Certainly I have gone through this cycle. And it has made me miserable. Through Vipassana I am learning about how not to get caught in this vicious cycle. I am practicing with the hope that I can learn how to make it a virtuous cycle. I am trying to be a student of my belief system. Gosh it is hard.
I believe that most (but not all) external conflict is unresolved internal conflict. Sometimes external conflict, like the battle of Kurukshetra is good and desired. But these are rare exceptions. I am more concerned with the rule than the exception.
We have an intra-personal relationship with ourself. Our natural function is to love and play. This relationship with ourself is like viewing our own self in the mirror. For whatever reason we are not content with loving and playing with ourself. When we are not at peace with ourself, we react to the image that we see of ourself in the mirror. When there is a conflict with ourself, this forms the ego.
Sometimes we get so lost in the dance with ourself that we forget that what we are seeing in the mirror is ourself. We establish a certain relationship with ourself and react to it. We get so lost in reacting to this relationship that we don't see that they are the same person. We become so internally conflicted.
Eventually, we project this internally conflicted image of ourself into the external world. And we react to this image.
The way I think of it is as a ball covered with mercury (or silver, whatever) inside. This ball serves as a two way mirror. At a certain point of concentration of the light bouncing around the ball, it projects out of the ball. This is exactly how a laser works.
So I feel that when the inner conflict with ourself gets really concentrated, at a certain point we end up projecting our conflict into the outside world. We enact the intra-personal drama in the external world as an inter-personal drama. The unresolved intra-personal drama has now become an inter-personal drama.
The goal is to feel no intra-personal conflict. Krishna in the Gita teaches Arjuna that there are many different ways to resolve this conflict. There are many paths, many ways, to resolving this conflict. Every individual's path seems to be somewhat different. Krishna seems pretty openminded about everyone choosing their own path in feeling no intra-personal conflict. The goal is to feel no conflict while loving and playing with your object of satisfaction.
Though I theoretically understand this, I personally have not realized it. To whatever degree I have realized it, it has brought satisfaction and a sense of peace to me.
Vipassana has helped me a lot in resolving this intra-personal conflict. By observing inner sensations and remaining in equilibrium. In our intra-personal relationship with ourself, if we want to get out of equilibrium, all we have to do is start a momentum of craving or despising a certain state of being. The more we generate aversions and cravings for these particular states, we start a pendulus momentum of inner-conflict. Eventually the conflict becomes uncontainable in ourself and we will project it out on others. Then we will react to them through craving or aversion.
The more we develop and pour fuel into the fire of this relationship through more craving and aversion, the more we rock the boat of our life. At a certain point we get so immersed in either hating or loving this object (whether it is a dog, person, art piece or sport) that we develop a compulsive relationship with it. Our negative or positive relationship with this object forms our identity.