The ego requires separation for its existence. The ego’s baseline of separativeness is maintained by constantly reenforces its only-ness. This relates to the specialness referenced in A Course in Miracles.
To accomplish this the ego needs and will have enemies. At its most simple the enemy is any position or statement taken by another ego which reenforces difference no matter whether a negative or a positive comparison. They are of equal value in keeping the ego centered in its sense of separation. These opportunities to keep, always, to the separative agenda can range from simple observations and/or comments on superficial things to confrontation and war.
As this pattern relentlessly plays out life after life, there does come a time in our journey when we reach points where we can see how our own behavior has caused hurt and perhaps even harm to others. Seeing someone respond to some act of our ego separation such as an unkindness, a slight, ignoring or dismissing their validity as a person, or even verbal or physical assault can be an opportunity for a life altering experience. Awakening to the handiwork of our ego can often be a traumatic but very important part of our growth including the opportunity to review in a clear eyed, no rationalizing, and self analytical way what we are really thinking. Or, what we are not thinking, if as is so often the case, we let the little ego runs it’s specialness agenda on automatic all the time. Regardless of how we reach the realization, it can be a time of “To thine own self be true.”
While these moments of knowing may be painful they can also be treasured as the stirrings of the nascent capacity in all of us to stand back and see the functioning of our own ego. Realization of this capacity and using it constructively facilitates the unfolding of much spiritual awareness and new ways of seeing the world. It is an opportunity to make conscious loving choices which can often best begin with forgiveness of others and ourselves.