Willful Ignorance

Many people realize the truth will set you free.  They know that even the ugly, painful truth is always better than a pretty lie, & no matter how much it may hurt, always aim for truth in their lives.

Then there are other people who are nothing like that.  They prefer pretty lies any day.  They excuse the bad behavior of others readily & deny those people have done anything wrong.  These people are practicing something called willful ignorance.

Willful ignorance is a legal term which basically means a person has made a poor decision to circumvent information as a way for people to avoid making uncomfortable decisions.  On a more personal note, it is the avoidance of information or evidence that would force a person to face something unpleasant.

One of the best examples of this came from my personal life.  As I’ve written about before, at the time my father was dying, I had been no contact with him for several months.  My family attacked me via any means possible daily, trying to force me to go say goodbye to him.  Every time I would block one means, they’d find another.  I finally asked God why.  One of the things He said was that me staying away meant I was proving that not everything was ok.  If I would have gone, that would have shown them that my father was the great guy they wanted to believe he was.  I was threatening their willful ignorance. 

This also happens in cases where a person is abused by their parent, spouse, in-laws, etc. & other people refuse to believe it rather than get involved & try to protect the victim.

While it is certainly understandable to avoid painful things, willful ignorance is incredibly dysfunctional.  It sets people up for disappointment & unnecessary suffering because they refuse to acknowledge the warning signs most people see.  It hurts those closest to those who engage in this behavior because they are helpless to help the person they love.  These people are so devoted to their dysfunction that they will ignore what the person who loves them says, & will fight with them to protect their denial.

It is so hard being in this situation, whether you are the one practicing willful ignorance or the one who loves someone who practices it.

If you are the one practicing it, please stop!  I know the truth can be scary & painful, but by avoiding facing that, you’re hurting yourself, not helping yourself.  You need to know that God loves you & will help you to face whatever needs facing.  If you have trouble with that due to having an abusive parent figure in your life, He understand that too!  Be honest & tell Him just how you feel.  It’s ok!  I can promise you, He won’t cast you into hell or strike you down with a lightening bolt.  He will gently help you to see you can trust Him which will help you to start facing the painful things you must face.

And, if you are someone who loves a person who is willfully ignorant, I want you to know that God understands your pain & frustration.  Ask Him to show you how to support our loved one in a healthy way.  He will!  Don’t get sucked into the dysfunction either.  Stick to the truth & don’t let this person convince you of their false beliefs.  Keep your boundaries in place & protect yourself from the dysfunction of this situation.  This person has the right to engage in their dysfunction to their heart’s content, but you also have the right to engage in healthier ways.  Part of that means protecting yourself & not getting involved in their dysfunction.

3 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health

3 responses to “Willful Ignorance

  1. This is absolutely, 100%, correct. Much is said about HOW toxic family systems work, but too little about WHY. And this explains it. If my siblings had refused to enable our CNM instead of closing their ears and eyes to her abusive conduct, our family wouldn’t be the toxic mess it is today. We would have had at least a chance of having normal, loving sibling relationships.
    I’m going to print this out and save it for the day when I will face the same situation that you did, Cynthia. And I know I will, because people who do these things don’t change.

    Liked by 3 people

    • So true, there isn’t much said about why dysfunctional families work. There needs to be more said about it! The more you get why, the more equipped you will be to deal with the situation! That’s partly why I encourage people to understand narcissists the best they can. While non-narcs can’t fully understand narcs, understanding them at least some will help you to deal with them. it also helps you not to take their abuse personally because you realize it’s not personal- it’s all about them & their dysfunction.

      I hope it helps you!!

      Oh these people do change… they get worse. Don’t forget that, because you need to be prepared as best you can. ❤

      Liked by 3 people

    • ibikenyc

      Gee. What an interesting point! I’d never noticed this, but you are absolutely right!

      Liked by 3 people

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