Love Letters to Humans (no. 83) — on Making Enemies

Where did you learn that differences and conflict necessarily produce enemies? What if that isn’t even remotely true?

No one can choose for you what they will be to you. Other people cannot make themselves our friends, our beloveds, or our enemies—only we can do that.

What if we create our enemies out of differences and disagreement simply because we want an enemy to fight?

Okay, but… who wants enemies? That just sounds weird, but stay with me for a minute, if you will.

I do. (I did.) I have wanted enemies. Recently, even. Sometimes I make temporary enemies out of the people I love most, like Ben, my teachers, my family. Sometimes it’s whoever is in charge. Sometimes it’s everything… the way the world is right now.

I’m starting to see how easy it is to avoid my own responsibility when I have someone or something else to fight with, blame, or hold in contempt. I don’t have to look at the real problem, because *they* are the problem. If I can control, change, or destroy them, my problem is solved.

But that’s never quite how it works, is it?

I want something. I want something to be different. Rather than taking responsibility for my own decisions and the consequences of making the thing different, I blame you. I try to get you to make things different. Now I want *you* to be different so I can be okay. And if you refuse to be different, you are the reason I am not okay. You are responsible for how I feel, not me.

Creating enemies out of conflict or disagreement is codependency, a way to ensure that responsibility (and power) rest absolutely with someone outside ourselves. It is a fierce commitment to opposition over liberation, and a commitment to dismissing possibility and missing our shared humanity.

Remind me of this often. I’m still learning it and it is so uncomfortable.


Relationship is. Right relationship nourishes.