Why we see in others the things we hate about ourselves

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

We sometimes see a reflection of ourselves in others

We humans sometimes get involved into labeling people, calling them names or describing them in negative ways. We can call someone a liar, a cheater or a Narcissist just because we believe that this person has one of those personality traits that we dislike.

In some cases our negative description of people might actually be right while in some other cases this description might be a reflection of who we truly are.

As strange as this sounds sometimes the things we hate about people the most are actually things that we already suffer from and this is one reason we hate those things. See Why do people judge others

Why we see in others the things we hate about ourselves

Our brains are very smart that they sometimes create unconscious strategies than we don't become conscious of easily. See What are the subconscious goals and how they affect your life.

One of these unconscious goals can be projecting some of our bad traits on others in order to feel good about ourselves. Here is the logical explanation for why we see in others the things we hate about ourselves:

  • 1) It's a one smart form of denial: Sometimes pointing fingers at others is just one form of denial that the mind uses. After all if you hate one personality trait then probably you don't have it, right? This is exactly what your mind wants you to believe. Your subconscious mind can force you hate a personality trait in order to help you deny that you already have it. See also Why we hate to know the truth about ourselves
  • 2) It's a reflection of self hate: If you hate something about yourself then your mind might help you vent some of this hatred by forcing you to hate others who have that thing. In such a case your mind is trying to let you vent some of that self hatred in an indirect way. See also Ego defense mechanisms
  • 3) It's a sign of lack of courage: When the person doesn't have enough courage to face themselves or to acknowledge that they have bad personality traits then they might start projecting them on others in order to feel better about themselves. See also Why we project our fears on other objects

Beware of false projections

If you hate certain people or certain personality traits then you might want to ask yourself whether you have any of those traits or not.

Yes in some cases you might hate something that has nothing to do with you but in other cases your hatred might be nothing but a desire to deny what you already suffer from. See also Why do people become what they hate

If you always judge people, label them or put them down then there might be something you dislike about yourself that you see in those people.

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Want to know more?

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Why we hate to know the truth about ourselves

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