Most days we watch the evening news together. This is partly our way of transitioning from work to being together as a married couple. It is also a way for us to stay abreast of what is happening in the world. It is the nature of the news media to report on the dramas of the day, be they local, national or international in nature.
The relentless negative news coverage of deplorable violence—-people fleeing their homes because of civil warfare, or the many natural and human made disasters—-has had an impact on us.
We sometimes vow to stop watching the news and have even chosen, at times, to “fast” from watching for a while. However, to not acknowledge such events would be to “deny or minimize current reality.”
As we teach in our TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)® workshops, the Victim Orientation is driven by an inner state of fear and anxiety. This emotional state ignites reactive behavior because human beings don’t like to feel uncomfortable. To manage fear, some form of “fight, flight, or freeze” behavior is adopted.
When you look at the news experience through this Victim and reactive mindset, it perfectly perpetuates the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ and its interplay of the roles of the Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer.
If you feel victimized by the news, you can “flee” by avoiding thinking about the events. Another approach is to “numb out” in order to hide your head in the sand. Or you can freeze and feel paralyzed, not knowing what to do or how to respond, hoping the situation will go away.
The DDT is playing out on a world scale, and probably always has. Persecutors strike out against Victims because they, themselves, have felt persecuted. Rescuers strike out against the Persecutors to protect the Victims, only to reinforce the Persecutors perception that they are the Victims being persecuted by the Rescuers. (We call this the pattern of “Victim, Victim—Who’s the Victim?”)
You may need to read the above paragraph a couple of times to really see how the roles and perceptions change. Here is the point we want to stress: everyone is reacting to everyone—-and reacting begets reacting!
This cycle plays out on the world stage, and it is a cycle that can happen at home, in the workplace and in other relationships in which you have some stake.
As we talked about this week’s essay, we admitted how much we have been affected by the state of the world. When we focus on the violence and tragedy we see on the news, we have slipped into this fearful cycle more times than we want.
With a busy work schedule, each of us, at times, have reacted to the other. Sometimes the reacting is seemingly innocent interactions and other times we react while working through important professional and personal differences of opinions.
We, too, can get caught up in the cycle of reacting begetting reacting. We think we should know better since we teach TED*, which makes it even more upsetting!
Whether it is in relation to world events, politicians we like or don’t like, office “politics” or any form of relationship dynamics, we believe there is sacred wisdom in Mahatma Gandhi’s observation of reactivity begetting reactivity: “An eye for an eye leaves us both blind.”
There may not be much we can do to impact the world stage directly. But, as Creators, rather than reacting to reactivity, we can choose to shift our focus to creating compassion, peace and collaboration in our families, workplaces and communities.
And maybe—-just maybe—-compassion will beget compassion.