Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Denial and delusions

Refusing to see the truth - or believing something is the "truth" when it is not in fact the truth at all - is called living in denial.

People who live in denial are among the most interesting characters on screen and the most frustrating to deal with in real life. Because they want to see the world in a certain - false and dishonest - way, they will do whatever it takes to convince us that world is how they wish to see it.

Addicts (drugs, people, sex, porn, food, wha'evah), alcoholics, and people who find it too painful to face reality - live in a private world that denies it in order to prevent feeling the agony they must in order to become who they actually are, what they are really doing and what is genuinely happening.

This is all part of what mental health workers consider a "psychological defense mechanism" that motivates "denyers" to do bizarre and dishonest things in an attempt to control others.

Sooner or later, denial collapses - but it takes the experience of *extreme* pain before they reach their "bottom" and begin to turn their thinking and behavior around. Unfortunately, that turnaround normally happens after they have hurt many people, including themselves.

There is a *lot* of valuable information about denial and delusion online, which I highly recommend checking out for many specific symptoms of someone living in denial.

Again, just as understanding these psychological phenomena contributes to healing our mental health in real life, they help us as artists use all sorts of these unhealthy attitudes, behaviors and actions for our characters to tell a great story using memorable characters - truthfully.


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