Admitting, Leads To Change by Elana Clark-Faler, LCSW

Admitting to a problem can be the most difficult process for an individual, for many reasons. Sometimes you’re not aware there is something to admit to. You can’t change anything you’re not aware of. Once you are aware, you must be willing and desire to change or modify this behavior. This means one must be motivated to change. Otherwise, your motivation to change will be in question. Lack of motivation can delay the process quite a bit. Yes…your defenses can settle in to protect you from the truth or pain.

When you participate in a behavior for years and it’s worked at some point to address some issue, it’s difficult to give up. Some reasons why it’s difficult to admit to a problem are:

Avoiding the feeling of shame (one of the most difficult emotions to experience and manage).
Feeling the pressure to do something about it. It will nag you causing you to feel uncomfortable with doing nothing about it.
You don’t want to do the work to change, because it’s inconvenient.
You want to avoid sharing with others, because of the fear of sharing weaknesses or vulnerabilities.
Not use to the feeling or ability to admit to your faults. Maybe it was dangerous to expose a vulnerability in the family system.
Avoid admitting because you don’t what to do it, and you don’t know who to trust (to help you change the behavior).
Lack of resources or knowledge of what to do.
You attempted before and were unsuccessful. You may have not found the right person or resource. You may be afraid to try again. You may be avoiding the experience of hopelessness.
Desire to avoid painful emotions because emotions drive behavior, and if you’re not going to participate in this behavior any longer. What will I do now? How will I cope?
You may have a lack of coping skills to replace the behavior.

Once you have admitted a problem exists, define the problem in behavior specific terms. For example, “I have body dysmorphia.” “I have a sexual desire issue.” You define, research and ask others for referrals and resources to address the issue. Find a specialist, versus locating a generalist.

Develop the motivation and understand it will take time to work on this issue. Nothing will be solved overnight. Develop coping skills to get prepared to work through the deeper issues associated. Research to locate peer support, others who have been through it too, so you’re not alone. Stay accountable. Know what works and discipline yourself to participate in activities that support your health, and address the problem.

Elana Clark-Faler
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