Fear, however, is the emotion that drives all 3 roles of Victim, Rescuer and Persecutor that make up the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™. In this trilogy, it is the Persecuting role that most often uses fear and control to dominate other people and situations. Sometimes this happens to us and we don’t even realize it until we are deep into the DDT.
Just this week we had an occasion to create a new workshop as well as a new keynote speech we are delivering together. As we talked about the new programs, we both offered our ideas. Even though we declared we were in brainstorming mode, both of us started advocating for our own ideas, which caused the other to feel persecuted and manipulated.
“I thought we were brainstorming,” Donna said. “We are, but I feel like you didn’t hear my idea before you started talking about yours,” David replied. Fortunately we both stopped and realized how quickly we had gone into a defensive and persecuting posture – and owned our behavior and refocused on the outcome of what we were creating.
If you discover you are frequently arguing that you are right —even in brainstorming mode— the Persecutor maybe 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 and the creating process.
One tip for the Persecutor-self 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 what it is like to be quiet, genuinely listen to others and consider the view from a broader vantage point—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!