FRIEND/ENEMY CENTEREDNESS. Young people are particularly, though certainly not exclusively, susceptible to becoming friend-centered. Acceptance and belonging to a peer group can become almost supremely important. The distorted and ever-changing social mirror becomes the source for the four life-support factors, creating a high degree of dependence on the fluctuating moods, feelings, attitudes, and behavior of others.
Friend centeredness can also focus exclusively on one person, taking on some of the dimensions of marriage. The emotional dependence on one individual, the escalating need/conflict spiral, and the resulting negative interactions can grow out of friend centeredness.
And what about putting an enemy at the center of one’s life? Most people would never think of it, and probably no one would ever do it consciously. Nevertheless, enemy centering is very common, particularly when there is frequent interaction between people who are in real conflict. When someone feels he has been unjustly dealt with by an emotionally or socially significant person, it is very easy for him to become preoccupied with the injustice and make the other person the center of his life. Rather than proactively leading his own life, the enemy-centered person is counterdependently reacting to the behavior and attitudes of a perceived enemy.
One friend of mine who taught at a university became very distraught because of the weaknesses of a particular administrator with whom he had a negative relationship. He allowed himself to think about the man constantly until eventually it became an obsession. It so preoccupied him that it affected the quality of his relationships with his family, his church, and his working associates. He finally came to the conclusion that he had to leave the university and accept a teaching appointment somewhere else.
“Wouldn’t you really prefer to teach at this university, if the man were not here?” I asked him.
“Yes, I would,” he responded. “But as long as he is here, then my staying is too disruptive to everything in life. I have to go.”
“Why have you made this administrator the center of your life?” I asked him.
He was shocked by the question. He denied it. But I pointed out to him that he was allowing one individual and his weaknesses to distort his entire map of life, to undermine his faith and the quality of his relationships with his loved ones. He finally admitted that this individual had had such an impact on him, but he denied that he himself had made all these choices. He attributed the responsibility for the unhappy situation to the administrator. He, himself, he declared, was not responsible. As we talked, little by little, he came to realize that he was indeed responsible, but that because he did not handle this responsibility well, he was being irresponsible.
Many divorced people fall into a similar pattern. They are still consumed with anger and bitterness and self-justification regarding an ex-spouse. In a negative sense, psychologically they are still married — they each need the weaknesses of the former partner to justify their accusations. Many “older” children go through life either secretly or openly hating their parents. They blame them for past abuses, neglect, or favoritism and they center their adult life on that hatred, living out the reactive, justifying script that accompanies it.
The individual who is friend- or enemy-centered has no intrinsic security. Feelings of self-worth are volatile, a function of the emotional state or behavior of other people. Guidance comes from the person’s perception of how others will respond, and wisdom is limited by the social lens or by an enemy-centered paranoia. The individual has no power. Other people are pulling the strings.
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
- He’s SO arrogant and makes me want to slap him. → 有这样的评论，哈哈