The Problem with Living in Denial

Living in denial ain’t the way to go.

Yes, denial is one of the five stages of grief, introduced back in 1969 by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, but if we stay too long in the “this isn’t happening” stage the result may be a bigger disaster.

Case in point: The little puddle of water on my kitchen floor near the cabinet housing the sink. For a couple months I kept wiping it up making various excuses in my head:

“Crystal, my drooley English bull dog must have done it.”
“I guess I was messy when I washed the pans in the sink and got water on the floor.”
“The boys like to drink directly from the faucet and made a mess.”

All along in the back of my mind I kept denying the obvious; a plumbing problem under the sink. Since I let these puddles continue one morning we had a huge water leak in pipes under the sink and needed a plumber to come out and fix the problem. So what had denial caused us?


A Bigger Mess

More time spent on clean up plus more expense since I denied the problem or in this case the puddle! Have you ever done this in regard to your own physical, mental or spiritual health? Maybe because so much of your time and emotional energy is spent caring for your child or children with special needs, chronic illness or mental health issues?

Last winter denial was my friend. 

Even though I had an actual pin in my thumb holding it together. Even though the injury occurred during my youngest son’s meltdown, it was too scary to face the truth. That sometimes I couldn’t keep myself or my dear son, Luke safe. And, it wasn’t realistic that my wonderful cop husband, my witty older son, Brandon, or Luke’s amazing part-time caregiver, Kat, could always be present with us.

Denial protected me for a time. But I couldn’t stay there.

We Can’t Live There Permanently

We need the Lord’s strength in our weakness to help us move forward and face the future, however scary it might be.

Have there been times in your life where, like for this author, denial was your friend? How did it help? And, what helped you move on from that stage?

Deborah Abbs is the author (with others) of Life on the Spectrum.
Because no two people with autism are the same, Life on the Spectrum’s authors all bring their unique perspective and experiences to the table. Our honest, raw and heartfelt stories show how God is at work in the real-world struggles of families impacted by autism. Come on the journey with us! Find out more at