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3 Reasons Why People Feel the Need to Have Enemies

3 Reasons Why People Feel the Need to Have Enemies

3 Reasons Why People Feel the Need to Have Enemies

Advice Seeker :
Dear April Masini,

I just want everyone to get along! My group of friends always has a couple people who just do not like each other. Actually, some of them just plain refuse to hang out with the group if their "enemy" is there. As far as I know, nothing big happened between the people who don't get along, they just don't like each other. Why would anyone want to have enemies in their lives if they have no good reason?
Make Friends Not Enemies


April Masini's Advice :

Dear Make Friends Not Enemies,

There is one main reason why people need an enemy:

Low self esteem.
That's it. End of story.
Now, don't get that confused with people who have enemies, but don't need them. That's different.

Reasons why people need enemies:

  1. Control. If you have an enemy it is easier to control your life with the enemy as the obstacle of your feelings and behavior. If you don't have an enemy you have to figure out why you feel so bad and behave so badly. This is a lot more work and a lot harder to do. It's no wonder that people with low self-esteem who don't want to do the work, create and look for enemies on which to channel their bad feelings and behavior.
  2. Drama creates a victim. If you have an enemy, you can be the victim, and if you're the victim, you can feel sorry for yourself, and you can create drama to have other people feel sorry for you. You garner more sympathy and attention the more drama you create around yourself as the victim and someone else as your enemy. You set up a good guy (you) and bad guy (your enemy) situation.
  3. Responsibility. You abdicate all responsibility for the problem if you have an enemy who is bad across the board. The reality is that you are most likely somewhat to blame or somewhat responsible for the relationship and the dynamic, but if you create an inequality where there is an enemy with all the power, and you without any power, as the victim, it's all their fault, and you don't have to take the high road or do any work -- you can just give them all the responsibility.