A client recently shared his new awareness that he unconsciously “lives” in the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™. He is a high-level executive who had just learned about the DDT and the positive alternative TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)® roles and asked for some coaching about how to apply the two triangles in his life.
The epiphany he had in the middle of the coaching session was that, when he feels stuck or confused, he automatically looks outside of himself for a Rescuer—-someone that will manage the mess he is experiencing. This is usually another co-worker or one of his direct reports that he asks to fix things for him.
Once he observed himself looking for a Rescuer to assuage his feelings of being stuck, it dawned on him: “If I am looking for a Rescuer, that must mean I am thinking and acting like a Victim.” He was shocked at this insight.
This successful business leader did not initially identify with the Victim role—–in fact, it is safe to say he thought others on his team were acting like Victims, not him. Like so many people, he would say, “I am not a Victim and even resent the idea of that label.”
We hear this often. Most people tell us they don’t think of themselves as ever playing the Victim role. This is especially true in the United States, where our history is founded upon individual freedom and a strong sense of independence.
There’s an important distinction we want to make. It is crucial that you ask for help and support from others when appropriate. However, if you are complaining about a situation and immediately look to others to fix what is yours to do, then there is a good chance you are playing the Victim.
This executive was shocked that his “go to” strategy was to draw others into the problem, fooling himself that he was addressing it by adding more drama and people to the situation. Instead, he began to see that he was feeling victimized by the “mess of the moment” and adding to the drama, rather than taking action to solve the issue.
The danger in instinctively looking for a Rescuer is that you can get attached to playing the Victim and not realize it. The effect of looking for a Rescuer is that you avoid taking responsibility for what is yours to do, which can shut down your creativity.
This unconscious habit can be quite debilitating because you may sidestep your own power and ability to take forward action and, thus, deny your own resourcefulness. Once you stop and see that there is a step you can take, no matter how small, you begin to own your responsibility and creativity. You will stop looking for a Rescuer and focus on being a Creator—-which you are.
One of the surest ways to begin your shift from Victim to Creator is to take responsibility for what is yours to do. Reflect this week about the difference between relinquishing responsibility and appropriate requests for help. If you catch yourself automatically looking to others or external situations to save the day, redirect your focus toward just one step you can take.
By applying the DDT and TED* triangles, the executive was able to gain amazing insight into his unconscious thinking. Once he had more understanding of the relationship between looking for a Rescuer and how this can keep him in a Victim role, he was more committed to owning his own responsibility and creativity—-including appropriate requests for help, rather than looking for a Rescuer.
Now he defaults to keeping his creative power with himself—-where it belongs!