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A primary defense mechanism involving a failure to consciously acknowledge thoughts, feelings, desires, or aspects of reality that would be painful or unacceptable. It can be seen as a coping mechanism we use when things are too painful to face or accept.

Denial often involves blocking external events from our conscious awareness. Essentially, if a situation is too much for us to handle, then we simply refuse to experience it at all. That does not make the facts or reality of the situation go away but allows us to pretend that it isn’t real and therefore, doesn’t have any impact on us.

While using denial might reduce your anxiety for a short period, the reality is that it is not an effective way to deal with a situation in the long-term. Eventually, the reality of the circumstances kicks in, and then you may turn to blame to address your feelings of anxiety or guilt, trying to put the responsibility for your feelings onto someone else.

However, not dealing with situations or assigning blame can have a negative impact on your relationships in the long run, so denial can prove to be an unhealthy defense mechanism over time.

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