But if I'm perceiving myself as somehow in need, perhaps because I'm tired/underslept or stressed out, I start to imagine someone nearby coming along and interacting with me. And in that interaction I imagine that they are being needy and they put some kind of pressure on me or are demanding something of me, and I start to get cranky and retaliate defensively. Then I'm imagining how I'm having to defend myself and am feeling attacked and all this, and trying to justify myself, as if it's really happening.
When I then catch myself, which happens sooner than before, I realize that I'm actually having this fantasy entirely 'within' my own mind and it's got nothing to do with that person. Somehow I've split my mind and set up part of myself to be against another part of myself. This indicates to me that I'm believing I'm in need and perceiving myself to be lacking, so I need to get that corrected. I have to admit that I'm doing this to myself and stop it, and maybe I need to ask for Holy Spirit's help here, in addition to taking full responsibility for it.
Now, this is a more obvious example of me having this fantasy of self-attack when nobody is around and it's clearly not triggered by them other than through the suggestion that they even 'exist' nearby (which is enough). But this same mechanic basically plays out regardless of whether I'm provoked or not. Regardless of whether I'm alone or with someone. And when I'm with someone and I'm experiencing this, it seems more obvious to buy into the idea that they're causing it, and to them project blame onto them.
But at all times, this is all happening in my own mind. It's me attacking myself and trying to pass it off as someone else causing it. Silly me. I need to forgive myself and choose peace instead.