01 February 2022

The Challenge of Cognitive Dissonance

Understanding Cognitive Dissonance

The Challenge of Cognitive Dissonance : Vernon Chalmers

"One of the hardest things to do in life, is letting go of what you thought was real." — me.me

Omnipresence of Cognitive Dissonance

During the past year I referred to Cognitive Dissonance in several of my articles and Facebook comments. 

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 an intrapersonal 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 (and disappointment) 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 against us will change. The sad reality is that abusive behaviour without any personal ownership, psychotherapy and / or psychiatric 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 an individual's antisocial behaviour can have a significant impact on our own mental health and well-being.

I have experienced cognitive dissonance during an intimate relationship. Although I was subjected to perpetual emotional, physical and verbal abuse I still believed in the relationship and wanted it to succeed. In the end, after a few months, my rational mind concluded that for my own safety and sanity it would be best to end the relationship.

© Vernon Chalmers : Mental Health and Motivation (Cognitive Dissonance)

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