Monthly Archives: April 2016

The Many Dangers of Denial

Most of us believe denial unto itself is the intentional act of not acknowledging facts or reality. Looking into the subject intensely, it has become apparent that denial is much, much deeper than that. Denial, in its different forms, could also entail mental conditions due to the shocking nature of the memory or instance in which it is exercized. Denial in its worst form is considered a mental illness in response to things some people just don’t want to think about.

Denial is a form of lie. This lie could be to ones self, but also to others. Psychologists for years have tried identifying the nature of denial to propose a condition. The first to study denial with promising results was Sigmund Freud. He surmised that denial was an emotional defense mechanism, such as the shocking ordeal as death of someone close or in many rape scenarios. Anna Freud was the first to connect addiction with the mental state of denial. I think this is the scenario many of us know best.

There are different degrees of denial. They are:  Simple denial – denying less-than-pleasant facts altogether; Minimisation – one who admits the fact, but down-plays the significance; and Projection –  one who admits the facts and significance,  denying responsibility by blaming others.


At some point in time, we all experience denial, whether in our personal lives, or in the lives of those closest to us.

The most destructive form of denial is a phenomenon known as DARVO. It stands for Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender.

We did our research extensively on the subject, and was quite amazed at how we may encounter DARVO. This excerpt, written by Dr Jennifer J. Freyd, PhD at the University of Oregon, gives us insight:

“It is important to distinguish types of denial, for an innocent person will probably deny a false accusation. Thus denial is not evidence of guilt. However, I propose that a certain kind of indignant self-righteousness, and overly stated denial, may in fact relate to guilt.

I hypothesize that if an accusation is true, and the accused person is abusive, the denial is more indignant, self-righteous and manipulative, as compared with denial in other cases. Similarly, I have observed that actual abusers threaten, bully and make a nightmare for anyone who holds them accountable or asks them to change their abusive behavior. This attack, intended to chill and terrify, typically includes threats of lawsuits, overt and covert attacks, on the whistle-blower’s credibility and so on.

The attack will often take the form of focusing on ridiculing the person who attempts to hold the offender accountable. The attack will also likely focus on ad hominem instead of intellectual/evidential issues. Finally, I propose that the offender rapidly creates the impression that the abuser is the wronged one, while the victim or concerned observer is the offender. Figure and ground are completely reversed. The more the offender is held accountable, the more wronged the offender claims to be.”

I think many readers will identify well with Dr. Freyd. Denial is in our daily lives. Click HERE to learn more about denial and how to cope with others who may need serious help with the extreme forms.

Grow, with the know.