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When Enemies Attack

Say you have an archenemy. A real-life nemesis. One you’d banish to a remote island, first chance you got.

There is a long history with this enemy. Unsettling history. And, in the recent past, that history—full of terrible, inexcusable behavior, anger, disgust, embarrassment—has made it near-impossible to be around or communicate with them, though this is one you cannot dismiss from life entirely. There are reasons you are forced to interact with The Enemy.

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at

So imagine that not too long ago, unavoidable encounters spiked your anxiety. You were a raw, exposed nerve over the idea of crossing paths, the risk of confrontation, even just a few exchanged words, because — while this sounds extreme, it’s fact that will eventually see daylight — The Enemy is a bully with lacking morals, no conscience or sense of accountability, and little to respect. Fully aware of these truths, then, and knowing The Enemy has yet to meet severe consequence for some serious offenses, you found it difficult to occupy the same space without increased pulse, racing thoughts, preoccupation, some animosity.

But that was before…

Let’s assume time has passed. Quality time. Your life has continued. You’ve assessed the damage caused by history. You’ve figured yourself out, repaired said damage (and all on your own). Determined your own truths, and reality-minus-history, what you stand for, what you’ll never allow again. You’ve learned how to breathe, how to cultivate (and retain) inner peace. You have let go of what was never your responsibility to hold onto. You have moved on.

You are revived and strong and victorious.

And then say, with no warning, you get cornered by The Enemy. It happens in the flesh, this is not good. Not good at all. You try to break free — because you’ve learned evasion is best, healthiest — but can’t and, since there is no escape, you are stuck.

Things are said at you. Subtle insults and condescension thrown. You are in the path of destruction.

But here, you recognize The Enemy’s same old tactic, gaslighting, it’s been this way forever and a day, and also…

you realize…

it doesn’t matter. You see it for what it is. You see The Enemy for what they are, and that the attack has nothing to do with you. It never did, and you will not be run over again. You will keep your head, you will call on your power and hold your own.

Forget the things being said to you, they mean nothing, you can disregard. They are a delusion.

You have your own things to say, actually, and so you do. It doesn’t matter that they won’t be heard or acknowledged, that your words will be twisted later, you’re saying them. You are still raw and exposed, but this time, it’s on your terms.

You reject the attack. Because you are bigger than any attack The Enemy offers, from here forward. Maybe you have been for awhile.

Yes, you realize. You have.

And suddenly it’s over. Look at you, you’re still standing.


You walk away. Your head is stuffy and a brick has lodged itself in your gut, and still you await word of that remote island, but it’s over.

And you won.

(I won.)

A related topic of interest is Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

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