DENIAL OF REALITY (DENIAL)

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The unconscious defense mechanism of denying the existence of painful facts.This technique enables an individual to escape from intolerable thoughts, wishes, actions, or events and the anxiety which they produce. In denying their existence he is not lying or malingering, nor does he deliberately repudiate the ideas or consciously dismiss them from mind. He simply fails to perceive that they exist.There are many forms of denial. An individual may become totally unaware that he has feelings of hostility or homosexual urges or that he has actually committed a crime. Parents fail to see physical or mental defects in their children though they are obvious to everyone else. Prisoners in solitary confinement sometimes lose their sense of reality and feel “This isn’t happening to me.” Some amputees lose sight of the fact that they have lost a limb and act as if it still existed. In hysterical paralysis and other conversion reactions, defensive denial frequently takes the form of cheerful unconcern. In depressive reactions the patient may deny facts he cannot face, and in catatonic schizophrenia the patient may deny his own existence or the whole of reality. (ILLUSTRATIVE CASE):Although the term denial is usually reserved for an unconscious mechanism, it shades almost imperceptibly into a conscious or half-conscious process in which we screen out unpleasant thoughts and disagreeable realities by a variety of devices. We postpone decisions we do not want to make, ignore problems we do not wish to face, suddenly become intensely preoccupied when disagreeable topics arise. Through these devices we do not deny the existence of problems, but we deny them our attention. This may sometimes help to protect us from stress, or give us time for making decisions—but as a regular pattern of behavior, denial is bound to interfere with our adjustment since it is a way of dodging difficulties instead of facing them.DEPENDENCY NEEDS. Basic needs which must be satisfied by other people,particularly the need for mothering, love, affection, shelter, protection, security, physical care, food, and warmth.Today psychologists emphasize the fact that every child starts out in life as a completely dependent individual who has as vital a need for emotional as for physical nurturance. The need for emotional dependence continues beyond infancy, although sometimes in covert forms. It is now recognized that normal adults, including men, have deep needs for emotional support in the form of approval, reassurance, and devotion. Sometimes these needs may be hidden or denied by a rough exterior or an air of complete independence, but they are believed to exist nevertheless. One of the prime purposes of friendship and especially of marriage is to gratify them. Such needs are particularly intense in situations of stress or disappointment, and husbands and wives, or friends for that matter, should not be ashamed of seeking each other’s support or even crying on each other’s shoulder.Dependency needs, however, may be exaggerated to a point where they are unhealthy. This often happens among immature persons who regress to infantile behavior under stress. Instead of requiring emotional warmth as part of the general climate of life, or emotional support to help them over difficult situations, these people constantly lean on others and look to them for a solution to their problems. In consequence they fail to develop traits of self-confidence, decisiveness, and self- reliance. The clearest example of this character disorder is found in the passive-dependent personality. Excessive dependency needs are also found to underlie certain neurotic disorders. They are most common in hysterical (or conversion) reaction and are found in some psychosomatic disturbances, such as gastric ulcer.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "DENIAL OF REALITY (DENIAL)," in PsychologyDictionary.org, November 28, 2018, https://psychologydictionary.org/denial-of-reality-denial/ (accessed August 17, 2022).

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