Victim, Rescuer & Persecutor – overcoming manipulation & control

Victim, Rescuer & Persecutor - overcoming manipulation & control

Victim, Rescuer & Persecutor – overcoming manipulation & control

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal how to overcome manipulation and control – identifying and releasing the roles of Rescuer, Victim & Persecutor.

First a quick update:

“Taming the male”
“Men will fail and will remain as eternal immature men unless women intervene and help them to mature, grow and realize their potential; the woman’s job and purpose is to tame the male.” Whose message is that? Read my article: https://patrickwanis.com/blog/taming-the-male/

Follow me on Twitter– You can now choose to follow me and receive a few words of wisdom on Twitter: @Behavior_Expert   https://twitter.com/Behavior_Expert

“Can abusers be cured?”
The Duggar family has further highlighted the subject of family abuse as well as the ways that some parents respond, often protecting the abuser over the victims. Watch my appearance on MSNBC with Seema Iyer, Esq.

Now, let’s talk about how to overcome manipulation and control – identifying and releasing the roles of Rescuer, Victim & Persecutor.

What role do you play in relationships?

Before you answer with “I am just me”, consider carefully the dynamics of your relationships:

How do you behave and respond to others? What is expected of you and what do you expect of others? Who are you in each of your relationships? How would you describe the role you play?

In healthy and fulfilling relationships, each person takes responsibility for him/herself, expresses and receives love openly, and avoids trying to control and manipulate the other person.

In unhealthy relationships, roles are assumed and the drama dynamic is formed where three key roles are used to control and manipulate: Rescuer, Victim and Persecutor.

Before explaining this relationship dynamic known as “The Drama Triangle”, let me begin by clearly stating that the intention of each of these roles is to manipulate and control in order to get love – albeit it in a dysfunctional and completely unsatisfying manner.

Imagine a triangle, and at each point is one of these 3 roles:

  1. Persecutor
  2. Rescuer
  3. Victim

The Critical Persecutor traumatizes, criticizes, blames, judges, remains in anger, and is rigid. The Persecutor says “I’m right and it’s all your fault.” Think – The Villain.  

The Dejected Victim suffers and receives the harsh judgment of the Persecutor and cries out “Poor, pitiful me. I’m blameless.” The Victim wallows in hopelessness, despair, powerlessness, shame and oppression. Think – The Damsel in Distress.

The Permissive Rescuer saves and becomes the hero by coming to the aid of the Victim: “I’m good. Let me help you!” The Rescuer struggles to say “No” and enables the Victim to remain a victim by making him or her dependent on him. The Rescuer gives people around him permission to fail and be powerless. Think – The Hero

Again, each of these roles is designed as a subconscious attempt to get love – even if it is by exerting power and control over others, and even if it actually fails to get real love.

How are these roles in The Drama Triangle created?

The Rescuer played the same role in childhood – growing up in a chaotic family where he/she took on the role of saving mom/dad/siblings and ensuring that everyone is happy and gets what they each want but never being aware of what he, the rescuer actually wants and needs. The rescuer learned: ‘In order for me to get love, attention and be accepted, I must rescue people.’ The Rescuer fears vulnerability.

The Victim played the same role in childhood – growing up in a family where he/she saw mom or dad getting attention whenever he or she was a victim (i.e. powerless, helpless or oppressed.) The Victim learned: ‘In order for me to get love, attention and feel safe, I must be helpless and be rescued.’ The Victim fears her own power and responsibility.

The Persecutor played the same role in childhood – growing up in a family where he/she probably felt powerless and watched a parent using criticism and condemnation as a means to control over others and feel safe. The Persecutor learned: ‘In order for me to get love, attention and be powerful, I must be strong, harsh, and critical.’ The Persecutor fears their own authentic power over themselves.

Each of these roles is not rigid but rather fluid. In other words, in a family or even a relationship of 2 people, each participant can switch roles to perpetuate the drama and games.

If each player takes on these roles and gets his/her needs met, then what is wrong with The Drama Triangle?

No one’s real needs are being met; love is not truly expressed or received. Everyone gets stuck in and sucked into the drama; they constantly create drama as a way of avoiding real connection, vulnerability, intimacy, responsibility, boundaries, problem solving and individual growth.

Here is what each person fails to consciously realize: that the victim is not really as helpless as he feels (he has internal power), the Rescuer is not really helping (he is enabling the victim), and the Persecutor does not really have a valid complaint (he is seeking only the negative and traumatizing the victim.)

So what is the solution?

Step 1: Awareness – become consciously aware of the roles you are playing and the roles others around you are playing. Note the ways you play them and when they began. Note that without a victim, the Drama Triangle cannot exist – even if someone blames you or tries to rescue you.

Step 2: New Decision – decide to escape The Drama Triangle

Step 3: New Roles – become a Creator instead of a Victim (define your desired outcome and vision and make conscious responses to challenges); become a Challenger instead of a Persecutor (build others up rather than putting them down and seek positive ways to help others learn and grow be it with confrontation or compassion) and; become a Coach instead of a Rescuer (encourage others to be a Creator, share power with others, and encourage independence and interdependence.)  https://powerofted.com/

Step 4: Release the original roles – Seek professional help to become empowered with new roles by resolving the origins of the roles you adopted as a child which you have been using in adulthood. Book a one-on-one session with me. 

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist
www.patrickwanis.com

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4 replies
  1. Avatar
    Anne says:

    Hi, I’m going through a situation like this right now. My sister is the victim, her boyfriend is the persecutor, and I just realized I have been playing the role of “rescuer”. Thank you for your insight, it has helped me tremendously!
    Anne

    • Avatar
      Patrick Wanis says:

      Dear Anne,
      thank you for reading my article and I am sincerely happy to hear that it is helpful in your situation and that now you can begin to stop playing rescuer and allow people to give to you!
      All the best,
      Patrick

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