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Monday, March 23, 2009


Denial was probably written by MFS founder, Chris

Denial is a psychological defense mechanism that a person may exhibit, as a way to avoid confronting uncomfortable realities. Often we hear of this mechanism in relationship to death or someone dealing with a substance abuse issue. Denial can apply to the Fat Spouse situation as well. It is not at all uncommon for the fat spouse to practice denial as a way to avoid coming to terms with their weight and doing anything about it.

In fact many Americans are in denial about their own weight problems. While according to the US department of health 6 out of 10 Americans is overweight, only 36% of Americans actually admit that they are overweight. This figure indicates that around 24% of an Americans are in denial about their own weight. One can see how this mass (pardon the pun) denial could find its' way into your household.

This denial behavior doesn't just extend to acknowledgement of the weight problem, it also accounts for some of the strange behaviors, or statements that come from the fat spouse.

For example many husbands and wives find their partner obviously ballooning up, while gaining weight, but the fat spouse INSISTS that they have not gained any weight, or that they only gained a 4 or 5 pounds. Even though blubber begins to creep out from under their "thinner" clothes, that he or she continues to wear. The fat spouse can sometimes convince themselves that they have only gained a couple of pounds when in fact they have gained 25 in the last year.

Frequent visitors to the forum will often find that attempts to "hint" or "suggest" to a spouse that they are overweight, are often ignored. A very possible explanation for this behavior is denial. The fat spouse may simply ignore the hints in this state of denial, as a way of not dealing with reality. As long as they can pretend like they are not getting any hints, then they can continue with their self destructive behaviors.

According to the experts denial comes in many forms.

Simple Denial: Insisting on something being true that is in fact not true. For example "I have just gained 10 pounds since we have been married, I don't know what all the fuss is about", when in fact this person obviously has gained 50 pounds or more.

Minimizing: Admitting a problem in such a way that it is insignificant. For example "If I could just find an exercise that I could stick to, losing weight would be a breeze"

Blaming: Denying responsibility for ones actions and projecting it on to someone or something else. For example "I'm overweight because of all the stress my family life and my nagging spouse puts on me to lose weight"

Rationalizing: Making alibis and excuses for behavior. Rationalizing and justifying are attempts to create a logical reason for illogical behavior. For example "Diets don't work because you end up gaining all the weight back anyway"

You, the fit spouse should learn to recognize this denial mechanism when you see this behavior. Even more important is that you not fall for the guilt trip, or the false logic your spouse may use to evade your rightful irritation at them becoming overweight. Additionally understanding the mechanism of denial also allows you to understand the more peculiar behavior that your fat spouse exhibits, more particularly the total resistance to any subtle or less than subtle hint that they should lose weight.

1 comment:

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