The elephant in the living room is a metaphor for obvious truth that is either being ignored or unaddressed. It takes a great deal of theatrical production to ignore something that is as big and unwieldy as an elephant.
Each of us may have our own motivation to keep pretending the elephant is not there. I believe the primary reason it goes unaddressed is fear. We fear that we will hurt someone or make them angry. We fear that we will be rejected or dismissed. Sometimes the fear is so big it competes for space with the elephant.
Therapists are known to be the identifiers of elephants. We know from experience that it is often a relief for everyone involved to simply hear the truth spoken out loud. It is true that we have had people storm out of our office's never to be seen again. This is rare. What is more common is that people experience relief and often they step up to the truth and make changes.
By acknowledging the elephant we are actually removing it. We may just as quickly bring in a new one, but the original one has gone. Here are some guidelines which can help make this process less painful.
"There are only two mistakes one can make on the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting." Buddah