Denial is a cold embrace, a false memory nourished by repetition. Its comfort is chilling misery. In the end, this can only end in the public death throws of the ego.
Self-created memories are needed to fill in the gaps in one's perception of reality bringing a false light of goodness to the dark corners in the story. You did A, B, C, E, F, H but always forget to mention D and G or if you do, what comes forth is a rationalization which is just a dress-up word for self-deception. The problem friends is that when we do this, we have a tendency to build a self-image and/or an ego dependent upon those rationalizations. We can claim for that little phantom self everything from superiority to victimhood.
In the immediate moment in this lifetime, all those efforts at controlling the spin are simply too much work. There is a saying I heard while studying life coaching that goes something like this: It is harder to avoid doing what you are supposed to do than it is to do it. Think of how hard your mind has to work to avoid everything from mowing the lawn to going back to school. Think of the anxiety it creates. Own that saying is a fundamental truth.
When we apply that to denial the problem becomes exponentially greater because the things we deny reveal our shadows. Those parts of ourselves that we deny. This compounds the anxiety which is now the ghost in the machine driving all sorts of other silliness trying to keep the phantom image believable to the world. Sooner or later, the stress will get you or the flaws within the imperfect image simply become too obvious.
The trap lies in the failing to admit your errors. The trap lies in the in the inability to own those aspects of your shadow self and do something about them. You can integrate them and flip them to your service much as you'd do working with the Lesser Key spirits (Goetia) or you can find a shrink to help you avoid or understand them. I'm sure there are other things but you damn well better do something.
The first step is being able to say I did D and G and this is what I was hiding. I have done that. It is embarrassing and it is hard. However, I gained respect instead of losing it. Even in totally damaged relationships people have said at least I owned it.
The second step is doing something active to learn from the experience and grow. This must be more than acknowledging to yourself what you did. Perhaps a simple way to do this is creating a thought-form who is instructed to warn you when that same shadow is at work. Knowledge is power. Power is light. Light is love.
Fail to do this and the stress will kill of some part of you. The shadow will bury your brighter nature. You will have surrendered to your own self-created lie. This is the very definition of spiritual failure.
The upside is that a little work can make that an instant success even after decades of denial. Suddenly, I am hearing a lot of lawn mowers starting up.
Note: First paragraph revised to remove pompous wording.