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Thread: How do you help someone in denial?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Wingman's Avatar
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    Default How do you help someone in denial?

    Every once in a while, I (and I'm sure you all do as well) somehow make friends with someone in denial. I think its cause some people are really good at lying to themselves. Anyways, being someone who has actively pursued his own issues and fixed them to the best of his ability, seeing it in others triggers that same stimuli. Unfortunately, I can never get through to these people.

    I will explain the situation as briefly as possible.

    A friend of mine is engaged. She is gorgeous (and yes a bit insecure about her looks), lived what she called a 'sheltered life', after turning eighteenth drinks a lot (50% alcohol drinks), wants a family by yesterday, definitely a Feeler (she makes a lot of her choices based on her feelings), and has been abandoned by every boyfriend she ever had (I assume it was due to the lack of sex).

    Her fiancÚ is essentially a loner. Got kicked out of his home for some ridiculous family drama, now lives with anyone willing, has done every drug known to man (not literally), is horribly insecure and jealous, and has been cheated on by every girlfriend he ever had.

    Just recently, in a bizarre twist, my friend discovered the devastating truth that her man was cheating on her. They've broken up, but she believes they can still have a future.

    Personally, I don't think they can survive this, nor should they. In his immaturity, he had the nerve to blame her for everything. In fact, I'm sure the reason he did it was to get back at her for a previous event that she keep secret for so long. One drunken night, she found herself kissing another man; no more than two seconds. It was a poor decision but thats all she did. Whereas he, not only did NOT attempt to deny sleeping with her, actually introduced the other girl to his mother as his girlfriend two weeks before being caught.

    My friend is convinced that due to his recent re-introduction to drugs (he had been clean since they got together), this is only a setback. Convinced that the fact he proposed to her about three times means his heart is true, just a little clouded right now.

    Does anyone else think this marriage-to-be is a lost cause? If so, how can I help her move on? (I know what you're probably thinking, and no I will not attempt to claim her for myself.)
    When in Rome, do as the barbarians. -- Wingman's Bible

  2. #2
    INTP Convert 2/2011 Array eyebyte_atWork's Avatar
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    You cannot help someone who will not see.

    you can only sit and watch.

    I have been there many times.

  3. #3
    justified and ancient Othello Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion Array bluebell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wingman View Post
    Every once in a while, I (and I'm sure you all do as well) somehow make friends with someone in denial. I think its cause some people are really good at lying to themselves. Anyways, being someone who has actively pursued his own issues and fixed them to the best of his ability, seeing it in others triggers that same stimuli. Unfortunately, I can never get through to these people.
    The best I've been able to do in those situations is to drop a metaphorical ticking bomb behind the defence lines and hope that one day it breaks through the defences. (the trick is to avoid triggering the defences too strongly, otherwise you risk damaging the friendship or relationship) And sometimes all you can do is help pick up the pieces afterwards.

    Maybe others will have a better solution than me.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Array Wingman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eyebyte_atWork View Post
    You cannot help someone who will not see.

    you can only sit and watch.

    I have been there many times.
    Unfortunately, I'm compelled to help her. Especially since I have to see her twice every week in class. Also, I seek redemption for past crimes.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluebell View Post
    The best I've been able to do in those situations is to drop a metaphorical ticking bomb behind the defence lines and hope that one day it breaks through the defences. (the trick is to avoid triggering the defences too strongly, otherwise you risk damaging the friendship or relationship) And sometimes all you can do is help pick up the pieces afterwards.
    Yes, I've done this as well. I've used her own words against her and, of course, used logic. I've even dared lying once.

    Our friendship is already falling apart. Not that it was too strong anyways. I'm the only friend of hers in our class that won't feed her false hope.
    When in Rome, do as the barbarians. -- Wingman's Bible

  5. #5
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    It's pretty rare to have the kind of friend you could actually influence the decisions of, on such grand matters. If you're that lucky, just use caution. You don't want to regret whatever you do.

  6. #6
    Junior Member Array Hamakua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wingman View Post
    Every once in a while, I (and I'm sure you all do as well) somehow make friends with someone in denial. I think its cause some people are really good at lying to themselves. Anyways, being someone who has actively pursued his own issues and fixed them to the best of his ability, seeing it in others triggers that same stimuli. Unfortunately, I can never get through to these people.

    I will explain the situation as briefly as possible.

    A friend of mine is engaged. She is gorgeous (and yes a bit insecure about her looks), lived what she called a 'sheltered life', after turning eighteenth drinks a lot (50% alcohol drinks), wants a family by yesterday, definitely a Feeler (she makes a lot of her choices based on her feelings), and has been abandoned by every boyfriend she ever had (I assume it was due to the lack of sex).

    Her fiancé is essentially a loner. Got kicked out of his home for some ridiculous family drama, now lives with anyone willing, has done every drug known to man (not literally), is horribly insecure and jealous, and has been cheated on by every girlfriend he ever had.

    Just recently, in a bizarre twist, my friend discovered the devastating truth that her man was cheating on her. They've broken up, but she believes they can still have a future.

    Personally, I don't think they can survive this, nor should they. In his immaturity, he had the nerve to blame her for everything. In fact, I'm sure the reason he did it was to get back at her for a previous event that she keep secret for so long. One drunken night, she found herself kissing another man; no more than two seconds. It was a poor decision but thats all she did. Whereas he, not only did NOT attempt to deny sleeping with her, actually introduced the other girl to his mother as his girlfriend two weeks before being caught.

