One of the primary characteristics of those who embody the Persecutor role in the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ is the need to blame, put down others and to be right.
We know of few other situations today that are more rooted in the DDT than politics! (This essay is not entirely about politics, so please keep reading!)
Blaming accusations are the basis of almost every political conversation today — each party and candidate attempting to make the other wrong. We are especially aware of this now, where the US Presidential election dominates our news.
Elections here are based upon a high stake, winner-take-all environment where candidates hope to persuade audiences that their perspective is right. The reverse is also true. People and groups align themselves with a candidate and vehemently defend their candidate and party’s perspective, sometimes with more angst and anger than the candidate.
Once groups divide themselves into an all-or-nothing world, a whole set of biases are present, which is ammunition for the Persecutor. Making the other group wrong (casting them as Persecutors) and feeling victimized by the other side is built-in to this dualistic, competitive process. The candidate’s followers look to their candidate as the “right” candidate — the Rescuer — so that they will not become the Victim of the opposition.
This happens in politics for sure, and, our need to be right happens all too often in our personal relationships and with co-workers.
We try to recognize our need to be right, although it appears more often than either of us would like to admit. It is a subtle thread that can run through our conversations as simple as: “I already told you about that, don’t you remember?” Or “Why do you insist on going this route, rather than the one I showed you is faster?”
If you can convince yourself and others that you are right, the universe seems a little more stable and less chaotic. Believing strongly in your perspective can create an illusion of confidence and soothe the smaller ego.
Our world desperately needs co-Creators to emerge who are capable of rejecting single-mindedness and willing to address and solve the pressing challenges of our time. We need Challengers who are also open to learning from and with others as Co-Creators, even when they disagree.
The question remains: Is your need to be right leaving others left out or, at a minimum, limiting their opportunities to bring forth their ideas? If so, here are a few suggestions:
- Notice if people who always need to be right bother you. If so, you may be projecting your own need to be right onto them. Take responsibility for your own tendencies.
- Observe yourself when talking and reflect, “Why did I just say what I said? Is there a need to be right, or defend myself, underneath my statement?”
- Ask yourself, “What is at risk if I am not right?” This may help you get a clue to the pay-off that you receive from thinking that you are right.
Remember to practice with people you respect and find interesting. Avoid practicing with people you have already judged bullheaded and appear to possess the need to be right. This will trigger your defense mechanism and pull you back into the DDT.
Transcending right vs. wrong thinking patterns and ways of relating will allow you to listen to one another, discovering innovative and creative ideas through collaborative dialogue.
On that one point, we know we are right!