You know what I can’t stand? People trying to force their shit on other people. You know what I used to be? One of those people.
The particular egoic patterns that you [resent and] react to most strongly in others and misperceive as their identity tend to be the same patterns that are also in you, but that you are unable or unwilling to detect within yourself.
– Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth)
When I realized this it just blew me away. Growing up, you usually develop egoic patterns that are similar to those of the people you grow up with. In my case, that was mostly my mom. She has an assertive personality. And now that I think about it, so do I and even all of my siblings. We are all assertive, more or less. That’s probably why we were fighting all the time when we were little lol.
My mom also has certain egoic patterns that I absolutely can’t stand. Trying to force her beliefs and things on other people, especially her children of course, is one of them. She does not like being told what to do and how to do something. And guess what, neither do I. But in the past, she would make decisions on behalf of me, choose or buy me stuff without asking me and force me to act the way she thought was right. It always made me furious. I developed a deep hatred, contempt and resentment towards her. And of course I thought I was different.
What I didn’t know was that I was exactly like her. You usually don’t realize these things until you get involved in an intimate relationship with someone, and even then chances are high that you just keep blaming the other person and tell yourself that it’s just the wrong person until the end of time. That’s what I did for a long time. And then of course, every other person also has their own egoic patterns and if both parties are unable to recognize this and to work on themselves, every relationship will ultimately become dysfunctional in some way. And so did ours of course. The funny thing is, my former partner used to tell me that I’m like my mother in some ways. Sometimes I would complain about my mother to him and when he told me that I was like her I would get defensive. Well, I know now that he was right. I did try to control him, project my ideals onto him, get angry for no special reason etc. I behaved exactly like my mom, whose behavior I absolutely despised.
But even for a long time after we broke up, I would not admit that to myself, because I still wasn’t that aware. It took some more collisions with my mom and other people, observation, analyzation, introspection, therapy, research etc. until I finally fully realized and understood what was going on. Everything became so clear. Again: “The particular egoic patterns that you [resent and] react to most strongly in others and misperceive as their identity tend to be the same patterns that are also in you, but that you are unable or unwilling to detect within yourself.”
Hatred dissolved. Contempt dissolved. She wasn’t aware of what she was doing. I wasn’t aware of what I was doing. And then it also hit me that she was exactly behaving like her own mother. She often complains about how my grandma used to control her and force her to do stuff she didn’t actually want to do while denying her everything she wanted to do. To this day she hasn’t realized what has been happening and how everything she hates in her mother is also in herself.
Take a look at yourself and the egoic patterns in other people that evoke a strong negative reaction in you. Your “enemies” teach you more about yourself than anyone else.