    My friend is convinced that due to his recent re-introduction to drugs (he had been clean since they got together), this is only a setback. Convinced that the fact he proposed to her about three times means his heart is true, just a little clouded right now.

    Does anyone else think this marriage-to-be is a lost cause? If so, how can I help her move on? (I know what you're probably thinking, and no I will not attempt to claim her for myself.)
    -from my experience, she needs to learn to move on on her own. "Love" is an amazing thing, it will turn you in the the greatest debater if you need to rationalize loving someone irrationally. It's happened to me as well. I would say be there for her when she is sad without judging her. If she is still trying with him trying to convince her otherwise may just make her push you away. He might be the absolute only thing she wants in life right now and anything that gets in the way of that won't be heard.

    I would suggest reaffirming her why she should value herself. If you make her see she is worth a lot, and she realizes she is worth more and is more deserving than the pain this guy is causing her she might "debate herself" into leaving him.

    It's fricken hard, believe me, I know personally. Some of my friends tried to do with me what it looks like you want to do with her, the only way I got out of it was when I solved the big jump internally. Then my friends were there for me when I was healing, this helped a lot and I was thankful.

    This was me, she may be different.

    [edit]

    And what helped me the most was my friends and family increased my self esteem (not that it was low) high enough that I started to value myself more than the pain that was being put on me. They didn't ever put her down in relation to me. It was a subtle difference, and in my case it worked.

    also, some people leave bad relationships a lot easier if they know/feel/think someone or thing will be there to replace what they are leaving. I don't suggest that be you as the 2nd person usually doesn't last either (infatuation/security ends once she is sane again).
    My shit is burning and there is no one here to put it out for me!

  7. #7
    The Don Array Etherealsage's Avatar
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    I've only broken through to someone in denial once, and only once, so this may or may not work. The way I got thorugh (she was a feeler as well) was to emotionally berate her for knowing what the truth was and trying so hard to convince herself otherwise, and I used situation specific details aggressively to just prevent her from responding and picking up a defense. Basically a blitzkreig. In my situation, it was over a death. I also recall encompassing ethos, pathos, and logos all so that there was no room for argument. I wish I could explain it better, but it was just one of those brief moments of "I just know what to do" and did it. I wrote a post about it when it was fresher in my memory. I'll check to see if I can find it.

    Found it.

    http://forums.intpcentral.com/showpo...9&postcount=24





    Multiquote/edit, I DEFY you!

    Edit, Bluebell, you are evil! xD
    Last edited by Etherealsage; 11 May 2009 at 09:03 AM. Reason: Merged. :D
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Array Wingman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamakua View Post
    This was me, she may be different.
    Nah you've hit on all the key points. And I'm very aware of what "love" does to people. Someone with my bloodline is doomed to fall hopelessly in love and abandon everything and everyone for the happiness of whoever manages to ensare me. In fact, I've already experienced it. I don't think I ever got over that bitch.

    She is very much aware of her value, however, do to the fact that's she's been in so many failed relationships she is unwilling to startover with someone else. Plus, she's in that marrying/pregnant stage that most women find themselves in during their early twenties.



    Quote Originally Posted by Fateweaver View Post
    I've only broken through to someone in denial once, and only once, so this may or may not work. The way I got thorugh (she was a feeler as well) was to emotionally berate her for knowing what the truth was and trying so hard to convince herself otherwise, and I used situation specific details aggressively to just prevent her from responding and picking up a defense. Basically a blitzkreig. In my situation, it was over a death. I also recall encompassing ethos, pathos, and logos all so that there was no room for argument. I wish I could explain it better, but it was just one of those brief moments of "I just know what to do" and did it. I wrote a post about it when it was fresher in my memory. I'll check to see if I can find it.
    Hah hah! Blitzkrieg! I'd rather not unleash a full assault on his woman, though I'm sure I could. I'd be much to harsh for her too handle. She'd probably brush it off by pretending she was wiser than me just because she's older.



    Quote Originally Posted by Technical View Post
    It's pretty rare to have the kind of friend you could actually influence the decisions of, on such grand matters. If you're that lucky, just use caution. You don't want to regret whatever you do.
    On the contrary, I've had several of them. Nor do I regret anymore of my choices. I swore to myself long ago; whatever I choose, I stick to it knowing that I did it for a reason.
    When in Rome, do as the barbarians. -- Wingman's Bible

  9. #9
    Junior Member Array wrathfuldeity's Avatar
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    Being a friend and breaking through her denial...probably not a friend any longer at least for a while. Probably ask her first if she wants her denial broken. Denial can be a protection/defense for deeper issues and till a person is willing/wanting to face it might be better left alone.

    "She is very much aware of her value, however, do to the fact that's she's been in so many failed relationships she is unwilling to startover with someone else. Plus, she's in that marrying/pregnant stage that most women find themselves in during their early twenties."

    Besides, 20 yr olds that have many failed relationships and want to be married and pregnant; wtf do they know....run away...btw how old are you?

  10. #10
    The Don Array Etherealsage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrathfuldeity View Post
    Probably ask her first if she wants her denial broken.
    My opinion aside, do you really think the answer would be yes?
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