14 Types of Denial in Addiction, Part 1


This was a post originally written for PorntoPurity.com by me that I wanted to reproduce here (click here for Part 2).

If you are into your recovery process, you feel like you’ve done step #1 of the 12-steps.

 ”We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.”

We think we’ve got that covered and we never need to revisit it.

When I first entered recovery, my sponsor would constantly tell me I was still in denial, and like any good addict, I denied it!  He couldn’t articulate why he thought I was in denial. He would simply say, “It just sounds like you are still in denial.”

So I brushed it off.

When I began therapy, my counselor walked me through Patrick Carnes’s Types of Denial (originally 12 from Facing the Shadow, which have been expanded by Dr. Carnes recently).  I started to realize that  there were many areas where I was in denial.

So I wanted to share these 14 with you guys. While some of these may overlap with one another, it helps to have these 14 categories to really know what denial really is.

  1. Global Thinking: This is attempting to justify something with absolute terms like “always” or “never” or “whatsoever.” It also can be something along the lines of “every guy does this.”
  2. Rationalization: This is justifying unacceptable behavior saying things like “I don’t have a problem, I’m just sexually liberated,” or “You’re crazy,” or “I can go months without this, so I don’t have a problem.” As Rick Warren states, “Rationalize is telling yourself Rational Lies”.
  3. Minimizing: This is trying to make behavior or consequences seem smaller or less important than they are saying things like “only a little,” or “only once in a while,” or “it’s no big deal,” or simply telling the story in a better light than it really should be.
  4. Comparison: This is shifting focus to someone else to justify behaviors such as “I’m not as bad as…”
  5. Uniqueness: This is thinking you are different or special saying things like “My situation is different,” or “I was hurt more,” or “That’s fine for you, but I’m too busy.” This one can also be considered Entitlement.
  6. Distraction (Carnes, Avoiding by creating an uproar or distraction): This is being a clown and getting everyone laughing, having angry outbursts meant to frighten or intimidate others, threats and posturing, and doing shocking behavior that may even be sexual. This can be when we simply blow up upon being confronted hoping that our explosion will draw attention rather than the actual issue.
  7. Avoiding by Omission: This is trying to change the subject, ignore the subject, or manipulate the conversation to avoid talking about something. It is also leaving out important bits of information like the fact that the lover is underage, or the person is a close friend of your spouse, or revealing enough information while keeping back the most “dangerous” information that will get you in more trouble.

Denial & RealityFor me, while I struggle with many of these denial types (Rationalization, Minimizing, Uniqueness, Distraction, Avoiding by Omission) and probably have done them all at one point or another, two of my Big Three are Minimizing and Avoiding by Omission. It is a good practice to take this list and mark the ones that you think you do, and confirming it with your spouse and/or your sponsor and/or someone close to you that knows most of the story and has lived through things with you. The goal is to identify which ones we tend towards so when we are facing our secrets and/or our problems, we can identify some of these behaviors in order to face the truth at all costs and comfort and live out the Stockdale Paradox.

What are yours?

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