Opinion: Wisdom Workout


Stop the Chaos Before It Starts

Every good drama has three main characters: A victim, a persecutor, and a rescuer.

These three players work in tandem to create mystery and mayhem in books and movies. When the same dynamic is in play in our lives, it often causes debilitating confusion and interpersonal pain.

You may even be an unsuspecting player in a confusing drama of your own. If so, here is an overview of how this drama triangle works and how to escape and restore your personal sanity.

Here is the setup. You or someone close to you feels victimized. The victim feels unfairly treated. In order for there to be a victim, there must be a persecutor. The unfair institution, friend, parent, boss, or spouse. The third participant needed is the rescuer. Someone to help the victim out of their dilemma. Once the rescuer is enlisted and engaged, the game begins. There are specific rules to maintain the chaos.

Rule 1: Each player will play all parts. The victim, persecutor, and rescuer will all switch positions. The well-meaning rescuer gets tired of having their solutions rejected and gets mad at the victim. The rescuer becomes the persecutor. The victim shakily decides the original persecutor isn’t totally wrong and starts defending the original persecutor. The victim has now turned into the rescuer. The original rescuer now feels victimized because he was just trying to help. The original rescuer turned persecutor is now the victim. Confused yet?

Bottom line is a lot of energy is wasted on upsets that keep accelerating instead of diminishing. Why? Rule 2: Nobody wants to be seen as the bad guy. Nobody wants to take responsibility for their part. Many people like the attention and excitement of creating “good, bad, right, wrong” dramas.

If this isn’t your idea of a good time, here is how to stop the chaos.

Stop and evaluate. Is this your problem? Can you solve a problem you didn’t create? Are you becoming a victim of too much caring? Are you willing to admit that you are in a drama you don’t want? You must be willing to stop participating and choose to withdraw.

This is the hard part. The second you decide to disengage, know you may be judged as uncaring, inconsiderate, disloyal and “the new bad guy”. This is the only way out. Muster up the courage and watch sanity return to your life.

What is interesting about this triangle of victim, persecutor and rescuer is that it is possible to do this to yourself. All by yourself, through self-criticism, self-loathing and runaway self-importance.

The way out of any victim, persecutor, and rescuer triangle is to tell yourself the truth. You are hurt. Scared. Tired. Lonely. Confused. Or you just want attention and can’t self-nurture. Beating up on yourself only makes the situation worse. Admit you are off track. Settle down. Leave the issue alone until you come back to your senses.

Stop trying to be right. A little humbleness on your part can go a long way to restoring a more workable perspective and can begin to bring discernment back into your life.

Let yourself off the hook. Practice increasing your ability to tell yourself the real truth. As you lighten up, you will find you are less attracted to people and situations that cause a whirlwind of chaos. Learn what works and what doesnt work for you by leaving the arguments about who is good, bad, right or wrong up to Judge Judy.

Susan is a local author and facilitator of personal and professional development seminars. Find her at susanvelasquez.com.

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