What I learn from my enemies is every bit as valuable as what I learn from my friends. Friends teach me to appreciate myself, to receive love, to feel safe in my vulnerability. Enemies teach me self- acceptance. When I am criticized, I learn to stay on my own side. When I am reviled, I learn not to take others personally. When I am betrayed and disappointed, I learn to stay in my Adult, to forgive, and to keep on moving.

When I look back over what has made me strong, I credit my enemies. I’ve learned not to listen to “you” statements. I recognize when another wants to hurt me so she won’t feel her own pain. I’ve learned to step aside instead of react. I’ve learned that no one really cares that much about me--usually they don’t pay attention to anyone besides themselves. If they do want to hurt me, it’s only to serve their misguided purposes. How I’m told I’m wrong is almost exclusively projection. If it weren’t, there wouldn’t be hostility associated with the statement.

People are complex creatures with inner worlds they often can’t handle. They don’t know what to do with frustration, conflict, misperception. They don’t recognize the gift in loss. They don’t want to grow up because they’re afraid they can’t. They’re not sure they know enough or have enough or that they can weather the storms. They’re not in control of their lives so they act controlling to distract themselves and the rest of us. The front is all there is. Nothing exists behind the posturing.

Learning to see through the bluster anchors me in my own truth. It teaches me that I am all I have and I am enough. The Needy Child part of me is comforted by the strong Adult. And that’s all she needs. The supports of money, material things, prestige, or acknowledgement don’t mean much in themselves. But that enduring relationship between the Child and the Adult promotes transformative growth. Those two together can face the world. It’s an unbeatable combination. And without my enemies I probably wouldn’t have developed this strong inner self-supportng relationship. I’ll always be grateful to jerks.