Making the Most of an Enemy

I thought you folks would enjoy this.

The Upside Down World

your-enemis-are-your-greatest-strengthBack when I was a kid, I would hear the words of Jesus telling us to love our enemies and pray for those who hurt us and wonder . . . do I have enemies? Did the popular girls at school who seemed to be snearing at me all the time count as enemies? How about the teachers who kept insisting that I do my homework rather than just ace the test – were they my enemies? Was the dog who scared the ever-loving-crap out of me on my paper route an enemy? Enemy’s such a harsh word. Labeling those involved in low-level conflicts with me as enemies seemed awfully melodramatic – even for me.

Growing up in peacetime and as the child of parents who got along with the neighbors rather than starting Hatfield and MaCoy style fueds with them, enemies seemed in short supply. But I’ve always been…

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About Anthony Mannucci

A physicist (yours truly) turns his attention to many subjects...

Posted on September 28, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Hi Tony – about the article ‘making the most of your enemy’. I’m still thinking about a suitable response…… The difficulty is, that sometimes enemies aren’t people but systems of thought which have taken over vulnerable people ( because of lots of reasons – like early conditionning) etc. Their potential for reasoned behaviour in response to a range of stimuli becomes affected by illogical ‘transferences’ .

    It is disorientating to be selected as ‘an enemy’ by someone who is responding puppet -like to you as some hostile fantasy, persecuting object because that notion has been put in their minds by someone trying to exorcize their own demons. I guess Eric Berne might have addressed this subject in ‘The Games people play’ and I’ve seen the techniques documented in ’21 Dirty Tricks at Work – how to beat the game of office politics’

    I was intrigued by the notion that ‘enemies’ can signpost us to the need to put out the fire within us. So do we put out vibes inadvertently which attracts people who see the potential to torment us? Got to study this a bit more closely.

    Thanks as ever for taking time to try and figure out what I mean.

    P.S. I dabbled a bit in Psychoanalytic thought, do you think Freud and great American ego psychologists like Otto Kernberg, Heinz Kohut etc. had anything valid to say about the mechanics of enemy formation?

  2. Irene,
    There are things I liked about the post, but I cannot claim that I agree with its entirety. Something that struck me about it is how our attitude towards the enemy is a key thing. It is worth considering the advice to “depersonalize”. Our first reaction is in fact to “personalize”, to defend ourselves from attack and attack back. In fact, our enemy may be acting out their own little drama, of which we are merely a player. Sometimes, an attack by our enemy reflects more on the enemy than on us.

    I would say people have to be responsible for the systems of thought they adopt. I don’t see these systems themselves as the enemy.

    Regarding psychoanalysis, I have not read up on that lately, so I cannot answer your question directly.

  3. Hi Tony,
    Thanks for your reply. Yes, I agree that ‘our enemy’ may be acting out their own little drama, but there can be big consequences when people suffer at the hands of those whose ‘little drama’ is to maintain a fanatical adherence to a Terrorist ideology for example.

    Sometimes it is a very big ask for some vulnerable people to be responsible for their systems of thought. Brainwashing techniques can result in these people becoming easy fodder for the drug barons, the people traffikers etc., or by obeying, puppet-like, instructions to create disorder and conflict, wherever.

    As a result of feeling victimised by ‘personal’ experiences in the workplace, volunteering projects etc. isn’t it reasonable and indeed essential to have clear policies of protection against those who may operate from the perspective of a damaged personality with a resultant inability to treat others fairly and realistically.

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