The Stumbling Block of Denial

When you sin, you feel guilty. You can do one of three things with that guilt:

1.     Get real and repent - change

2.     Lie to yourself and others - denial

3.     Live in open rebellion against God’s laws

Realizing you have been in denial and changing is gut-wrenching. God will help you, and while it may be painful now, your life will get better. It may be helpful to discuss your denial openly with a group, or a friend(s). Recognizing you’re in denial is a huge step in the right direction.

Here are a few forms of denial:

Rationalizing – Making up reasons why my addiction is OK.  God knows I’m trying to do better, so it’s fine that I still slip sometimes.

Minimizing – Telling myself my sins aren’t as big of a deal as they are.  Viewing porn isn’t really hurting my marriage.

Comparing – At least I’m not as bad as my friend. I’d never cheat on my wife, so the fact that I look at porn sometimes isn’t that big of a deal.

Uniqueness – Making up reasons why I’m special, why the rules don’t apply to me. I have a lot of pressure at work, so it’s ok that I look at porn sometimes.

Creating a Distraction – Avoiding my problems by creating a different persona or posing. A couple examples are being the center of attention or using anger to intimidate.

Omitting - Admitting to small parts of my problem. Admitting you’ve viewed pornography, but leaving out how often you view it and that you masturbate.

Blaming – Putting the responsibility of my actions on others. If my wife and I had better sex this wouldn’t be a problem.

Compliance – Acting like I want to stop to pacify others, but deep down I’m not getting real about what needs to change. Agreeing to meet with a church leader or therapist, but never following up and actually scheduling the appointment.

Intellectualizing - Getting lost in irrelevant details as a way to take the focus off the behavior. When I’m confronted about my behavior, I talk fast or ask tangential questions to confuse my partner and avoid being direct.

Helplessness – I don’t really believe I’ll ever stop my addiction, so why try? I’m never going to be happy in my marriage anyways, so who cares if I view porn.

Compartmentalizing – I live a dual life. I sin on the side, but this doesn’t affect my real life, family or kids. I view porn at work, but never at home. When I am at home I act like I would never do that and can talk about how bad it is. At work I continue to preoccupy about my addiction and act out.

These forms of denial are general guideposts to point you in the right direction. You are likely experiencing more than one of these and often the lines between them can be blurred. For all of us in recovery there are a lot of similarities, but each person’s experience is different. Working through your denial is always a part of overcoming addiction. Although painful, we know you can win and overcome your denial.

“I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.” – Paul (Phil. 4:13).