Most people tell us they don’t think of themselves as a Victim. This is especially true in the United States where our history is founded upon individual freedom and a strong sense of independence.
Dr. Stephen Karpman originally described the Drama Triangle with its roles of Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer. By describing the relationships between these roles, he helped us observe traits within ourselves that we might not want to see or admit.
For example, if Donna is having a computer challenge, she most likely will ask David to fix the issue without first taking responsibility for what she could do to manage the situation on her own. “Will you fix this for me?” she often asks without thinking, which David does gladly because he wants to be helpful. In this situation, Donna is looking for a Rescuer because she is feeling victimized by her computer problems.
The Victim mentality is characterized by a lack of control or power over a situation, person or condition. You may adopt a victim mentality when you are afraid to be accountable for your situation, are risk adverse, or unwilling to try something new. Victim language sounds like; “I can’t do this,” or “Why does this always happen to me?” or “It’s not my job or responsibility.”
During a Victim moment, you will gladly give your power to a Rescuer, which then feeds the Rescuer’s need for love and appreciation and perpetuates the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™. The Victim and Rescuer need one another to fulfill their roles in the DDT. It’s a perfect fit and explains why the dynamic between Victim and Rescuer is so drama-filled and difficult to break once it gets going. Neither person sees their role in the drama and wonders why it feels so yucky.
Here are a few suggestions to interrupt your Victim mindset and to see such experiences as a learning opportunity:
1. Understand the difference between relinquishing responsibility and appropriate requests for help. Tell yourself the truth about what is yours to do, and do it.
2. Take a risk. Be willing to go out on a limb and try something. Experiment.
3. Catch yourself when you feel powerless and focus on something you want and take one step—a Baby Step—towards creating it.
When looking for a Rescuer, be aware you might be having a Victim moment. As human beings we all have them. As a Creator, you can have such moments and still choose your response in order to learn and grow from them.