denial

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denial,

in psychology, an ego defense mechanism that operates unconsciously to resolve emotional conflict, and to allay anxiety by refusing to perceive the more unpleasant aspects of external reality. In the psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund FreudFreud, Sigmund
, 1856–1939, Austrian psychiatrist, founder of psychoanalysis. Born in Moravia, he lived most of his life in Vienna, receiving his medical degree from the Univ. of Vienna in 1881.

His medical career began with an apprenticeship (1885–86) under J.
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, denial is described as a primitive defense mechanismdefense mechanism,
in psychoanalysis, any of a variety of unconscious personality reactions which the ego uses to protect the conscious mind from threatening feelings and perceptions.
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. Anna FreudFreud, Anna
, 1895–1982, British psychoanalyst, b. Vienna, Austria. Continuing the work of her father, Sigmund Freud, she was a pioneer in the psychoanalysis of children.
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 studied the widespread occurrence of denial among small children and explained that the mature ego does not continue to make extensive use of denial, because it conflicts with the capacity to recognize and critically test reality. Most people employ denial at some time in their lives when coping with stressful situations, such as the death of a loved one. Elisabeth Kübler-RossKübler-Ross, Elisabeth
, 1926–2004, American psychiatrist, b. Switzerland. After studying medicine at the Univ. of Zürich (M.D. 1957), Kübler-Ross became a pioneer in the field of thanatology, the study of death and dying.
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's influential theory describes denial as the first stage of a dying person's progress in coming to terms with terminal illness. In such instances, denial may be considered adaptive. It is considered maladaptive, however, when it becomes delusional. In recent years, the term is used more generally, to describe the suppression of reality rather than a particular defense mechanism in the Freudian sense.

denial

[di′nī·əl]
(mathematics)
(psychology)
An unconscious defense mechanism in which an individual denies herself or himself recognition of an observation in order to avoid pain or anxiety.

denial

1. the rejection of the truth of a proposition, doctrine, etc.
2. a psychological process by which painful truths are not admitted into an individual's consciousness
References in classic literature ?
I am determined, you see, not to be denied admittance at Churchhill.
The Dolphin replied, "Nay, my friend, blame not me, but Nature, which, while giving me the sovereignty of the sea, has quite denied me the power of living upon the land.
One that cannot be lightly denied," said the Tatterdemalion.
Macallan denied it in the plainest and strongest terms.
She may not have said it in so many words; but she never denied it when
And when they have come into being will any one say that they must of necessity be destroyed; that they can hardly be saved is not denied even by us; but that in the whole course of ages no single one of them can escape--who will venture to affirm this?
Did you not put two and two together, and reflect that if it was not Alfred Inglethorp who was quarrelling with his wife--and you remember, he strenuously denied it at the inquest--it must be either Lawrence or John.
Alfred Inglethorp was called, and denied having purchased the poison.
Dorcas, faithful to her "young gentlemen," denied strenuously that it could have been John's voice she heard, and resolutely declared, in the teeth of everything, that it was Mr.
And how nicely can doggish lust beg for a piece of spirit, when a piece of flesh is denied it!
We had not sat long, but he got up, and, stopping my very breath with kisses, threw me upon the bed again; but then being both well warmed, he went farther with me than decency permits me to mention, nor had it been in my power to have denied him at that moment, had he offered much more than he did.
I told him how imprudently his brother had managed himself, in making himself so public; for that if he had kept it a secret, as such a thing out to have been, I could but have denied him positively, without giving any reason for it, and he would in time have ceased his solicitations; but that he had the vanity, first, to depend upon it that I would not deny him, and then had taken the freedom to tell his resolution of having me to the whole house.