While working in India, I never had a good working experience. Going to office was something I never looked forward too. If you have read my answers on Quora, I have probably written a lot about my bad experiences at work. It always felt like not being valued, not being listened to, or appreciated. The feelings were more intense when I worked in India, and things got a little better in Canada. However, there were some instances that are stuck in memory like anything.
I remember I was very new at work, and my manager asked me for a report.
‘Ankita, can you please pull that report for me. I need that information now.’
‘I don’t know how I would pull that information?’, I said sheepishly.
‘Why don’t you know that? It’s been a month that you joined! Have you seen that girl? She is junior to you, and still she knows so much! This is disappointing!’
I was busy managing my emotions of embarrassment a colleague stepped up and offered to help. I could feel the relief. A gentle breeze of relaxation flew over my body. I somehow remember this instance, because I worked very late in the office that day. Also the feeling of shame was too much to handle!
A couple of days ago, I read about Karpman Drama Triangle and somehow it reminded me of this incident and the interaction.
About my manager, who always talked like he was about to blame; a colleague who was famous for being ready to help anyone, anytime; and ‘poor me!’, who was the sufferer.
Yes, that’s what the drama triangle is all about. The three roles. The role of a victim, a prosecutor, and a rescuer. It was a terminology explained by Stephen Karpman in the 1960s to explain how the human mind changes its role and keeps changing based on circumstances.
It has the desire to overpower, protect, and feel victimized. And depending on the circumstances, it knows where to feel comfortable.
Here is how it looks like. (Picture reference: https://counsellinginhamilton.com/)
- Prosecutor:- It’s all your fault! Yes, that is how they sound like. Prosecutors are aggressive. They are critical and want to win at any cost. They live with a false sense of superiority and use the victims to strengthen this feeling. ‘Their way’ is always the correct way, and in the process, they turn into a bully at times.
- Victim:- Why me, every time. A victim thinks of himself/herself as the sufferer. He thinks that all the bad things happen to him, and he is always in the ‘poor me’ zone. The mindset switches to a zone that is dark and there is no hope. Most of the time, victims avoid taking responsibility and tend to charge outside circumstances or people for their problems.
- Rescuer:- I can help you. The rescuers are always ready to help and believe that it is their responsibility to help others. Most of the time they jump into the mode of helping others without being asked. While they act as a hero in the problematic situation, rather than focusing on the root cause of the problem, they focus on instant gratification that comes from helping the victim for a moment.
Please note that this drama triangle is not only limited to the office workspace, but if you observe minutely, you see that you take these roles at home too. That is how codependents operate (I have written a post on codependency). I care a lot for my younger brother. There are times I would act as a ‘Rescurer’ when he shares some problem with me. However, at times I find that he ignores what I say. And very swiftly I turn into a ‘Victim.’
‘Why do I even care for him? He does not bother about my feelings.’
I also turn into a prosecutor when I see someone failing after not listening to my unsolicited advice.
‘I told you this won’t work! I wish you had listened to me!’
Can you relate to what I am saying? Do you do this often too?
Now, what is the solution to this?
I might sound like a broken record but everything you need to heal, happens with the awareness that it needs to be healed. The moment you are aware is the moment you take step back, and see the role you are playing. It take too much patience, courage, and acceptance to get out of this trap, but slowly and gradually the process makes you better. A better human being.
Peace and big joy,
Upon reading your article, I realize that most of my life, I have been a “victim “.
Now sometimes I am the ” rescuer”.
Hopefully I will never become a ” persecuter “.
Thanks for writing such an interesting and informative blog and explaining everything so succinctly.
Oh yes! I too have been a victim for a larger part of my life, though I have realized that with awareness, slowly it gets better!