It Can’t Be Happening

Have you ever experienced this sensation, it can’t be happening {to me}?

To give a relatively recent geo-political example, the vast swathes of migration into Europe. The international community was very slow to respond, and it took a very long while for the scale of it to sink in. Whilst migration from famine to wealth is a historical fact, and fleeing from war established, people can be surprised when it happens again. Quite why they are surprised is a little surprising, it is probably because most thinking is self-centred. Complacency is not uncommon, and neither is taking things for granted. There is a kind of a fog of denial, which can take a while to dissipate and before realization strikes home. People can be very slow on the uptake, especially if it is something they are not keen on up taking.

Nobody likes bad news. Three years ago, after they found 11 polyps in my lower colon and before they found the tumour, the GP was trying to reassure me. I had read that 1 in 10 polyps becomes cancerous, and I said to him that therefore there was a good chance that given they had only looked so far, they would find something nasty. He, being a nice kind man, did not want me to be alarmed. But I was confident on this basis, that there would be something nasty. One of us was quicker on the uptake than the other. It could very well be happening to me. In circumstances like this, I want more data. I want clarity not reassurance.

This denial of unpleasant realities happens widely. We may not want to think our partner is having an affair, has gambled away all our money or is otherwise up to no good. It can be a very long time before the penny drops. On the flip side it is not wise to live life immersed in paranoia and suspicion, which some do. If you watch Jeremy Kyle, those prone to paranoia have often been up to no good themselves. We may think we have hidden our behaviours from a partner and they start to see through our guise, that too can happen. Consequences can quickly start to unfold.

This idealized view, this complacency in regard of it never happening, can be readily seen. And even when the “data” mounts there is a time dependent denial. The threshold for acceptance can be very high. People can be very slow on the uptake.

Having cued this up:

Have I ever experienced this sensation, it can’t be happening {to me}?

Did I not want to face reality?

Am I perhaps a little slow on the uptake?

Has my idealism ever been dealt a blow by harsh reality?

Do I resist bad news, is it hard to accept?

If so, why?