It’s only recently that I heard the term “denialism”, defined by Wikipedia as:
“In the psychology of human behavior, denialism is a person’s choice to deny reality, as a way to avoid a psychologically uncomfortable truth. In the sciences, denialism is the rejection of basic facts and concepts that are undisputed, well-supported parts of the scientific consensus on a subject, in favor of radical and controversial ideas.”
I am not sure why it’s a new word for me. In any case, taking the first sentence particularly, it is a good descriptor of what happens to many of us when we are in conflict. This may be evident, for instance, when we hold tightly to our position and do not let in the other person’s truth. We could be denying the situation is dire for us as a defense, i.e. to avoid facing the schism that has grown between us. Then again, we might be obstinate, unrealistic, overly optimistic, or any number of other traits that preclude us from acknowledging the reality of the conflict and its impact.
This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to look closely at a dispute you are having and check out the denialism that may be going on.
- What is the dispute about from your perspective?
- What might the other person say her or his perspective is on what’s going on between you?
- If a third person was listening to and watching you, what might her or his version be of what’s happening?
- What is the truth you are denying about the dispute?
- What compels you to deny that truth?
- What truth about you does the other person not know?
- What truth might she or he be denying?
- If you knew the other person’s truth (your answer to the above question), what difference might that make to you?
- If the other person heard your truth, how might that impact her or him? How might it impact on the outcome of the conflict?
- How does denying help you? How does denying not help you?
- What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
- What insights do you have?