The previous post briefly described the emotional toll the game of Victim, Rescuer and Persecutor costs any relationship. I offer my triangle of mental health:Do this instead of manipulate, Antidote to Drama

First and foremost, a fearless honesty requires a willingness to look within and take responsibility for your mistakes and problems. Instead of blaming the other person, you will grow by facing hard truths about your own shortcomings. There is a depth to intimacy that shares openly what makes you wince about yourself. Rigorous honesty with yourself will erase all three roles of Victim, Rescuer or persecutor.

The second part is to undo the Rescuer role. Have respect for both yourself and your partner. Respect that they can figure things out for themselves without constantly inserting yourself in their issues. Have some boundaries, learn to disagree and speak your truths. Relationships shouldn’t be so lopsided, except in the very romantic beginnings.

Self-respect matters. Define what’s not ok. Stop swallowing your own view-point. Examining your own codependency issues helps to defuse the Rescuer role. Rescuers have to give up their need to be the hero or heroine, or find cleaner ways to go about it. Your identity can’t be all about “fixing” somebody else. You can be helpful without getting lost.

Third – all relationships require problem solving and negotiating. It is not rocket science for a relationship to make an attempt to meet both people’s needs. It certainly can be an elegant business for two people to meet in the middle of their differences. For example, one partner feels a vacation is not affordable and the other partner figures out how to do it within a budget that respects that concern.

Problem solving does not happen in the game of manipulation. It simply doesn’t exist. Lip service may be given to the other person’s point of view, but there’s no action or real concern.

This triangle is for grown ups. Grown ups don’t require being told only what they want to hear. Growing up and finding the ability to do this is a lot of hard work. Falling into the pattern of Victim, Rescuer and Persecutor seems to be as easy as breathing. Ultimately this is really a very boring way to manage relationships.

I’m astounded at the lovely young men and women who come in the office who know they’ve been manipulated for 4 years or more who still seem enchanted, as if they’re under a spell. They know they’ve been cheated on, used for money and lied to over and over, and still have a hard time saying goodbye and moving on. They’ve defined themselves as loving and caring of this other person as if that’s enough for their own life.

I believe it’s simply a way to deflect and avoid the nitty-gritty work of deciding who else you’re going to be, besides someone in a relationship.

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About the Rhoda Mills Sommer

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