Persecutors, like Victims, act out of fear ~ David Emerald Womeldorff
How we interact with others can often be fuelled by the unconscious roles we are playing that source from imprinted beliefs and family experiences from childhood. One such set of roles is the Drama Triangle:
In 1968, Stephen Karpman, MD and Transactional Analysis practitioner, developed a model of dysfunctional behaviour in relationships called the Drama Triangle. It mapped out the dynamics of three distinct roles that play out in relationships -> Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer.
As we learned in last month’s post, the Victim role is all about helplessness and the Victim accepting the inevitability of persecution or mistreatment that causes suffering and pain.
The Persecutor plays the role of the ‘bad guy’ who applies pressure and control over the Victim and is the bully in the triangle.
The Rescuer assumes the responsibility of ‘supporter’ who defends, protects and helps the Victim.
The roles of the players in the Drama Triangle are interdependent and remain static until one of the players’ functions becomes intolerable or a specific circumstance causes a switch in the flow of interactions between the trio.
For Example –
The permanent/fluid pattern of these behaviours between Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer continues unconsciously until the cycle is made conscious and is intentionally healed.
The dictionary definition of Persecutor refers to a person who ‘oppresses or harasses with ill-treatment’. Persecutors are the tough guys in the Triangle and are obsessed with the need to fight and dominate to prove they are right. They must win as a way to validate their sense of self and personal empowerment.
This compulsion sources from a belief that they must strategise, win, dominate and control in order to survive. At some time during their early life, they were subjected to traumatic experiences that felt life threatening or insecure to them. Their response to the chaos was to take charge in order to calm the powerlessness they felt inside. At their core, they are frightened victims who have learned to use anger, criticism and blame to strike a powerful stance in life. Part of their strength comes from feeling more capable and superior to a Victim.
Motivated by a conviction that the world is not safe, Persecutors are hyper-vigilant around any impending attack and adopt pre-emptive strike behaviours as a way to be prepared. Sometimes, the Persecutor can become abusive and believes their actions are justified as a means of self-protection.
The Persecutor is the oppressor of the Victim and can be:
The process of moving out of the seduction of the Drama Triangle takes only a few steps. However, changing the Persecutor’s behaviours to stop the abusive habits and superior approach takes time and awareness as well as patience.
The Persecutor’s role changes from dominance to equality when they:
For just one day, take time to observe your interactions with others. Pay attention to your speech and feelings in relationship to those close to you.
Where did you play the role of the Persecutor? Can you relate to the Drama Triangle in your life? Do you see the Persecutor or Victim in others around you? Journal your reflections and feel free to share in the Comments below.
Who sees all beings in his own Self, and his own Self in all beings, loses all fear. ~Isa Upanishad
For more on the Persecutor: http://powerofted.com/the-persecutor-role/
Further suggested reading: How to Break Free of the Drama Triangle & Victim Consciousness http://amzn.to/2dQQL1R
To find out more about the healing power of your breath through the powerful process of Breathwork, visit www.johnstamoulos.com