For neurotics, behavior such as denial is an unconscious defense mechanism that protects against the experience of unbearable pain. With disordered characters, what we commonly perceive as unconscious defenses (e.g., denial) are more often deliberate tactics of impression-management, manipulation, and responsibility-avoidance.
‘Denial’ at Psychology, Philosophy and Real Life, Page 2
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“Everyone is in denial about something; just try denying it and watch friends make a list.” An article in the New York Times looks at research on denial and comes to the conclusion that far from being a destructive force it is a necessary part of life, which both protects us and actually helps us to form and nourish relationships.