Denial consists of the refusal to accept a past or present reality and is most commonly employed to protect the host from their own negative traits; to protect them from the repeated memories of the negative actions of another or to avoid recognising their own guilt for past actions, thoughts or feelings.
It is a self defence mechanism employed by aspects of the subconscious mind in an attempt to protect emotional and psychological wellbeing.
Denial can be a scary and very sad thing to witness in someone that you love or care about; it is generally very difficult to help someone see the truth and especially for them to truly believe and accept that reality on a long term basis.
People deny responsibility every day for a number of things; but denial itself goes far deeper into the psyche than that. While people in denial generally still have the seed of truth still buried within their heads, they generally cannot believe that it is the truth even when confronted with it. This is due to the mind in effect rewriting or superimposing a more acceptable reality over the original memory.
Even with abject proof of an events occurrence, someone in denial is highly unlikely to fully accept the particular reality that their mind has decided they cannot cope with. They are more likely in that instance to use projection or minimisation or to continue or revert back to being in full blown denial...
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 only drink beer, not the hard stuff so it's no big deal" is Joe's use of minimizing as a form of denial.
Or a refusal to accept something.
Not only a river in Egypt.
Idiot: RACIST! The only reason you don't support his team is because HE'S BLACK!
You: Uh, what? I'm not a racist. I'm just not a White Sox guy.
Idiot: Ah...a racist in denial. Why don't you just admit it?
You: Look, I was adopted and raised by black parents. I have two brothers who are black. I love my family. Hell, most of the girls I've dated have been black. I spent three years in Kenya building water treatment facilities for black villagers. I am NOT a racist.
Idiot: Typical. 'Some of my best friends are black.' Yeah, right. You racist piece of crap. Maybe if you weren't in denial about it, I'd believe you.
You: Uh, what...?