There is almost a literal equivalence to being the doer and the done-to in karma across lifetimes. It isn’t always exactly the same, because what’s needed is the opportunity for growth, not punishment, unless a particular experience needs to be had. Nevertheless, it’s quite accurate to say that what you dish, you eventually deal with. Owing to the necessity of being both good and bad through time, it isn’t really a mistake so much as an evolutionary step. That said, the rules are quite literal in that there is no escape from who you were or what you did. We often think that people “get away with it” but that only seems true until they grow enough spiritually to be ready to repay their debts. The rate at which it occurs also has an effect: you can be accumulating karma for future lifetimes or you can be experiencing “instant karma” where things come back to you this lifetime, and quickly. If you’ve ever felt that you can’t get away with anything, this could be one reason why.
It’s a little like a bank account where you deposit savings and pay debts: you can choose to run a tab or you can pay for it now. It is often the almost-unconscious thoughts that run through our heads in the heat of the moment, that point a clue: “She couldn’t care less if I ceased living,” “He would watch me starve by the roadside,” and so on. You’d be surprised how many of these stress-induced rapid-fire quick association neural networks actually have their basis in actual past-life relationships and events. If you killed someone in a past life, there is often the feeling that “they don’t care if I live or die” now that burns to a quick when things get heated. We’ve all been victim and aggressor in times gone by: I’ve seen myself doing things that explain some of my present life situations—it’s usually a reversal of perspective that feels diametrically opposed without being literally identical. By that I mean, the same events don’t necessarily transpire, but the feeling and tone of the relationship and emotions involved, do.
If you are drawn to power-based dynamics, chances are you feel powerless now. If you were once violent and abusive, chances are you feel victimized now. And so on. What seems “cool” in the light of youth often burns asunder in the dark of night. The more people you hurt, the more there is to repay; it’s almost fortunate to not have been good at doing bad things!