A psychological defense mechanism initiated by the psyche to temporarily suppress awareness of a deluded self-concept.
Denial may be understood as an attempt to reject unacceptable feelings, needs, thoughts, wishes, or even a painful external reality that alters our perception of ourselves. This psychological defense mechanism protects us temporarily from:
* Knowledge (things we don’t want to know)
* Insight or awareness that threatens our self-esteem; or our mental or physical health; or our security (things we don't want to think about)
* Unacceptable feelings (things we don’t want to feel)
Some of the forms of denial: rationalization, minimizing or discounting, evasion and displacement, exaggerated emotional responses, projection or blaming, intellectualization, repression, rhetorical ploys, and logical fallacies.
"I won't think about that today" was Scarlet O'Hara's use of repression as a form of denial. (from Gone With The Wind)
"I only drink beer, not the hard stuff so it's no big deal" is Joe's use of minimizing as a form of denial.