What is the most common reaction when someone is given bad news? “No!” “It can’t be!” This is denial at work. Denial is primitive and unconscious. It is the little child squeezing their eyes closed, hiding under the blanket, thinking that if they can’t see the monster, the monster will disappear. It is the adult who does not ask the doctor to examine a growing sore on their skin, hoping it will go away on its own.