The Victim Triangle and Lindsay Lohan
I finally caught the news last night while my husband was watching 60 Minutes. Rarely do I pay attention to drama and news stories; however, with all of the victim-related issues appearing by the hour, the news of Lindsay Lohan caught my attention. Why? Because she was playing out the Victim Triangle perfectly. She is a perfect demonstration of how this dynamic plays out. It's one many of us display without ever being wise to it. It is a loud pattern and it is a subtle pattern. In some of us it is obvious, in others of us, it is subtle and obscured. Yet it is there. I see it active almost everyone. If you missed the news, click here.
Victim * Persecutor * Rescuer
The three go hand in hand. One cannot exist without the other. It is cultivated in family dynamics at a very early age and runs thru generations and generations and generations. It is a vicious cycle to engage in and takes great strength and resolve to liberate from this pattern. While we are predominantly one aspect more than another, we are actually all 3. We rotate between the three often in one scenario. Lindsay Lohan made an attempt to "rescue" the homeless children that she viewed as victims of trafficking. Not only did she accuse (persecute) the parents, she perceived the children as victims and made an unsolicited attempt to rescue. Instead she got punched in the face and became a victim to her own rescuing. This is just so wrong on so many levels and yet so perfectly demonstrates how the Victim Triangle influences most of our actions, in-actions and reactions - most of all, our behaviors and our perceptions.
If Lindsay did not understand what it feels like to be a victim of something, she would be unable to recognize it in others. And because she has been victimized, in whatever way I have no idea, her perception is wired to "see" it whether it is real or not. Her perception is her reality, as it is with all of us. To understand exactly what is Victim energy, it is simply this- feeling powerless. Feeling powerless can show up in many ways, in every situation, with others or alone. Boundaries are compromised, at times drastically so, voices go unheard, needs go unmet, things are taken without permission, requests are ignored, rules get dismissed and we are left feeling powerless.
Some victims quietly withdraw inward and live a life of fear, hoping to stay small enough to remain safely out of harm's way- the persecutor. Some victims live loudly and blame all of their unhappiness on others, sometimes blaming life itself, the Universe and God. Regardless, when the Victim energy is present within, it will naturally attract the Rescuer and Persecutor in others. The only way to stop this pattern is to become conscious of it and do the personal work to stop it. How do you know if you have it? Well, most of us do. According to Carolyn Myss it is one of the four main archetypes found in all individuals. Because truthfully, we will all feel powerless at some point in our lives. It is a matter of how much and how often and how dominant it is. Notice if you blame, accuse, feel that things are out of your control. Notice if you feel angry, unseen or unheard or helpless. Do you ever say that Life is not fair? When will it be my turn? or I wish I wasn't here. Do you have trouble establishing healthy boundaries? Do you attract bullies? Just for your own personal awareness, get out a pad of paper and go back thru your life. Write down every time you have felt powerless. You might be amazed at what you see.
Rescuers on the other hand appear to have good intentions, which of course they do. Rescuers want harmony and healing so badly that they will go to great lengths to make it happen. That's not so bad sounding is it? It's not, until you see how it feeds the triangle. Rescuers usually witnessed a family dynamic of abuse and as a child began making attempts to soothe or save whomever was getting attacked, often a parent. Rescuers thus grow up being hyper aware of things going wrong. They become experts at identifying what needs fixing and the most unfortunate part of the plight of the Rescuer is that they ONLY understand how to be needed, not loved. Their interpretation of love is being needed. So they will look for what is wrong in order to have something to fix. They need to be needed and so they are always fixing and they are always rescuing, solving and, most of the time, without ever being asked. How do you know if you are a Rescuer? You have probably already figured out by now simply by knowing who you have attracted into your life. You attract needy people, you attract victims, people who complain or blame. You want to heal and soothe others beyond a reasonable approach. You offer solutions and help to others without ever being asked. You over commit to volunteering efforts and you feel exhausted much of the time, with an ever growing list of must-do's. You also have unexplained anger and guilt and you take responsibility for other people's lives. Do you want to save the world? Do you, like the Victim, have trouble establishing boundaries? Do you put other peoples needs before yours? Do you rubberneck in people's lives and make a u-turn to go help, even if the rescue squad is already there? Do you constantly see people hurting, needing help and go out of your way to soothe? Do you, and this is the biggest one, feel sorry for people? When you feel sorry for someone you have just made them a victim that you can easily help because you are in a different position than them and the rescuing begins....
