The Many Faces of Addiction

The journey to healing and recovery

Deceived: Denial & Rationalizing

Denial is a natural aspect of addictive behavior.

As a partner of a sex addict you minimize, discount, rationalize, deny, and pretend things are different than they really are because you want to trust your partner. You want to believe the relationship has a strong foundation. You want to be able to believe all is okay. That is absolutely understandable. Don't be critical of yourself. If you see the situation for what it really is and don't know what to do, it is natural to slide into a state of hopelessness and helplessness. The truth taps your greatest fear, that you are unloved and abandoned. You feel shame and humiliation. So as long as the addict denies or minimizes it, you can rationalize, deny, and pretend as well. The illusion of safety and security is an enticing fantasy. But in the process you quit trusting yourself, your inner voice.


Denial induces numbness. Now couple your need for denial with the fact that sex addicts are masters of misdirection. They can quickly tap into your vulnerability, and charm you or shame you right out of your distrust. His manipulations may include being charming, bullying, threatening, and playing the victim and often using the combination of any or all of those. This conduct is beyond hurtful. It's cruel, abusive, and traumatizing. It is also a natural aspect of addictive behavior, a manipulative attempt to take the focus off of him.

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Examples of denial are thinking such things as:

  • The pornography doesn't really bother me, it's only pictures.
  • He can't help it if other women throw themselves at him.
  • Work must be his problem; if he would just change jobs.
  • If we move he will stop this behavior.

Your denial is supported by extensive rationalization.

  • Men will be men.
  • He is an honest person; he would not lie to me.
  • He's not really staring at women; he's just interested in watching people..
  • It doesn't hurt to look at pictures (porn) - at least he is not having an affair.
  • It's easier for him to be friends with women - that doesn't mean he is having an affair.
  • His business takes priority over me and the kids but I understand - it's just while he is building his career.
  • I must have gotten this STD from a toilet seat - he told me I couldn't have gotten it from him.
  • He told me the long distance calls were not his - the phone company must have made a mistake.
  • Those Internet spammers are infiltrating our email with porn sites.
  • The police are exaggerating his behavior.
  • He's such a good dad.
  • It's not his fault that I can't fulfill him sexually.
  • I am the one he comes home to.

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, they are rationalizations that will keep you in denial.

 

Claudia Black, M.S.W., Ph.D., works in the fields of addiction, codependency, and recovery.

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