Stepping Out Of Denial

Stepping Out of Denial


“When the student is ready the teacher will appear.”  Buddhist proverb

I was 24 years old and a mother of two when I saw my reflection in the survivor looking back at me on a morning talk show. She was just as disconnected and lonely as I was. As she spoke about her own depression, my heart stood still in disbelief, and I finally saw my truth. I was ready to step out of denial and face my past (and current) abuse.  

When you are ready to see your truth, someone will show you the way. I didn’t know I was ready to see my truth until that defining moment while watching the talk show. In the beginning, it was easier to use the defense mechanism of denial than to accept that abuse had molded and shaped every aspect of my life and my relationships. I even questioned whether it was all real or not. People around me tried to tell me that nothing was wrong, and that they knew what was best for me.

Friend, I ask you to be wary of those people—they could be trying to brush-off truth, or they could be fearful of you changing. You have a right to seek out a healthy and happy life; don’t let anyone tell you any different.

That morning, I felt like I was the ready student for whom the teacher had just appeared. I knew I needed to do something. I had no idea what that something was, or what was ahead, but I knew I couldn’t stay where I was.

I found a therapy group and went through the phone interview process. Afterward, my head was swimming with questions and self-doubt. Did I really have a problem? Was all of this as bad as it seemed? Maybe I’m imagining all of this, and it isn’t actually a big deal.

Somehow, even after the interview, I found the courage to make my first appointment.

I wanted to hear what the therapist had to say. In the beginning, there was a part of me that constantly questioned myself and the decision to seek help. Who am I to take time and money to do this for myself? Is there even anything wrong with me? Maybe all of this is just in my head. However, once I started the process, I realized I did need help. In fact, I had quite a few things to work out, both in my past and present life.

That was when my journey of healing began. Looking back, it’s easy to see that the show and the interview with the therapy group were “teachers” appearing in my life, letting me know it was my time to choose to become a student. I put on my backpack and went back to school to learn about abuse, healing, and most of all, myself. It was the first time in my life that I started taking care of me

Can You Recognize Abuse?

Would you recognize abuse if you saw, heard, or felt it? Abuse isn’t just rape, incest, or physical attack. Abuse comes in all forms, ranging from verbal and emotional maltreatment to physical violence.

Reflective Statements 

Below are statements and questions for you to contemplate. I believe healing starts with honesty and self-awareness. Set aside your defense mechanisms for now and put a checkmark next to the statements or questions that relate to any past or present experiences in your life.

—        I don’t know why I choose to have relationships with people who take advantage of me. 

—        I put everyone else’s needs before my own. 

—        There is always so much drama in my life. 

—        I don’t understand why I’m betrayed by the people I care about. 

—        I push people away who are nice and kind to me. 

—        I don’t know why I choose to have relationships with people that hurt me. 

—        I don’t know why I’m always afraid.

—        I don’t know why I’m always trying to overachieve or strive for perfection. 

—        I’m never satisfied and always want more. (This can include love, attention, animals, food, alcohol, clothes, jewelry, etc.) 

—        I don’t know why I put myself in harm’s way. 

—        I don’t know why I feel numb most of the time. 

—        I don’t know why I have this deep-rooted feeling that I’m not enough, no matter what I do. 

Are you surprised by how many statements resonate with you?

If you relate to a majority of the statements above, it’s possible you may have experienced some type of abuse or neglect in your life. Unfortunately, we acquire specific beliefs and behaviors during and after experiencing abuse. This kind of information is designed to help you see the truth in your own life, so you can get help and change your situation. If you have trouble acknowledging that what happened to you was real, much less abuse, take a moment and give yourself permission to accept your truth. Go to

 for more information and links about abuse.

Are you ready to step out of denial and get the help you need to have a healthier life?

If I can do it, you can too.