Denial is a handy-dandy little defense mechanism that lets you deny reality. The reason it exists is to reduce anxiety and avoid fear of loneliness, being alone, or feeling unloved. Just because you avoid these feelings doesn't mean that your bad relationship doesn't exist however. Take a look at these signs and decide if you're in denial and then if it's a place you want to stay:
1. I focus on only the positive parts of my marriage and minimize negative situations.
2. I often tell myself that my marital problems are temporary and outside pressures are responsible for my partner's poor behavior.
3. I tell myself that other people's problems are worse than mine and I have no right to complain.
4. I tell myself that it's normal for certain bad behaviors to exist in a relationship and that no marriage is perfect.
5. I blame myself for all of the problems in the marriage and that I need to try harder.
6. I try to convince myself that I can change my partner.
7. I find myself defending my partner's behaviors to others when they express concern.
8. I tell myself that I'm not negatively affected by my partner's behavior or that "I can take it".
It may be time to take a good, hard look at your marriage and the reality of what you're living in. What are the reasons you're afraid to confront what is actually happening? What different choices can you make?
These issues—and many more—are discussed in the new book that I co-authored with attorney, Adam Dodge titled, The Empowered Woman’s Guide to Divorce: A Therapist and an Attorney Guide You Through Your Divorce Journey.