The situation is tense at work or at home. You are overwhelmed with all that you have on your plate to do. An important colleague or one of your family members comes to you with an urgent request that you had not anticipated. How do you react?
We all have developed reactive strategies that get engaged when such problems emerge. The reaction is usually automatic and less-than-conscious on our part. These strategies are deeply engrained and can easily throw us into the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT). When it does, we react from one of the three DDT roles: Victim, Persecutor or Rescuer.
The basic reactive strategy of a Victim is to assume powerlessness and/or hopelessness; to give in to the situation or person (which is seen as the Persecutor); and, perhaps, to begin to look for a Rescuer to provide a way out. “Why does this always happen to me?” the Victim may lament.
A Persecutor is likely take control or to turn and blame the situation/person, for their basic reactive strategy is take the offensive. “You’ve got to be kidding! Do you think I’m just going to drop everything at this moment? You should have told me about this a long time ago! It’s not my problem!”
On the other hand, a Rescuer is much more apt to drop everything to respond to – and please – the other person, which is their primary strategy. “Oh, of course! Let’s take care of it and I can finish what I was doing later.” However, once the situation is past and they get back to what they were originally doing, resentment for the interruption often begins to brew.
The antidote to the DDT and its reactive strategies lies in TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) and its’ roles of Creator, Challenger and Coach. As we cultivate and grow into this way of being, we develop new, more resourceful and effective strategies for choosing our response to situations as they arise.
Next week we will look at the same scenario through the perspective of TED* and how we can respond in more empowered and resourceful ways.