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In the context of one being aware of something deep down but choosing to ignore it or lie about it to themselves. Example sentence:

At the back of his mind he knew that his words would never reach her. [But still he stood in front of her grave and spoke as if she could hear.]

_____彼の言葉は彼女に届くことがないと分かっていた。

I was googling 心の後ろに and 心の裏に, and while they seemed to be valid phrases they weren't actually used in this context. What would be the right way to say this?

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The most common way to say this is 内心【ないしん】では. 心の奥では and 心の奥底では also work. You need で instead of に. The contrastive は is optional but it's usually used in this context.

内心では、彼の言葉は彼女に届くことがないと分かっていた。
心の奥では、彼の言葉は彼女に届くことがないと分かっていた。
心の奥底では、彼の言葉は彼女に届くことがないと分かっていた。

There is not much difference, but the latter one is the most emphatic, and thus probably implies you are scarcely aware of your inner thoughts.

心の裏では exists, but it's relatively uncommon, and sounds as if you were actually thinking of something bad.

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  • Thanks, I've seen 内心 before but online dictionaries haven't been helpful in giving enough context so: does it carry the connotation of subconsciously rejecting the awareness? Apologies for the bad phrasing but, the example sentences I've seen all imply that the person this word is used on is just hiding their inner thoughts from others as opposed to from themselves, too. Same with 心の奥.
    – idlackage
    Commented Jul 15, 2017 at 2:47
  • Yes, I think they can be used to describe "deceiving yourself" By contrast, 本音 is almost always used as opposed to 建前.
    – naruto
    Commented Jul 15, 2017 at 3:01

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