The Stage of Denial

man in black crew neck shirt

What the Denial Stage of Grief and Loss Is / Does & How to Move On

Denial & What it Does:

  • Affects judgment.
  • Is a characteristic of many diseases.
  • Distorts the truth.
  • Grows in strength as the disease progresses.


  • People with heart disease keep smoking.
  • People with cancer or a lump deny going to a doctor.
  • Alcoholics keep drinking after five DUI’s, blaming the police.

Denial is a natural defense system, present in everyone to some extent. Making excuses for the reason people do things is natural and normal, but must be overcome before healing codependency or the stages of grief and loss recovery can take place. Some common ways denial is present as a defense system areā€¦

  • Rationalizing: I drink because I am under pressure.
  • Intellectualizing: Some physicians recommend alcohol for health.
  • Blaming: Life is boring without alcohol.
  • Minimize: I only overuse on holidays.
  • Joking: I like making people laugh at me.
  • Projecting: Find someone worse to compare yourself with.
  • Generalizing: Everyone has bad habits.

Denial is differs from lying in that a person in denial believes the lie to be true.

Listening to others is the way to begin breaking denial.

Personal Questions to Ask in Order to Reach the Truth:

  • How much do I drink or use at a time?
  • How often do I drink or use?
  • What are the problems caused directly by alcohol or drugs in my life?
  • Do I live in codependency?
  • What is the harm I have brought to others by using?

Life Events that Start with Denial

  • Death of Loved One
  • Divorce
  • Loss of a Job
  • Loss of a Pet
  • Loss of a Friend

Situations that Start with Denial

  • Rejection
  • Betrayal
  • Breaking of a Confidence

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