Two weeks ago, we described the Rescuer’s Delusions, and last week we wrote about the Persecutor’s Obsessions. This week we are focusing on the third and final role in the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ we call the Victim’s Resignation.
When you find yourself in the Victim role, the strategy is to “move away” from the conflict and/or “freeze” in the face of the situation or person you perceive as a Persecutor. When in the drama you believe you don’t have the power or ability to do things for yourself. You become resigned to the idea that life happens “to you,” so you avoid taking responsibility for your choices or actions.
It can be difficult to admit to yourself that you might play a Victim role. Americans especially are loath to admit to Victim thinking because of the culture’s “rugged individualism” and the Country’s founding beliefs on individual rights, freedom and personal responsibility.
Victim thinking can be very subtle and operate in the background of your mind. The ego doesn’t like to face the fact that, as a human being, it will eventually die. Because of this existential threat, depending on your upbringing and messages you received as a child, you may have been taught that life is basically unfair.
An important note: There are absolutely Victims in the world of poverty, war, natural disasters and much more. We are not speaking of victimization, which is very real. We are writing about and challenging Victimhood, which is a mantle of self-identity, feeling powerless or hopeless to choose your response to people or situations.
We have identified three beliefs that contribute to the Victim’s resignation.
Resignation #1: I am deficient.
This first resignation describes the core belief of someone who develops a “deficiency story,” usually taking root early in life. This is the story you tell yourself when feeling small, weak or inferior. The deficiency story might sound like: “I am not enough.” “I am not lovable.” “Life is unfair.” “I don’t know how to.…..(fill in the blank.)” As this story takes hold, it eventually permeates your strongly held beliefs about yourself. This also means you must figure out how to get the help that you need to survive. And, if totally honest, this can lead to manipulating others to take care of you when you give up responsibility for your own life.
Resignation #2: Since I am deficient, I will always need outside help to “fix me.”
With your deficiency story running in the background, when in the Victim role you learn to figure out how to get others to do things for you. This can either be to fix or take care of you and/or to protect you from the Persecutor in the drama. You may have been told that, in life, there are winners and losers and you see yourself on the losing end of life—-either in general or in a particular situation. Guilt is often used by Victims to seduce Rescuers into helping them. A manager may say to their boss, “You have so much more experience in this area, please tell me what to do.”
Resignation #3: Why should I try? Life and events are against me and I am small in the face of this “truth.”
A sense of unworthiness can grow so strong that sitting on the sidelines and complaining may become more prevalent. (It is important to note that any time you are complaining, you are in the Victim role!) Alternatively, you may adopt a sense of entitlement as a survival tactic to cover up the hopeless feelings. The entitlement can be quite annoying as other people notice the lack of personal responsibility and expecting others to take care of you.
Shifting out of the Victim role requires that you shift your belief about yourself. Knowing that your true essence is as a Creator, you begin to take responsibility for your thinking and actions. One way to do this is to take time to reflect upon your values and what you really care about. Learn to ask: “What do I want in this moment?” and “What is mine, and only mine, to do?”
All three of the DDT roles are strategies that the ego creates to manage its anxiety about what it doesn’t like or want. The seduction of these roles is that some aspects of the roles were useful and helped you cope and survive life’s challenges, especially early in life.
The DDT roles are not necessarily “bad”—- they simply limit your effectiveness and prevent more creative ways to work with life’s challenges.
By recognizing these patterns when they arise, you can observe them in action and choose a more empowering way to think, relate and take action that is embedded in the TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) ™ roles.