and still have the time to make it across the world. I was faced with an internal struggle and I was trying to decide on the logical answer or the desired answer.

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Even though I knew I was more than likely right, I almost didn’t want to be because that single belief was what made Christmas so special. The excitement of coming down the stairs and seeing a mound of presents laid out under the poorly decorated tree was what I had looked forward to for the entire year. Once my conclusion had been confirmed and I knew for certain that there was no Santa, I began to realize that Christmas had lost its position as the superior holiday. I still enjoy it, but it’s not the same. I was in denial for a bit about Santa because I had been tricked for so many years. I didn’t want it to be true and when it was true, I began to wish it wasn’t. It was bittersweet knowing that I was right, but at the same time realizing that the foundation of my childhood was slowly collapsing with each lie an adult had told me at some point in my life.

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My English class has recently finished reading the Oedipus books and one of the themes I identified was peoples’ willingness to ignore the truth. In “Oedipus Rex”, Iocaste knew at a certain point that the prophecy (which was that her and Laios’s son would kill Laios and marry Iocaste) had come true. She begged Oedipus to stop trying to find his real parents and solve the puzzle that was his life. She knew the truth and she hoped that if it wasn’t confirmed then everything would go back to the way it was. Incest was punished by the gods and once Iocaste realized what she had unknowingly done, she didn’t want the confirmation because it would make her actions more real. Iocaste ended up killing herself upon learning that Oedipus was her son and she had had kids with him. She couldn’t bear the thought of what had happened and wanted to run from the truth.

the truth often hurts. that is why so many ignore it.

In the song, a guy’s girlfriend was caught with someone else. The singer knows what happens and feels extremely stupid and angry at her for what happened. However, he doesn’t want people to apologize and remind him of what happened because the thought is too painful for him to handle. He tries to ignore the truth of the matter in a defensive attempt to protect himself. The pain of being cheated on is unbearable and he’d rather not hear all of the details, although he appreciates his friends trying to be honest.

Businessman arguing with himself

All in all, I believe that people face difficult situations in their lives where they can’t handle the truth. They’d rather live in denial and pretend everything is fine when it’s not because it’s easier for them to think that way. No person decides that they want to be unhappy; in fact, we do whatever we can to preserve our happiness. If the only way to be happy is to pretend that nothing is wrong and that something never occurred, then anyone would jump at that option rather than dealing with the difficulties of the truth.

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