Escaping Enemy Mode

How Our Brains Unite or Divide Us

Your Brain
In Enemy Mode

Our brains are natural amplifiers, easily detecting unfriendly signals and returning them with more intensity.

Enemy mode feels as if “You are not on my side.” 

We don’t like people being against us.

We don’t like the way enemy mode feels.

We become suspicious, wary, and hostile with others. Even with those trying to help us.

Could one brain state explain why we:

This is enemy mode.

Enemy Mode

Our brains can develop a damaging state of mind where we see and experience others as adversaries.

Living in enemy mode poisons family relationships, separates friends, and breaks communities apart.

Enemy mode produces relational blindness.

Even someone we love dearly can be seen as an adversary, and in this state of mind we:
  • Want the “enemy to lose”
  • Can’t discern when others are trying to help
  • Recruit others to attack the enemy
  • Feel justified in hating
  • See other people’s motives as “bad”
  • Turn people into objects (not fellow humans)
  • Feel alone, believing no one on my side
  • Will often attack or withdraw from allies
  • See enemy mode as a strength

“The trouble is enemy mode keeps us from seeing people as fellow humans with value.

The consequences are painful and costly.”

The 3 Types of
Enemy Mode


It starts with the feeling someone is not on our side. An uneasy tension develops when relational connection signals are missed, ignored, mistrusted, or feared.


A high-energy moment is fueled by "hot" anger. We destroy people and things we value or need. We sober up later realizing this person wasn't our enemy.


This type doesn't miss signals or get stupid. "Cold" anger fills the brain with plans of resentment, revenge, hired guns, deception, even more diabolical deeds.

“All 3 types of enemy mode impair brain function so we cannot tell if the other person is truly an enemy.”

The Quest
to Escape

The grocery story was nearly empty when Jim heard metal hit metal. He turned to see a woman in her seventies repeatedly smashing her grocery cart into the cart of a woman half her age. It was the early 2020s—a global pandemic was raging, and enemy mode was spreading more rapidly than COVID-19. The older woman’s shouting was muffled by the mask she wore. The younger woman wore no mask. The younger woman glared silently, but belligerently, at her assailant. A man in his twenties intervened almost instantly. “Get away from her,” he told the older woman, “she is going to get you sick. Stay away from her.”

All three brains were in enemy mode.

Most shoppers would have recognized the COVID symptoms as a fever and dry cough. Few would recognize the symptoms of enemy mode in the brain as they stared at the banging carts, angry faces, and rapidly escalating hostility that was sucking them into the conflict. Instead, bystanders blamed the conflict on differing beliefs about COVID between the two ladies. Yet, shoppers who were not banging carts also held differing beliefs.

All three brains were in enemy mode.

“Since the Covid-19 pandemic, you could see people becoming alienated at a rapid pace.”

Two leaders working alongside each other saw something unique in the midst of these experiences and knew they had to reveal the unseen processes in the brain that were dividing people so the process could be reversed.


Something had to be done to help unite people.

Dr. Jim Wilder, a psychologist with a brain science background, and retired Brigadier General Ray Woolridge were working together for the same not-for- profit social agency created to improve relationships globally.

Wilder’s work involved applying newly developing, relational brain science to re-humanizing people after the damage done by violence, wars, disasters, and human predators. His goal was teaching people to be their best selves using the way the brain learns.

Woolridge retired from the military the day before starting his not-for-profit work, which is aimed at helping the world’s largest religious group—the approximately 2.4 billion Christians—to build strong, protective, and life-giving relationships with the individuals inhabiting this planet. This target group was, instead, increasingly alienating huge numbers of people.

This book is not a research paper but the story of a quest.

Wilder and Woolridge undertook this two-part quest together. Wilder would explore how the brain came to see others as enemies—and sometimes hate them. Based on these patterns, Wilder would create brain-based escapes from enemy mode thinking and ways to “re-friend” those who’d been alienated. Woolridge would approach leaders in this expansive faith community and find out if they would understand, value, and lead an effort to escape enemy mode thinking and behavior.

The same brains that can unite us can also divide us. What could be discovered about enemy mode from current research? How does enemy mode impact human relationships in various settings: family and community conflicts, police violence, military training and recovery for veterans, medical care, corporate offices, corrections, race relations, and spiritual life?

