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How Psychological Scotoma Keeps You Trapped in Addiction

How Psychological Scotoma Keeps You Trapped in Addiction

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By Paul G.

In Any Dispute with Reality, We Will Always Lose Eventually

The more our thinking is out of sync with reality, the more we suffer. The reverse is also true. The closer we can get our thoughts to reflect reality, the more inner peace we enjoy. This is why many rehabs now offer mindfulness (click here to find out more about mindfulness) and CBT training – these therapies include tools to help us escape delusional thinking patterns.

Denial of reality is a battle we can never win – so why do we do it? Unfortunately, it is usually not something we have decided consciously. It more often happens due to an unconscious effort by our ego to protect itself from parts of reality it finds threatening. One way it does this is through a process known as ‘psychological scotoma’.

Head in the Sand (image by Sander van der Wel)

What is Psychological Scotoma?

The word ‘scotoma’ is most commonly associated with vision, and it refers to a blind spot in the eye. A ‘psychological scotoma’ is another type of blind spot only this one occurs in the way we view reality. It means there is information in our experience that is inconvenient for our ego, and it responds by turning a ‘blind eye’ to it.

Psychological scotoma usually arises as a response to cognitive dissonance. This refers to a situation where there is some type of conflict between our beliefs, opinions, and our behaviour. Our ego doesn’t like there to be any obvious inconsistency in our thinking, and it responds to such a situation by using strategies such as psychological scotoma.

Dangers of Psychological Scotoma

How Can Psychological Scotoma Keep You Trapped in Self-Destructive Behaviours?

Those of us who are caught up in addiction (find out more about the neuroscience of addiction by clicking here) are almost sure to have at least some psychological scotoma around our behaviour. It will be mixed in with other egoic strategies for ignoring reality such as denial, projection, intellectualisation, and repression. It is just not possible for our thoughts to accurately reflect reality, our ego won’t allow it, while we are abusing alcohol or drugs.

How to Avoid Psychological Scotoma

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