How to Guide a Loved One Out of Denial

If you have a loved one in denial about their mental or physical health, it can be challenging to help them move out of that space. You want them happy and healthy and sometimes will do anything in your power to see that happen. But, often, this comes at the cost of putting yourself out there and having hard conversations.

What is Denial?

Denial is a normal human reaction to traumatic events. It helps you cope with the stress of daily life and can be used as a defense mechanism. But in some cases, the inability to accept reality can be harmful.

When you’re in denial, you’re not facing reality, which means you can’t take action to solve the problem or change your situation. Instead, you might just let things slide and hope for the best—which could lead to bigger problems.

The following signs may indicate that your loved one has been avoiding reality:

  • They’re constantly blaming others for their problems.
  • They avoid talking about the trauma.
  • They tell you not to worry about them because everything is fine – even if they’re struggling.
  • They’ve stopped taking medications prescribed by their doctor because they think they won’t help them get better, which makes them feel worse.

How Do You Help Your Loved One Move Past Denial?

If you suspect that your loved one is in denial about their addiction or mental health issue, you can take steps to help them move past it.

Be Patient

Don’t pressure your loved ones into seeing things differently if they aren’t ready yet. It could take months or even years to recognize their addiction as a problem. In the meantime, try not to take their avoidance personally. And don’t give up. There are plenty of people who eventually get past their denial and seek treatment for their addiction.

Do Not Argue or Attempt to Influence their Viewpoint

This is a difficult time for both of you, so it’s best not to push each other too hard. Instead, listen calmly and ask questions about what’s happening inside their heads. Try not to give advice or make suggestions until they’re ready for them.

Encourage Healthy Habits

Denial often results from feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Encourage your loved one to take small steps toward improving their health. You might suggest joining a gym or taking up a new hobby, such as gardening or woodworking, which can help improve mental well-being.

By encouraging healthy habits, you’ll help your loved one get back on track with their health, giving them more energy and motivation for other things like work and relationships.

Stay Calm

Your loved one may reply with impatience and rage or double down on their denial, but you do not need to exacerbate the issue in response. Take a few calm breaths and, if necessary, suggest that you discuss the matter at a later time.

Motivate Them to Seek Expert Help

Denial can make it difficult for your loved one to accept their condition. Encourage them to seek help from a therapist or counselor specializing in addiction treatment. A professional can help your loved one break through the denial to begin their recovery journey.
Therapy sessions allow patients to discuss their feelings in a safe environment without judgment or fear of being judged by others. It also gives them an outlet for expressing emotions such as anger or guilt.

Bottom Line

It may be tough to persuade someone to see the truth, but it is possible. Many resources are available if you or a loved one needs help moving beyond alcohol or drug denial and the problems that stem from it. It will take time, support, and willpower, but if you truly want a better life for yourself or your loved one, there is hope.

Contact us as soon as possible in your crisis and take the first step in experiencing real help. Dialing 732-392-7311 will connect you to a professional therapist who will listen carefully to your situation and provide you with the help you need. Together we can work towards a healthier and happy life for you and your loved one.

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