Hello my dears! My name is Johanna, and I welcome you to the Johanna Draconis - The Deconstruction Of C-PTSD podcast. I am sorry for the strong delay, things have been wild for a bit now. Hope that is over soon.
In this episode we will talk about why people believe lies - even despite evidence laid clearly in front of them. We all have witnessed this behavior in one way or another - be it people around us or on the screen.
They claim something and if confronted with evidence… they just kind of zone out and resume undeterred. This is also part of the denial part of PTSD. So let us talk about it.
This is a problem that is so widespread that I could basically post this under any topic involving other people. I am sure you can name several conspiracies, groups, people that defy reality with every breath.
Not all of them are mentally unwell nor are they evil. As long no one gets harmed through their behavior - which I kinda would include themselves too if I can - it is usually pretty harmless and can be ignored.
One example would be the flat earthers, which despite literally seeing something that contradicts their belief - they still hold onto it and seem unaffected by this evidence. But it is not just conspiracies.
This effect takes place every time we are confronted with something that completely contradicts something we believe - ESPECIALLY if it is an believe that is important to us. The innocence of a person for example.
There is a reason why many refuse to acknowledge hints, that their partner is cheating on them. It is hard to let go of a belief we hold so dear. Or you could use more sinister examples.
Cognitive Dissonance - The gap between reality and what the brain knows
This behavior is known as cognitive dissonance - or the gap between reality and what the brain knows. Your brain rejects information that is in strong conflict with what it knows. The brain takes stability over truth.
The problem with that behavior is, that if you keep it up it is like digging a hole. You get deeper and deeper - and sooner or later it collapses on top of you when you have to face reality. Which eventually you have to.
Though there were cases of people going so deep into that rabbit hole - that they were unable to do so and needed to live under permanent care - or died. The initial reaction isn’t harmful per Se.
It might be a good thing to shelve it - as in this moment it could be a harmful distraction or used to be able to manipulate you. But one should revisit the topic in question in peace and in smaller bits.
This way you can soften the blow and make it more easy to digest. But what is when it is not you who is affected? What if it is someone you know? Then there is the option of trying to close the gap and not widen it.
Though closing or widening the gap is only really relevant is the person in question is willing to listen - if they are refusing to acknowledge any statement, argument, fact or the like, it is pointless to try to affect the gap.
Widening the gap vs closing the gap
So how CAN we affect the gap? We can either widen the gap or close the gap. First is usually done by abusers, cult leaders and the like. This is done by pointing out what separating them form everyone else.
When someone tries to isolate you - or you notice you are pretty isolated except a specific group - is a HUGE red flag and you should make sure you are safe immediately. No one should want you isolated.
A good social environment is important in healing and keeping a healthy mind - you can do without, but it is a lot harder. By focusing on the things that separate you - you widen the gap and therefor the conflict.
On the opposite it closing the gap - though theoretically the more accurate term would be showing a place where the gap is closer, if you can’t find that - you need to create a ladder of sorts.
To close the gap you search for common ground and/or were the positions are both basically the same or almost the same. Point out the things that are in common or close to the others person position.
It is important to do that without questioning the others person position, as this will most likely lead to them shutting down, going in defense mode and not listening for what you have to say.
If you want to build a ladder across the gap it is once again by not attacking their position and starting a train of thought from THEIR position and give them a logic they can follow.
Which I plan to go into more detail next week.
That was it for todays episode, I hope you found it helpful. Hope you are safe and well. And as always, if you have any questions or feedback and the like, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information and transcript you can find as usually under johannadraconis.com/Podcast, information regarding therapy you can find under johannadraconis.com/Therapy and links are in the description.
I hope to see you next time. Watch yourselves and have a wonderful time.