Who's your biggest enemy? Possibly you?
Enemy Mode is an immensely damaging brain state that occurs in everyday life. In enemy mode, a person sees and experiences others as adversaries. Living in this mode poisons family and community bonds. It contributes to social stress, business failure, divorce, alienation, domestic violence, crime, racism, and international violence. Social media magnifies the impact of enemy mode toward almost all topics or persons imaginable.
Longtime author and neuropsychologist Dr. Jim Wilder explains how the brain develops enemy mode and searches for ways to get the brain to "refriend." Since a brain in enemy mode cannot tell when someone is trying to help, it rejects or attacks its allies, including refrienders. Wilder puts his years of research to the test in assessing the impossible task put forth by the Christian faith: to love one's enemies.
After being trained in enemy mode through the military, business, and even friendships, retired Brigadier General Ray Woolridge comes alongside Wilder, bringing the reader on his journey of learning to refriend. He interviews leaders in sports, business, the military, law enforcement, politics, health care, and education, assessing the enemy mode impact on lives and culture.
Can Wilder and Woolridge figure out how enemy mode works and craft a solution? And can they get people and institutions to implement those solutions? This book is for all who desire to be better equipped to face the barrage of daily relational stressors that come at them. It's for all who long for more harmonious relationships at home, in the workplace, and in their communities.
Praise for Escaping Enemy Mode
"In a time characterized by unprecedented divisiveness and self-promotion at the expense of others, retired Brigadier General Chaplain Ray Woolridge and Dr. Jim Wilder have written a must-read book for every person who seeks to experience more meaningful relationships. The authors insightfully describe the relational problems caused by enemy mode, instruct how to recognize when we are in enemy mode, and give practical advice on how to transform from being stuck in a destructive enemy mode to a life-giving mode that builds engaging community."
—JULIANA LESHER, Former National Director of Veterans Affairs Chaplain Service; author of A Heart That Sings for Jesus
"For almost everyone, anger and enemies seem everywhere. Which is why it's so important that you read this book—today. I wish I'd have known what Jim and Ray share here about 'enemy mode' being a default lifestyle. I started my 'enemy mode' training by hating my father. He bailed on our family when I was two months old. I spent years perfecting being angry at him and others, not knowing or wanting anything to do with 'loving my enemy.' But leave it to a Christian neuroscientist and a West Point General to team up and talk about those 'enemies' we all have—both in our past and present. Helping us know how to reverse that curse that is swamping our culture and communities—and ruining our everyday lives. Your marriage, your memories, your relationships with those around you will be stronger and more loving when you understand 'enemy mode.' Especially how there really is an escape clause from adding so many enemies and so much anger—in relationally living out God's love."
—JOHN TRENT, Coauthor of The Blessing and Where Do I Go from Here?; president, StrongFamilies.com and TheBlessing.com
"Using the wisdom gained from brain science, Escaping Enemy Mode is a breath of fresh air that provides insightful pathways for those seeking to create sustainable peace in their individual life, family, business, and larger community. A must-read for anyone seeking to create life-giving and flourishing spaces for humane connection and healing. I especially recommend this book for churches and organizations invested in peacebuilding initiatives across communities that have been divided by economic, social, and political differences."
—JULIA ROBINSON MOORE, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, UNC Charlotte; author of Race, Religion, and the Pulpit: Rev. Robert L. Bradby and the Making of Urban Detroit; cofounder of Moore Grace Ministries
"When you understand enemy mode and learn to recognize when you are in it, then you can start practicing how to avoid it. On the street I have often found myself in a rapidly deteriorating exchange with a suspect. One of my best techniques, if I catch things early, is to say, 'Wait, let's start over. This doesn't have to be adversarial, I'm not like those other cops!' Whether I agree with the suspect's evaluation of what other cops are like is irrelevant, I am forming a bond by acknowledging their reality. I've learned to recognize pitfalls in myself that will take me into enemy mode in a heartbeat. It is easy to ignore the feelings of others when we have white knight syndrome and are fighting for a 'worthy cause.' It is my hope that by applying the techniques presented in this book you will grab hold of the best version of you, achieve win-win solutions, and strengthen your relationships with those around you."
—MIKE BELLER, Assistant Chief of Police, Chamblee, Georgia, and former army ranger
"Escaping Enemy Mode is a powerful and desperately needed book. Easiest to address are those unwitting or unintentional times when we shut off relational circuits and harm those we care about. More challenging are the times when we (or friends) allow descent into the destructive behaviors that are increasingly hard to stop. Worst of all are the times when we, or those around us, step into the grip of coldhearted predatory 'intelligent enemy mode,' and act destructively on purpose. Jim and Ray offer winsome and often painfully transparent examples of their own shortfalls, and amazingly hopeful guidance of how to be our best selves who not only prosper in relationships but make the world better. It is an important read."
—BILL ATWOOD, Anglican Bishop and author of applied neuroscience books, including The General, The Boy, and Recapturing Joy
"Jim Wilder and Ray Woolridge clearly dive into the multidimensional complexity of our natural tendencies toward enemy mode versus fulfilling relationship with others. In today's world, we're continually faced with enemy mode in every realm of our existence. With great clarity, Escaping Enemy Mode provides extraordinary, practical action steps to escape the challenges of enemy mode that we encounter and, instead, seek to serve, love, and care for others in our sphere of influence. While we strive to live life by design, and not by default, it is increasingly powerful to return to joy in our daily lives in order that we should endure hardships well and impact the lives of others around us more extraordinarily."
—JEFF REETER, Entrepreneur, business leader, speaker, author