Trait: “I am comfortable with reality and don’t minimize problems.”
As someone comically stated, “Denial (the Nile) isn’t just a river in Egypt, it’s a thing we all do.” Why is that ? Why do we wish to minimize, dismiss, pretend, fantasize, fabricate and lie about what is really happening in our personal world? The answer is simple… the truth scares us, we become frightened so we choose to ignore many of the unpleasant realities that surround us.
Avoiders and pleasers are the kings and queens of avoiding and evading difficult negative and unpleasant emotions within themselves or others. So, what are some of the common methods they employ to avoid reality? Let’s hop into the back seat of Carla’s car and listen in as she car pools 3rd graders to school.
Carla: “Hi Kids, merry Monday, put on your seat belts!”
Kids in unison: “Hello Miss Carla.”
Boy #1: “I hope Joey is sick this week, he makes my life miserable at recess.”
Boy #2: “Me too, he took Zack’s pudding pop last week. I hate him.”
Carla (looking through the rear view mirror): “Joey’s always been nice to me, maybe he traded snacks with Zack (smiling and nodding).”
Boys #1 & #2 in unison: “No… he’s a creep.”
Carla: “You shouldn’t call somebody a creep… Jesus wouldn’t like that. Let’s change the subject.”
Boy #2 (a few minutes later… whispering): “Ya know what (laughing)? Last week James told me he knew what the “F” word was. He thought it was sex.”
Boys: (Hysterical laughter).
Carla: Boys, this no way to start the week! Besides, you shouldn’t talk like that in front of a mom. OK, here we are, have a good day. Mrs. Ross will pick you up this afternoon.”
Farfetched? No, as a matter of fact, I was a Carla type once upon a time. The fact that Carla doesn’t get that there is a bully loose on the playground and that the boys are ripe and ready to talk about sex is the reality within Carla’s world. Her insecurity, fear and discomfort makes it impossible for her to feel and deal with life honestly. So, hard truth is unconsciously avoided day after day and by the time the boys are in Junior High School, the reality gap between Carla and the kid’s real world is enormous.
Could Carla change these inevitable outcomes? Yes, by:
- taking the time to learn the origins of her fears which developed somewhere in her early years.
- strengthening her tolerance to withstand difficult and stressful emotions.
- learning to separate from others as people disagree and take opposing viewpoints.
In time she can grow into a secure connector and become comfortable with reality without minimizing problems.
Bless your journey of love and growth.
Milan & Kay