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Is there a single word which describes someone who is trying to hide from the truth? For example, when my acquaintance's father died, she went on living and believing that her father was still alive and was on an overseas trip. What is the term for this condition?

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up vote 20 down vote accepted

In that context it's called denial.

denial -n
A psychological process by which painful truths are not admitted into an individual's consciousness

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5  
Did she believe her father had taken a trip to Egypt? Maybe a river cruise? – MT_Head May 17 '11 at 2:19
    
@MT_Head cringe :D – jsj May 17 '11 at 2:29
2  
Couldn't help it. I have mummy issues. – MT_Head May 17 '11 at 2:32
3  
+1 That's a perfect word in this context. Denial is the first stage of the 5 stages of grief (or coping with someone's death): denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. – b.roth May 17 '11 at 10:23
    
Example usage, "My acquaintance is living in denial of her father's death." – Wayne May 17 '11 at 15:40

In my view "delusion" would be an appropriate word to describe your example.

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I think Bogdan's suggestion of escapism fits the bill

noun

The tendency to escape from daily reality or routine by indulging in daydreaming, fantasy, or entertainment.

so that person would be an escapist

noun
Someone who wants to escape; especially from reality

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2  
This is a related word, but it does not really apply to the OP. I will update my post with a definition. – jsj May 17 '11 at 10:10

Aside from the excellent suggestion of denial, other workable terms:

  • irrational
  • disconnected
  • lost
  • out of touch
  • crazy
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