AARP Expert

is it good to use denial to cope?

Dear Friends,


     We use many different coping strategies to deal with our emotional reactions to caregiving. One of the most controversial strategies is denial or minimization. Is it better for us to keep our eyes wide open when under great duress, even if what we see may overhwhelm us? Or should we shield our eyes, to some degree, to prevent ourselves from being overwhelmed? In my latest column, I suggest the latter is worthwhile. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts. Take care, Barry Jacobs, co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers.



Periodic Contributor

If denial is used as a short-term tool to help you cope, it can be a good thing.  Constant stress is something that is not good long-term, so you need relief once in a while.  Denial is not helpful though if always used as a way to push away or deny a problem.  It can be a tool however to use as a pathway to hope or to open up to ideas for improving the situation.  It is also  good because a constant state of hopelessness is not a good way to live either.

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AARP Expert

@DrBarryJJacobs I agree! If denial is choosing to focus on something else and not put our attention to the thing we fear, then yes! Sometimes it gets me through tough caregiving times when I try to avoid thinking about the hard stuff - especially when it's something I really can't control or influence. 

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