As the Scots poet Robert 'Rabbie' Burns wrote:
"O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!"
"Oh would some power the gift give us
to see ourselves as others see us!"
I find it remarkable, pitiful, some times, that there are some people who see the people arround them as some sort of giant distorting mirror.
What do I mean by that? They can see their own faults reflected upon the faces of other people, they project their own faults on to other people.
The bully sees other people as being a bully to them, the person who is quick to anger sees other people as being quick to anger, the person with a problem cannot see that problem in themselves but they can see it in other people.
I once knew a hopeless alcoholic who, when he saw someone have just two glasses of wine, said: "You are drinking far too much! You should watch out! You obviously have a problem with drinking!"
Somehow he had reflected his own problem behaviour on to someone else, seeing his own problems reflected back toward him. But he did not have a problem (of course!) and became offensive to anyone who suggested otherwise.
Jesus mentioned this problem. He spoke of people who can see a mote in the eye of someone else, yet who cannot see the beam in their own eye.
They are always so very helpful to point out your faults and problems and yet they cannot see their own faults and problems. Or is it that they are really aware, at some level, that they are a -for example- a control freak, a bully, or have an abusive personality?
But that somehow, they can turn this around against people who are nearest to them so that they genuinely and honestly believe that they are the saint and not the sinner?
That they are surrounded by other people who are bullies, control freaks, have abusive personalities, etc., etc?
There's an old joke that mocks this type of behaviour: "It's not me, it's the rest of them!"
How many lives and relationships, how many families, how many otherwise promising careers are spoilt, damaged or utterly laid waste because someone, somehow, has learned that to survive one merely has to develop the ability to project one's own faults and weaknesses on to other people?