Denial is a very powerful defense mechanism that we utilize as human beings. The purpose of denial is to reduce anxiety and protect us from the negative impact of such an emotion. Sometimes denial can be used in the service of health and sometimes denial can be used to support pathology and even ones demise.
Many individuals entering recovery and even some who have been in the program for awhile do not accept the relationship between their addiction to drugs and alcohol and poor self esteem. Simply stated, they tend to believe that poor self esteem has nothing to do with their addiction let alone that it is the cause of their condition.
Unfortunately, denying that something is a problem does not make it so. To take a look inside and find out that you do not like or even do not love yourself can be very anxiety provoking. When individuals initially explore their inner world, they do not like what they find and many have a tendency to deny what they discover, finding the anxiety to be overwhelming.
To make the psychological move from denial to acceptance is to begin the path of transformation. To stop denying the fact that you do not think that you are good enough and as a result do not love yourself, that you have poor self esteem and begin to accept and face reality creates the space for a true and lasting breakthrough in your life. To continue to live your life in a state of denial will negate the transformation that you seek.
Dr. Harry Henshaw