Everyone who has ever spent a bit of time in a "therapeutic" setting,
especially in a "rap group", knows the meaning of this word. "Denial" is
usually accompanied by its sister, "criticism". Saying to someone
"You’re in denial" in a "therapeutic" environment is tantamount to
calling him/her a liar. The words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 7:5
illustrate this with a metaphor:
"Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote
out of thy brother’s eye."
– Matthew 7:5
Jesus was a carpenter by trade, and it is easy then, to see why he used this metaphor to caution us to judge ourselves before we judge others; it is a lesson to heed well. Denial is failure to accept the truth; it is an inability to confront whatever it may be, and the justification for so-doing is the fault (mote) we find with someone else. The inability to see past our own faults (beam), clouds our judgment, and keeps us from the truth needed for repentance.
Worse than denial is its opposite; what I can only describe as
"The Mia Culpa Syndrome" (MCS for short). This malady is at the core of a most insidious mental condition known as "survivor guilt". Mia Culpa Syndrome is also at the root of many other unfounded convictions of conscience, and I have to wonder sometimes at my own superego, because God said:
"... I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it on their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people."
Jeremiah 31:33b (KJV)
It may seem, sometimes, that the conscience (or law) about which the Bible speaks, may, in some of us, be hyperactive, and in a few of us, unrelenting in the extreme.
Someone who suffers from what psychiatry calls "PTSD" or "Survivor Guilt" is a victim of unrelenting Mia Culpas. Justified or not, these feelings lead to poor self-esteem, alcoholism or drug use (as an escape), and even suicide in extreme cases. More common, however, is self-destructive behavior which is out-of-character for the individual. This is the mind’s way of incurring the chastisement that is perceived to be due; again, justified or not.
Justification, forensics to prove it notwithstanding, is not the issue here. What is needed is an avenue of forgiveness, but without true belief in God who can forgive, this is impossible. Forgiveness and reconciliation is the only way to heal a wounded spirit, and without that, it is easy to see why such (false) self-convictions are all but intractable.
Even more nefarious than denial, Mia Culpas and their related co-conspirators cognitive distortion, dissonance, and antinomy, is the guilt forced upon us by others via accusations and inferences. In particular (this is especially true of dissonance) "therapeutic" programs or therapists that seek to establish as true, that which one denies as being objectively false. In layman’s terms, this is known as brainwashing, and its employment under psycho-babble names such as "cognitive therapy" and "rational emotive therapy" is particularly destructive to the mental and spiritual well-being of the person being "treated".
In either of these extremes, dissonance is aroused, and the client fails to come to a "balance" of what is acceptable as truth, and what must be denied as a lie. This is "... My [God’s] law in their inward parts..." militating for or against conviction. Denial is a self-protective mechanism that some experts say is best left to dissolve on its own. MCS is a destructive spiral of defective reasoning that must be stopped; else the client may literally end up with the weight of the world on his shoulders. The key to taking yourself (or a client) out of denial is the knowledge that you (or the client) will be forgiven, once you step out from behind that wall. False guilt, however, in this writer’s opinion, should NOT seek to be forgiven. To be forgiven, one must truly be culpable for what he or she is being forgiven for. It is possible that patients who suffer from "Survivor Guilt" have the cognitive "wires" of grief and guilt somehow crossed. With no time to grieve, many war veterans felt guilty for a plethora of reasons, the reasons, mostly rationalizations concocted from their own imaginations. False guilt must be logically dissected, and then if there is any part of it that remains as true culpability, THAT and only that should be the thing that seeks to be forgiven.
To inflict additional trauma on a PTSD sufferer is cruel, and it serves no therapeutic purpose. The trauma, whatever it is, must be dealt with as objectively as possible. Subjectivity
– the ability to "just make stuff up" could be the answer, because it IS possible to implant false memories
– especially in connection with psychotropic drugs; Ritalin, according to some sources, is a "mind control" drug, and the experiments done on hundreds of thousands, and MILLIONS of children with "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder", may have parallels to "Ladder"
in some respects.
If the reader is to heed the advice of this writer, whose lack of parchment is more than compensated for by personal experience, he or she will seek out a Dianetics auditor to resolve the issues, and then turn to the Lord for forgiveness and spiritual healing. In the Lord, you will find a comforter, a confidante, and a merciful God who listens to His children, and who operates in their best-interest. Here you can leave your troubles and be forgiven. The weight of guilt will be lifted, and you will no longer be inexorably driven to your own destruction. Another good thing to remember if you have unresolved grief or "Survivor Guilt", is the words of Jesus Christ’s brother, James:
"What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."
– James 4:14
If you believe in this; if you truly believe that this life is most certainly not all there is, then as your understanding increases, so does your ability to put things in perspective... just what it is exactly that you’re feeling guilty about? This is not "goodbye" forever. What am I worried about? This separation is merely a twinkling of a second in the endless sea of forever.
And friends, there will be times when some of us may be falsely accused, and "guilt" and "heaped persecutions" brought against us:
"Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: Behold, the Devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
– Revelation 2:10 (KJV)
Do not despair. Hold fast to your faith
– and do not allow the Devil to tempt you to retaliate in kind for injustices you may suffer. You do not want to become your enemy in order to defeat him. Left to God, these things will be resolved.
– a psychotropic drug used experimentally by the CIA that may have been the precipitating factor for the My Lai Massacre. My book "Land Of Childhood’s Fears" on Vietnam covers this topic in detail.