Sunday, June 03, 2012


I can't remember exactly what brought this up again, but I read something that talked about the "drama triangle."  That's something a famous psychologist (whose name I can't remember) came up with in the 60s.  I can't draw a triangle on this I will have to describe it:  It's an upside down triangle with the one point at the bottom.  At the top points are "perpetrator" and "rescuer."  At the bottom point is the "victim."  According to psychological wisdom, most of us play these roles in rotation in our relationships and in our thinking.  A great many of us see ourselves as victims most of the time.  If you listen to people talking - any place - restaurants, in lines, in church - wherever - they're mostly complaining and if you're complaining, you are playing the role of a victim.  So sorry; there's no escape from that.  Think about it -  you've cast somebody or something in the role of perpetrator and you're looking for a rescuer.  The reason the perpetrator and rescuer are at the top of the triangle is because people who primarily play those roles see themselves as a cut above everybody else.  The perpetrator would not tell you that he/she was a perpetrator.  He/she would say that he/she was a victim, and the mean stuff he/she did to other people was revenge for how they victimized him/her.  They think those people just got what they deserved. 

I've been interested in these roles for many, many years.  I first was introduced to them when I was in therapy and was immediately horrified to realize I was stuck in that triangle with no idea how to get out.  I asked my therapist how to get out and he said all I needed to do was stop playing those roles.  Easier said than done.  Since then as I've worked with other people who were trying to grow spiritually and solve their problems, I've noticed that everyone I've worked with saw themselves as victims in one way or another.  The trouble with that is that if I'm a victim, I'm helpless and hopeless, because my problems are all caused by someone or something else.  I'm completely blind to the role I play in the situation and to all the myriad possibilities for solving the problem without anyone else having to do anything different.  It's extraordinarily hard to break out of those roles and it is a whole lot harder to convince someone else to see the truth - even when they've asked you for help. 

The payoff for stepping out of those roles is to be free of fear, guilt, anger, resentment and to see yourself as a capable, good person able to navigate this often difficult world and its difficult people with peace and occasional joy.

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