Sometimes saying “No” is the most helpful thing we can do for ourselves and others.
However, it can be one of the hardest words to say without secretly feeling guilty or mean. When I take on feelings of guilt, I either create a silent internal drama and stress myself or become defensive and oversensitive, creating drama with others.
How about you?
Drama needs three willing players to keep it alive. The Rescuer, THE VICTIM and The Perpetrator. I have taken my turn at being all three players in my lifetime so I can speak from personal experience. I know the behaviors intimately of The Rescuer, THE VICTIM and The Perpetrator.
Let’s bring these characters to life and dress them up a little, so you can see if you recognise yourself or someone you know.
The Rescuer we will dress in a hot-pink leotard with a gold cape. On the back of the cape are two huge letters H.H. These letters stand for “Hunting Helpaholic” which is the Superhero alias for The Rescuer.
Imagine THE VICTIM in a violet, velvet straightjacket. The velvet is thick, deep and luxurious to touch. It is very comfortable to wear with the violet, satin lining feeling dreamy against the skin.
Then last, but not least, picture The Perpetrator wearing heavy, black, punk-rocker platform boots. These boots aren’t made for walkin’ but for romper stompin’. They are studded with a row of razor-sharp spikes that are embedded in the thick black leather. The boots are very high, platform in fact, a cross between Ziggy Stardust and The Terminator-type footwear.
Maybe you have never tried on The Rescuer’s outfit, but when I pop on my pink leotard and Superhero gold cape my ego has over ridden my heart. It is an alarm for me, indicating I am hunting for a quick ego massage. When I have a need to be a Superhero in someone else’s life, I will need a VICTIM to save and a Perpetrator to blame. The Rescuer or Helpaholic hunts for validation and recognition and has a very different motive from those who have a genuine desire to help. There is a significant difference between being helpful and being an enabler.
An enabler needs THE VICTIM to remain helpless and rely co-dependently on them for support. The Rescuer does not want to teach the man to how fish so he can help himself, The Helpaholic wants to stand there all day and fish for the man and render THE VICTIM eternally dependent.
When I am in a healthy and balanced emotional state in my own life, then and only then can I genuinely help others. Recovery groups often remind attendees of the fact that ”You can’t give away what you haven’t got.” If you are not emotionally balanced how can you help another to become so?
To help another, I must let go of any emotional investment in the outcome. Whether they take my advice or accept my offer of help is none of my business. When I don’t need emotional payment via approval or adoration after offering support, then I am being truly helpful and productive.
As Barb, my Heart Mother, often says …
“When you give to another love, it is for free and for fun, they owe you nothing, that is the pure-hearted act of giving. If there is a debt then it was not a gift of help, it is then called a trade. There is nothing wrong with trading energy to help someone out. However, be sure you are honest with yourself and with them and be upfront. Check your motive for wanting to help; do you expect anything in return? Don’t call a trade a gift; otherwise you may become resentful when the other party does not pay you back in kind”
A wise woman, hey?
The Rescuer often gets resentful if THE VICTIM forgets they are emotionally indebted, for The Rescuer is not giving, but trading energy. You will often hear The Rescuer saying to The Victim if the trade is not returned comments like …
“After everything I have done for you, this is how you repay me!” This is often when The Rescuer changes corners in The Drama Triangle and becomes THE VICTIM. The Rescuer now complains about THE VICTIM accusing them of becoming The Perpetrator.
I have also loved to wear THE VICTIM’S violet, velvet straightjacket. However, I need The Perpetrator to tie it up securely at the back for me. I need to actually be willing to give my power away to The Perpetrator and allow them to render me helpless. Even though THE VICTIM’S straightjacket restricts my emotional mobility, that is almost part of its charm. It feels secure and safe, almost like being back in the womb or a wrapped in a baby blanket.
I often look for this straightjacket when I feel afraid of myself or others and unable to take care of myself. I know I am in VICTIM mode when I feel incompetent and helpless. It is healthy for me to occasionally ask a loved one for comfort and support, we all need to lean on those we love from time to time. However, when I am in VICTIM mode I do not want to take any responsibility for myself. I do not want to just lean, I want to be carried emotionally and have the other party take all of my weight indefinitely. A mature adult will allow me to lean, but will help me get back on my own two feet.
VICTIMS want others to take over managing their personal power of choice and tell them what they “should” do and who they “should” be. The responsibility of being emotionally mature does lose its appeal at times and seems like too much effort. That is because sometimes emotionally, life is just plain hard work. We all tend to blame people, places and things for our unhappiness when we choose to become THE VICTIM.
Of course I have put on The Perpetrator’s boots more times in my life than I care to admit. I have been an angry female throughout the first half of my life. Now I put these boots on rarely as they cause a great deal of damage to me and to others when I do. I have in the past embraced becoming The Emotional Terminator, 10 foot tall and bullet proof, stepping on anyone who gets in my way …
Ah yes, the power of intimidation and domination. I used to love it!
I once preferred to be angry so I did not have to feel my vulnerability and sensitivity. When I was angry I could blow myself up and push others away with my energy. When I felt vulnerable I felt small and powerless for I didn’t know how to keep myself safe. Now I do. If I feel vulnerable these days I no longer put on my punk rocker boots and kick butt. I turn to a safe person or to my heart’s’ parents, Mother Nature and Father Time, this way I minimise harm to myself and others.
The Rescuer, THE VICTIM and The Perpetrator all need fear to keep drama alive. When I am in any of these three states I am not in partnership with myself or anyone else. I am disconnected. I have given my power away, or want to snatch someone else’s. I am either being a submissive child or an aggressive teenager, not an assertive and mature adult.
I now understand that I looked for drama and chaotic people habitually in past years. I was bored and dissatisfied with myself and blamed people, places and things for the quality of my life. Hunting for reasons to either rescue, blame or shame others kept me stuck in destructive relationships. In co-dependent relationships there is no partnership, no balance and no heartfelt peace, just control and disconnection. I was either desperate for approval or rebelliously pushing others away.
What a relief to now be free from The Drama Triangle.
I had never heard of The Drama Triangle model until I began my own emotional recovery. Dr Stephen Karpmann first described The Drama Triangle in the field of transactional analysis in 1968. If you find this model interesting why not Google him to read more. This model has helped me a great deal in checking myself and my emotional behaviors.
When there is drama in my life I now ask myself
“Where am I in all of this, which role am I playing here and why?”
Awareness is always the place to start for I cannot change something I cannot see. This is why I added to this model the pink leotard and cape, velvet straightjacket and punk-rocker boots. The visual imagery helps me remain a little more lighthearted, and remember I am still a work in progress. If I can see the humorous side to my behavior that is the first step in reconnecting to love. Laughter dissolves fear and helps me resolve the issue at hand.
It is an inconvenient truth I have needed to embrace in order to emotionally mature, and that is whenever I am in a co-dependent state of Rescuer, VICTIM or Perpetrator I am minding someone else’s business other than my own.
When others bother me it is an alarm to look at myself.
Ignoring the alarm is like trying to put out a fire with petrol. If I pay attention to the alarm and look at my role in the situation I can take the heat out of the drama and return to a peaceful state. Carl Jung reminds us that …
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves”
Lotsa love Cynthia xxx
© Copyright 2017 Cynthia J. Morton Emotional Fitness™
This Word Vitamin is an excerpt from my latest bookset “The Four Seasons of the Heart”. If you would like to order your own full set of Daily Word Vitamins one for each day of the year, in book form for yourself or as a gift for another just email me firstname.lastname@example.org xxx