Fear, however, is the emotion that drives all three roles of Victim, Rescuer and Persecutor that make up the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™. The most common strategy Persecutors use to manage their fear is to attempt to control situations and people. If they are in control, they tell themselves, they will feel less fear and anxiety.
For the Persecutor, fear is minimized if their viewpoint wins the day. Being right helps control the situation.
If you don’t think you play the persecuting role, notice when you are highly attached to your point of view and see how other respond to you. You may observe that they receive your strongly held views as persecuting them.
If you discover you frequently are arguing that you are right, especially about the little things in life, the Persecutor is taking root in you. Developing your own opinions is part of becoming an individualized and mature adult. But when needing to be right is a habit, you will slow the shift from the DDT to the more resourceful TED* roles.
One tip for the Persecutor to let go of the need to be right is to “go against yourself.” Intentionally take the opposite position when you feel the need to be right. This will be very uncomfortable at first—which is the point of the exercise.
Notice what it feels like to move away from your opinion. Observe yourself as you attempt to sit still and deeply listening—even taking the opposite side.
For well-practiced Persecutors, this can be a highly uncomfortable experience. It is in this discomfort that you will learn how attached you are to your viewpoint—and your need to control fear, anxiety and uncertainty. Be on-guard for your need to control the emotional discomfort you may feel. Continue to “go against yourself” and you will be amazed at what you learn from this simple, yet profound exercise.
By going against yourself, you will begin the journey from Persecutor toward the more resourceful TED* role of Challenger. The Challenger has a gift for stating what they see or feel without blame or judgment. They are the “truth tellers” in the room yet have learned that their truth is not necessarily everyone’s truth. As you cultivate the Challenger, you will discover a new sense of personal freedom and ease, having given up the need to be right—and you might even learn something new!