Denial Ain’t Just a River…
We all know addicts, whether they be family members, friends, ourselves, or all of the above.
One of the hallmarks of addiction is denial, and it got me thinking about our collective denial about animal abuse and how we are responsible for it, whether we say we’re against it or not.
Ahhh, denial. It’s such a fundamental part of being human, and as children we are well-versed in it (“I didn’t do it”, “I don’t know”).
As adults, if we are to become fully adult and take responsibility for our actions, we’re called upon to see where we deny our culpability and how we can begin to face it and make changes.
“Denial is listed as an immature developmental defense along with delusion, distortion and projection in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV of the American Psychiatric Association. People who are not open to hearing information and criticism about themselves can become Masters of Denial. There is no end to what they can make themselves believe for their own benefit.
One man who identified himself as an ex-abuser describes it this way in his article The Three Horsemen of Denial. Here are the three main ways we lie to ourselves:
We minimize the damage we’ve done
We rationalize our actions
We justify ourselves in doing them.
Through these lies we distort reality as we perceive it, we redefine the meaning of what we do, and we adjust what we consider to be right and wrong, in an escalating fashion.
Ultimately, any act, no matter how hideous, can be carried out once we have developed the necessary level of denial.”
~Denial and Other Common
By Lynn Namka
Most of us are aware that our modern system of factory farming is cruel to animals. We may not know exactly how cruel or how pervasive, but we know it’s wrong.
We tell ourselves that eating “humanely raised” animals gets us off the hook, so we don’t have to be responsible for their violent deaths.
We convince ourselves that as long as there’s a “humane” label on a package of meat, it’s all o.k., despite the fact that we know that advertising is a game of perception and that ads speak half-truths or outright lies if it will sell a product.
We order meat and dairy out at restaurants and don’t think about how it got to our plates because, after all, we didn’t torture or kill any animals, did we? We are innocent and there’s no blood on our hands.
Anyone who suggests otherwise is not to be taken seriously because this will disturb the view we have of ourselves as good people and compassionate toward helpless animals.
Yes, denial is powerful and we as humans are very, very skilled at using it.
The good news is that we weren’t born for denial, we were born for a higher place in the world–a place of honesty and integrity.
For the sake of ending animal cruelty and for our own sake, let’s confront our collective denial and make changes that reflect who we really are in our hearts and souls.