The Rescuer will attract someone who has a strong victim energy, sensing or knowing that this person needs help. The Victim has no sense of personal boundaries and the Rescuer often blows right thru any boundaries anyway, never even looking for them. (Just like Lindsay Lohan did with the family she perceived needed help and rescuing. She completely ignored the parents and the children's boundaries and literally got punched in the face for it. The funny thing is that she was in turn completely shocked by their reactions, which simply proves how unaware she really is). So the rescuer begins to do whatever he or she can to solve this other person's problems. As soon as one problem is solved, another arises and the cycle begins to build. Eventually the Rescuer gets defeated because nothing is working and they become a victim to their efforts of rescuing. If you have ever tried to help someone overcome an addiction, you will completely understand this. Eventually the Rescuer has had enough and reaches the boiling point and blows up, now turning into the Persecutor. The Persecutor explodes in anger and simply reinforces the Victim to once again feel victimized by the one person who was trying to help.
The Persecutor is angry, frustrated, has felt powerless for a very long time, although is most often not even aware of that fact. Anger has been sitting, buried deep within for a long long time. Once the eruption occurs it is just a matter of time before guilt settles in and they start to rescue again. They will feel terribly about their explosion and take responsibility for hurting the other person and begin the cycle of rescuing all over again.
The cycle repeats. It continues on and on. The adults get married, have children, the children witness it, adopt a role and they grow up playing it out as adults and they have children and so on and so on. Knowing if you are a persecutor seems like it would be easy to see. It's not. Most persecutors would never consider themselves as such. Persecutors feel unsafe, insecure, threatened because they were most likely abused as a child. They feel on guard at all times, like everyone is out to get them. They consistently perceive feedback and criticism as an attack. Most conversations readily turn into arguments because they are wired to defend. Do you feel like the world is out to get you? You have no one person you can really trust? Do you feel like you have to lie, cheat or steal or manipulate others and circumstances to get your needs met? Do you feel attacked? Persecuted by others? Are you angry more than your not? Are Joy and Love just fantasies and others are stupid to believe in? Fairy tales are bullshit. Life is hard.
If you identified with one of the above, on some level, you most likely identified with all of them. The good news is that you are in the majority. Most people you meet have this dynamic working in them. You can see it everywhere, as we saw with Lindsay Lohan (thank you) in the news. If you really want to take a macro view at it, step back and look at how our country is being led today. As a country we are portrayed as being victims to, for example, unfair trade practices or immigrants taking advantage of our resources; and yet, we bully other countries into getting our way by refusing to cooperate, making unreasonable threats and demands. It is obvious how BIG this dynamic is. And when the dynamic is present, it will show up in EVERY and I mean EVERY area of your life- relationships, finances, career, health, you name it. If you feel powerless in ANY area of your life, then you might wanna consider some deep personal inner work. It is entirely possibly to clear this pattern from your experience. It's not easy, yet it is doable. Get the book Breaking Free From the Victim Trap by Diane Zimberoff. Seek guidance. Believe. Life doesn't have to be so full of drama, hurt and pain.
This world is an amazing place to be. It is your world and your journey and you really are in complete control. You have power beyond your understanding. You are deeply connected to a magnificent universe and filled with and surrounded by divine essence.
Always believe and always reach for the highest version of your Self, because I will tell you - it is beautiful.