relationship drama, disagreement, the victim, victims, manipulation relationships, manipulating, manipulator, manipulated, victim and perpetrator

“Come on and rescue me, Come on baby and rescue me, Come on baby and rescue me, ‘Coz I need you, by my side” lyrics from Rescue Me by Aretha Franklin

The Karpman Drama Triangle has a lot of complexity to it. A true & emotionally searing experience of abuse can set someone up unconsciously for life to seek love in the deformed way it was received. This is because the focus of the abused and the abuser is always the abuser.

When the focus is always the other person combined with swallowing your own needs, then you will set yourself up to repeat the experience with the eternal hope of a different outcome.

Look at Jackie Kennedy for one example. Caitlin Flanagan in this month’s Atlantic describes her as “dependent on the kindness of sadists” beginning with her Father who was an alcoholic and was “too drunk to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day…”. Jackie as victim perpetrated a carefully constructed story of Camelot upon America & we still believe it despite all the evidence to the contrary. We are then rescued & inspired by the myth of JFK.

Often victims can be inflated with self righteousness which helps to deflect their responsibility in their own enabling behavior. I suspect Jackie poured all of her self righteousness in building the historical myth that still endures. Even Caroline admits inclinations of rescuing in the introduction of Historic Conversations that “I grew up feeling I needed to protect her.” Jackie’s gossip and mean imitations were another way to feel the power of the perpetrator.

Round & round the triangle of drama we go. Emotional masochism means you cater so much to the other person that you lose track of who you are & the truth. You become enchanted by being the rescuing hero or heroine. You prove to yourself you are good by swallowing too much crap from someone else. Then you try to ignore the huge price you pay for doing this.

Victims love milking the heroes & heroines so that it almost always benefits them. Unintentional manipulation is slightly better than intentional. Unintentional manipulators are so wrapped up in their own neediness that they find it impossible to consider anyone else in any genuine way.

If you believe there is no room in a relationship for disagreement or your own ideas then you participate in the lopsided dysfunction (just like the young college grad Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey who is so wimpy I will never read the book).

There are many secondary gains to the victim role. Imagine swimming around in agreement, sympathy and being the focus of someone else’s attention and how enticing that might be. It is especially helpful to have highly tuned sensitivity to deflect any introspection or self awareness.

Think of an adolescent girl blasting away at her mother with the successful result of ending all conversation. In fact, adolescents play out the drama triangle endlessly because they are wired for the excitement of drama. They don’t recognize the hollowness inherent in the game.

The danger of dwelling in a relationship of agreement means that victims can then avoid reality. Reality is usually disagreeable. Reality always lies between two people. Reality is about waking up to the truth for BOTH people instead of being a planet that only orbits the sun.

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About the Rhoda Mills Sommer

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