Denial

Denial

Denial is probably one of the best known defence mechanisms, used often to describe situations in which people seem unable to face reality or admit an obvious truth (i.e. "He's in denial."). Denial is an outright refusal to admit or recognize that something has occurred or is currently occurring. Drug addicts or alcoholics often deny that they have a problem, while victims of traumatic events may deny that the event ever occurred.

Denial functions to protect the ego from things that the individual cannot cope with. While this may save us from anxiety or pain, denial also requires a substantial investment of energy. Because of this, other defences are also used to keep these unacceptable feelings from consciousness. In many cases, there might be overwhelming evidence that something is true, yet the person will continue to deny its existence or truth because it is too uncomfortable to face. Denial can involve a flat out rejection of the existence of a fact or reality. In other cases, it might involve admitting that something is true, but minimizing its importance. Sometimes people will accept reality and the seriousness of the fact, but they will deny their own responsibility and instead blame other people or other outside forces.

Self states

Self states

Nascent self-states become part of an emerging self that will be comprised of a compliment of dissociated self-states that in healthy development become integrated, harmonious,  flexible, and continuous. In children, developing this harmonious compliment of self-states depends on a number of things including a secure base and attuned interaction with caregivers. In adulthood, secure, validating relationships afford the opportunity to find, in Robert Stolorow's words, a "relational home" for our feelings, especially the painful and disturbing ones.

Identity

Identity

A term used to describe a person's conception and expression of their subjectivity within a given social milieu. Contemporary relational theory understands social categories such as race, gender, nationality, culture and class to be core constituents of identity. These are considered to be mandated by the dominant culture. Nevertheless, identity is inevitably personal. It is the emotional self formed within a familial and interpersonal context which gives meaning and significance to.

Collective narrative

Collective narrative

As with individuals, groups small and large reconstruct their group experience through stories that may become the official collective narrative of the group. Confronting or changing a collective narrative may be difficult simply because so many are invested in it, emotionally or through the power hierarchy. Individuals attempting to create a new version of the collective narrative may induce anxiety in the group and find themselves the objects of group aggression.

Agency

Agency

Agency is the capacity of an agent (a person or other entity, human or any living being in general) to act in a world. The capacity to act does not at first imply a specific moral dimension to the ability to make the choice to act, and moral agency is therefore a distinct concept.