Every decent story needs a victim. The movie „Pretty Woman“ would hardly be any good without the female protagonist needing a knight in shining armour to rescue her, right? In fact, what good would any Hollywood movie be without a juicy victim role? Where there is a victim, there is an aggressor and a rescuer. If there was no victim, then the other two roles would vanish as well. Would this mean that a story must be boring? Not at all! The story could become more faceted, more lively, and more powerful! Instead of “low drama”, the stage could be set for “high drama” – high level fun can take place.
I did not come up with this myself. It is based on the so-called “drama triangle” developed by Stephan Karman in the context of Transactional Analysis, as it has been further evolved by Clinton Callahan.
The interesting thing is that we are so used to this low drama from movies, television and everyday life, that we imitate our own life stories accordingly. In an earlier article I had described how we are the storytellers of our lives (sorry, only available in German for now). So if we create our stories in a way that there are victims, aggressors and rescuers, then we bring ourselves into low drama. In such a soap opera, the roles can change very quickly: you may just have been the victim and before you know it you might be persecuting, and going on to rescue another victim.
What I find sad about this low drama is that nothing changes, apart from time going by.
I do notice how I can be prone to feeling the victim. Over the years, I seem to have so perfected that role that I could even be aware of my victim state, and then nevertheless magically bring out all the actions of a great victim if my counterpart does not act the way I want him or her to. This could include pouting, ignoring, and everything else necessary to be a convincing victim. Especially when it is time to create my own life, this victim role seems to be just right to find excuses so as to not do what my heart truly wants. So I might look for reasons why something cannot be done, why I cannot do a certain thing, why things are difficult, etc. (this can go all the way to physical symptoms such as headaches and tiredness) instead of taking responsibility: To plan my time, to do what’s important to me; to find out what it needs in order to do certain things; also, to find out what I want to invest my time and energy in; and to do everything in my power to realise all that, including asking other people for help.
Where I refuse to be a victim, there are also no aggressors and no rescuers. Instead, there is joyful responsibility for myself, and a creative power – both are an amazing fuel for change and connection.
I am now working on a new screenplay for my life story. Learning it by heart might still take a little while, yet I will keep at it, because I believe it is worth it. How about you?
This article was first written in German in February 2017. While the core of it remains accurate, the personal aspects of it have obviously changed. The article was inspired by Possibility Management and life itself.