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Are you tired of the blame game?
Ever had the experience of recognising something so deep and painful it’s like being punched in the gut whilst the words, “wake up” are screeched at you, stunning and flooring you at the same time?
You know—that kind of experience.
Me too, and wake up, I have.
It took my becoming so fed up with mucking up my relationships and life that it became more painful to stay where I was than it was to create change.
I became aware of some patterns playing out in my relationships. I found myself beginning to alienate even those closest to me, and getting tired of my own stories and moaning. Honestly? I’d had enough of myself and decided to undertake a particular piece of creative therapeutic work around the victim and perpetrator archetypes—both of which I know intimately.
I now recognise how significantly they had shaped my life.
We all play each role within our relationship dynamics.
Stephen Karpman’s Drama Triangle, outlines a social model of destructive interaction between people.
We all have a tendency to lean toward one of the triangle’s three roles more than the others. Maybe you recognize yourself in one of them?
The victim blames others for their woes. They’re the “poor me” type.
The persecutor is the “villain;” the one who does something immoral, illegal, or whose actions cause pain to another.
The third role of the Drama Triangle is the one we generally like to identify with: the rescuer or fixer. These are the good guys—the saviours. Yet none of us can uphold that all of the time if we are being authentic.
Once we realise that we use these archetypes to run our lives, we have the next tricky and often painful task of taking full responsibility for our actions. And when we take responsibility, we cease to be able to blame.
Blame keeps us locked in old ways, old stories, and old patterns that we are being called deeply to move away from. Taking responsibility, on the other hand, means restructuring, contemplating our actions, and making new and sometimes uncomfortable choices in order to make a change—all things that many of us avoid.
But when we cease to blame, we no longer find ourselves headed down the rabbit hole of shame.
In my case, I know the victim intimately.
I was constantly looking for validation from others whilst moaning about the state of my life, my body, my finances.
I would say that I was too fat when I wasn’t exercising or taking care of myself as well as I could have. I was asking myself what was so wrong with me that men didn’t seem to want me when it was often I who had called time on the connection when I felt these men were not making time for me. Still, I played the victim: Why aren’t I a priority? Why isn’t the world revolving around me?
When we see a pattern of not being confident enough to stand in our decisions and take control of our lives, our feelings of safety, how we allow ourselves to be loved or cared for, we need to recognize that this is no one else’s “job” but our own.
In my case, my responsibility was to make myself my own priority in a way that it didn’t depend on another to rescue me from my own drama.
The piece of work I did was to therapeutically “play” all three of these roles—the victim, persecutor, and rescuer—to encourage a conversation between each of them in response to a number of questions.
These are some ways you can begin to identify and understand these parts:
>> Why are you here?
>> What is your role?
>> Where did I learn this behaviour?
>> What are you here to teach me?
>> What are you scared of?
>> What do you need to feel safe?
>> How old are you?
>> What emotion are you suppressing?
>> How can I, as the adult, help to make you feel safer?
>> What is the benefit of playing this role? (Hint: it is usually to keep us safe, but from what?)
>> What are you avoiding?
>> What might be possible if you were to feel safe and loved?
Self-responsibility is empowering, yes, it is also hellish scary.
It means we have to grow up, put on “big girl panties,” and realise we have no one and nothing to blame but ourselves.
Yes, I know there have been significant events in many of our lives—times when things have happened to us, by people; times when we have had little to no choice in being actual victims, But, from my own experience, I know I have stayed in this place of being the victim instead of taking what has happened and turning it around to use it as fuel to empower myself—fuel to propel me into changing my story and how I respond to the event.
When we take responsibility for ourselves, our lives we are on the path to self-sovereignty. The wisdom begins to flow.
True empowerment means no more blame, no more self-blame; it means simply adopting an awareness of what is and determining where we go from here?
No victim, no perpetrator, no rescuer; simply living our full potential.
Hell, that isn’t as easy as it sounds! Yet, it is what is being called forth when we choose to live authentically.
In some faiths, there is the belief we chose to come into this physical form—this chalice; this body in which we live.
Whilst things happen to us which are out of our control, what we choose to do with them is our responsibility.
I believe that, as they say, “bad sh*t can happen to good people.” In this, we do not have choice. And sure, we can choose to continue to blame, which causes us to shut down, externalise, rage, and numb as we seek to cover our shame. We can allow grief and fear to rule so that we become ever more identified with the victim.
Or, we can become the leader in our own life. Through work and choice, we look at what happened and how we felt about it, and we choose to work through the emotions and trauma in order to begin to take responsibility for how we are and how we interact with life.
Whether anything is predestined or prewritten in this life, who knows? It is of no matter and makes little difference as we are all here, now, living as humans.
The desire to numb and blame creates tension in the body. It results in the loss of a sense of self. This warped sense of self we have learnt and developed, covers, hides and protects the aspects of us that have been hurt. When we shut them away, numb them, or bind them from their truth and expression, they fester, rot, and become more vehement, and wounded. They act out in destructive ways causing us, others, and our communities pain.
When these parts are exposed, given space to breathe, they cry, they rage; they express their truth, their rawness, and their deep vulnerability. When we allow the light in, and allow love to fall upon them, these wounded parts of us begin to heal.
It is our responsibility as adults to truly learn to parent ourselves.
Not many of us know or received healthy parenting. This is not a criticism; it is an observation and fact. Each generation deals with its own level of trauma. We learn parenting through broken wires of communication and lineage. Once we begin to fully know ourselves—our own heart, soul, and truth, without and including the ego—we begin to fully know who we are here to be.
First, we must learn how to belong to ourselves, our bodies, our breath, this life.
We must wrap these tender pieces of ourselves in our light, and nurture the aching heart that has endured broken expectations, conformed to earn the love of others, and taken “our place” to do so when our bodies and souls have shouted “no!”
We must anoint ourselves with healing tears which, as they fall, loosen the tight threads of the past, from their grip around our chests, wombs, limbs, and throats. When we allow the tears to fall, we reclaim our captive hearts, our longings. We return home to self. We heal.
Then, we must learn how to belong outside of ourselves.
Some of us may learn to belong within another’s arms, or the arms of a group, never knowing when others may go or change—a transitory comfort. As we become complacent in the temporary comfort of people, we settle and get stuck. We develop a codependency on others and relinquish our power.
It is a journey—step-by-step—gently softly, beginning to learn how to belong. Here, now, with ourselves and only ourselves.
Learn your body, your breath; the shape of yourself, inside and out.
Get to know the smoothness of your skin, the places where your hair grows, the moistness, dryness, silky softness, and hardness.
Notice how your breath feels in your body, and where it comes from—your nose? Your mouth?
Discover your creative hands, stroking your body, holding your hands and feet? Yes, hold your own hand.
Begin to call yourself home—fully to yourself—to belonging to yourself, perhaps for the first time in this life, this body, this place in time.
Let the emotions rise; let them fall; let them flow.
Catch yourself as you feel you are going to fall. Know you will never touch the ground and that you will always catch yourself. Yes, catch yourself, dear one; catch all those parts longing to fall—the parts that have left, the things that have happened.
Call your power home. Do not squashing it any longer, or give it away to another.
Call it home to you; for you.
From here we begin.