01 July 2021

The Challenge of Cognitive Dissonance

Reflections of my Life The Challenge of Cognitive Dissonance: Reflections of My Life Vernon Chalmers Photography
"One of the hardest things to do in life, is letting go of what you thought was real." — me.me

I have referred to Cognitive Dissonance in several of my articles and Facebook comments over the last year. 

Now, in the final stretch and conclusion of my own ‘healing journey’, herewith an explanation, own interpretation and personal experience on how Cognitive Dissonance can sometimes cause incessant confusion, uncertainty and disparity in our minds.

Many of us may suffer from a degree of Cognitive Dissonance at some time in our lives - meaning we are challenged by a mental discomfort and / or mental conflict when dealing with toxic people (or habits) in our minds, but struggle to let them go.

Powerful 'positive' thoughts of what 'could be' overwhelms the mind as we are challenged by the paradoxical thinking of them being, perhaps, just misunderstood or needing more time rather to accept them as abusive and toxic (towards us). For many of us this is difficult to comprehend - that someone in our lives that was once so charming and nice can become so abusive and evil. 

We know they are not good for us, they function different from our own beliefs, personal values and / or expectations, but we still maintain contact with them - or worse-case scenario, stay committed in an abusive relationship. We don't really want to let them go, but at the same time live in fear of their dysfunctional behaviour. Even while experiencing continuous abuse we try and hang on to the mirage at any (emotional / physical) cost - in the hope that their toxic behaviour towards us will change. The sad reality is that abusive behaviour without any significant psychiatric and / or psychoanalytical intervention won't change, can't change.

The continuous cognitive disparity between the positive belief in someone and the conflicting negative thoughts / disappointment with regard to their antisocial behaviour can have a significant impact on our own mental health.

I have experienced Cognitive Dissonance during a (perceived) intimate relationship - although subjected to perpetual emotional, physical and verbal abuse I still believed in the relationship and wanted it to succeed.

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