Denial is a type of defense mechanism that involves ignoring the reality of a situation to avoid anxiety. Defense mechanisms are strategies that people use to cope with distressing feelings. In the case of denial, it can involve not acknowledging reality or denying the consequences of that reality.
If you are in denial, it often means that you are struggling to accept something that seems overwhelming or stressful. However, in the short term, this defense mechanism can have a useful purpose. It can allow you to have time to adjust to a sudden change in your reality. By giving yourself time, you might be able to accept, adapt, and eventually move on.
But denial can also cause problems in your life, particularly if it keeps you from addressing a problem or making a needed change. In some cases, it can prevent you from accepting help or getting the treatment that they need.
Like other defense mechanisms, denial functions as a way to protect you from experiencing anxiety. In some cases, it might be a way to avoid dealing with stress or painful emotions. By refusing to deal with or even admit that there is something wrong, you are trying to prevent facing stress, conflict, threats, fears, and anxieties.
Denial serves a few different purposes. First, using this defense mechanism means you don’t have to acknowledge the problem. Second, it also allows you to minimize the potential consequences that might result.
Denying a problem exists allows the individual to continue engaging in destructive behavior without addressing the problem.