Sometimes we find ourselves locked into a seemingly never ending cycle:
One minute we feel hard-done-by, then someone helps us, then we struggle with the help or we feel resentful towards the helper, then we feel guilty & hard-done-by etc etc.
This is an unhealthy cycle that can destroy friendships, relationships & lives: not only our own, but others too.
The good news is that it is a recognised pattern of behaviour for which helpful strategies have ben devised.
The bad news is that breaking free of this cycle requires commitment, effort & perseverance.
But more good news is that it is possible & with the right help, we can take small steps towards recovery & a more settled, adult life.
This has already been discussed in greater detail in a previous discussion.
The steps below are a focussed look at steps to break the cycle, sometimes called the Karpman Drama Triangle & to set the Victim, Rescuer & Persecutor fee (taken from a previous blog article).
One way to start this breaking of the game or drama cycle is by understanding how to deprive the actors of their payoff as Rescuer, Persecutor & Victim. Rather than being a negative removal, this is usually best achieved by offering positive alternatives, direction & input.
Victim: A Victim feels powerless & has experienced some loss, thwarted desire or aspiration &/or killing of a dream. Challenging/encouraging Victims involves helping them to stop & think about a situation & then choose appropriate, achievable steps towards a realistic outcome, rather than focussing on the problem & reacting. In doing so, they consciously work towards desired outcomes rather than responding with a knee-jerk reaction in order to avoid or fix a problem. As this change in approach becomes part of a new habit, they will find it easier (& even seek out) relationships with others, both to support & to be supported.
Persecutor: A Persecutor may be a person, condition (such as a health condition), or a circumstances (e.g., a natural disaster) who seeks to dominate the Victim (either overtly or covertly) & maintain a “one-up” position using a variety of assertive & /or manipulative means. The Persecutor’s behaviour is driven by a fear of becoming, or re-becoming, a Victim or by a fear of losing control. In order to successfully reverse this behaviour, it is important to encourage, challenge or even provoke the Persecutor to take action. Although this is from a position of compassion, the challenge may need to be confrontational in nature. We become a kind of teacher who points the Persecutor towards life’s lessons, towards opportunities for growth rooted in the living of life. Focus is always on a will to create & may require the Persecutor to learn new skills, make difficult decisions, or do whatever is necessary to make a dream or desire come true. The aim is to demonstrate the power of building-up rather than pulling down.
Rescuer: The Rescuer is any person or activity (such as an addiction) that serves to help a Victim relieve the “pain of Victimhood.” The Rescuer helps the Victim “numb out.” Although the Rescuer wants to help, in reality they reinforce the Victim’s “poor me” self-identity & sense of powerlessness. The Victim becomes dependent on the Rescuer for a sense of safety, a bond which is forged by the Victim’s shame at needing to be rescued & cemented by the Rescuer’s own fear of abandonment or loss of purpose. The best antidote for a Rescuer is someone who can see the real potential in the Rescuer & help them to put plans & strategies in place to help them achieve those goals. They are like a Coach, supporting & helping the Rescuer in the process of creating outcomes. They leave the power with the person they are helping & aim only to help facilitate that person’s progress, ask questions that help to clarify where the person wants to go & what they want to achieve. They maintain a reality check on the current situation & help plan small sequential actions that lead toward lasting change for the Rescuer.
I have also discovered that it does no harm to do some research & reading to understand ways that we can move forward.
Once we’ve started moving it is critical that we avoid slippery places, slippery people & slippery thinking i.e., find people who can help us in the direction we want/need to go.
An alcoholic seeking support from another alcoholic to give-up drinking or a drug user seeking help from a drug supplier to give up using drugs are non-starters (but you would be surprised how many seek these routes based on the misconception that they understand my problem & can help me. That is nothing more than a Victim role starting to play).
If you have friends who lock you into or drag you into these unhealthy game or drama responses, change your friends when you get free.
With a knowledge of who we are & ‘how we tick’ we equip ourselves to identify when a new drama is beginning, so that we can say “No!” to that drama. If we are aware of the roles & switches & consequences, an escape is available from any of the drama roles.
Take care until next time …