Jim Wilder


He brings his extensive life experience growing up in the Andes Mountains, his PhD in psychology, and his 30+ years of training leaders on five continents for the realities of business today. Wilder is the thinker behind the Life Model, a lifespan guide to being fully human. He is the author of sixteen books with a strong focus on applied neuroscience, maturity, relational skills, and resilient leaders.

Ray Woolridge


He is the Executive Director of Life Model Works. With master’s degrees in Strategic Studies and Theology, Ray is a skilled public communicator and a leadership coach who enjoys helping leaders discover their uniqueness and unleash their potential. He is a retired US Army Brigadier General with forty-three years of military and civilian service with the Department of Defense.

online seminar

Would you like to get faster at:

  • Identifying relational mode and enemy mode in yourself
  • Recognizing the signs of enemy mode
  • Acknowledging enemy mode to people around you
  • Escaping enemy mode and shifting into joyful, relational mode
  • Identifying the signs of simple, stupid and intelligent enemy mode around you?


Join Dr. Jim Wilder and Ray Woolridge, authors of “Escaping Enemy Mode”, and Chris Coursey, author of “The Joy Switch”, for this timely event that will dive into how to begin the escape from the damaging effects of enemy mode. Learn how to stay relational and refriend the people in our lives, beginning with yourself. 

Discover How to Escape Enemy Mode!


Did you know that “enemy mode” is a non-relational brain state that divides us from each other, causing damage in our lives and in the world?
Join Ray Woolridge, co-author with Dr Jim Wilder of Escaping Enemy Mode: How our brains unite or divide us, and Chris Coursey, President of THRIVEtoday for this webinar filled with stories of people who are Escaping Enemy Mode.
Click the button below, enter your name and email, then you’ll be given immediate access to the webinar recording.



Gather online with Ray Woolridge, co-author of Escaping Enemy Mode, and others escaping enemy mode, bi-weekly on March 2, March 16, March 30 and April 13, 2023, at Noon ET.

  • Hear insider info from the co-authors
  • Learn how others are being impacted
  • Gain answers to your questions
  • And, more!


Book Club Members also receive and exclusive Escaping Enemy Mode T-Shirt!



Listen as Moody Publishers engages the co-authors of Escaping Enemy Mode to discuss the problem revealed greatly during the pandemic, illustrations from real life, the neuroscience, and ultimately how to love your enemies.

What is Enemy Mode?

In this first episode of Escaping Enemy Mode, we meet Jim Wilder and Ray Woolridge. Neurotheologian Jim Wilder helps the listener understand the brain science of Enemy Mode and how much it affects the way we approach the world around us. Retired Army Brigadier General Ray Woolridge outlines his journey to discovering the presence of Enemy Mode in his life and his struggle, along with Jim, to escape it.

The 3 Enemy Modes

In this episode, we'll dive deeper into the three enemy modes: simple, stupid and intelligent enemy mode.  We'll hear stories that illustrate each mode, how their different, and how to identify in yourself and others when you're encountering enemy mode.

Engaging with Stupid Enemy Mode

Jim Wilder interviews special guest Lisa from Minneapolis. She tells the story of intervening and de-escalating a stupid enemy mode situation. Jim, Ray and Jeremy then discuss the unique features of stupid enemy mode and the best pathways for re-engaging the relational centers of the brain to escape this version of enemy mode.

Simple Enemy Mode at Home

In this episode, we hear from Chris Coursey, author of The Joy Switch. He explains a four-step process for identifying if our relational circuits are on. He helps us understand why Simple Enemy Mode threatens a thriving marriage and models pathways toward escaping enemy mode.

Intelligent Enemy Mode in the Workplace

n this episode, Ray interviews Ryan Brenneman who worked in medical device sales during the height of the COVID pandemic. He talks about how to identify intelligent enemy mode in co-workers and clients while building a team culture that banks joy instead of running on fear. 


Dive deep into the topics in the book, Escaping Enemy Mode. 

This is the path to loving your enemies.

Enemy Mode and Hate

The most important missing element is the science of hate. Emotional regulation is the mechanism of resilience but how does the brain grow cold to the humanity of others?

Read More »

Buy The Book


The book was released November 1st and is shipping today!

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Join the book club

Gather online with the co-authors of the book and other enthusiasts bi-weekly (Feb. 23, March 2, March 16 and March 30).

love your enemies

This is the end game, the outcome, to see others rightly and to love those who see you as an enemy.

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