Imagine it, you’ve saved up for an amazing once in a lifetime vacation. You have been dreaming about this since you were a little kid. You’ve always struggled with your weight, but as you are committed to planning your vacation, you decide you need to make a few changes.
You resolve that your eating habits need to be reined in so that you feel more confident as you venture off to paradise. For most of your life you have struggled in relationship to food, so as your trip approaches, you do what you have always done.
You begin feeling yourself out of control as you shift into victim mode. And then you get the brilliant idea to rescue yourself by prescribing a new and improved crash diet to help you lose the extra pounds you want to lose. As your vacation draws closer, you begin to persecute yourself as you aren’t seeing the results you had hoped for.
20 pounds in two weeks, come on, they promised if you followed it you would lose the weight. You berate yourself to the point of becoming a helpless victim again. And so, this insidious cycle continues.
This is a prime example of the Victim Triangle playing out in everyday life. The Victim Triangle is an ultimate display of a lack of personal power.
As Diane Zimberoff shares, “The victim triangle is the basis for codependent dysfunctional families and for addictions.”
Most research shows that these dysfunctional patterns are learned in childhood.
In her book, Breaking Free from the Victim Trap, Diane shares, “People tend to re-create the patterns they experienced early in their lives.” Some of the patterns outlined in her book are:
An addiction to chaos
A fear of intimacy
A sense of unpredictability
Unspoken rules- “Don’t speak, Don’t trust, Don’t talk back, Be quiet.”
No resolution of conflict
“Don’t be yourself.”- A private self and a public self are created.
Let’s look at the players in the Victim Triangle. These roles will continue to be cast until we take responsibility to heal the early patterns learned within dysfunctional familial relationships.
This level of dysfunction is relative to the child experiencing it. What was functional behavior as a child can become dysfunctional behavior as an adult. Perhaps as a child you grew up in a household where parents were fighting before you went to bed and then in the morning everything was “fine.”
Nothing was discussed and you were left feeling confused. Very early on in your life, you learned to not trust your perception of reality.
Who are the personality players in the Victim Triangle?
1. The Victim: One who feels helpless and sorry for himself or herself
Victim Vocabulary: “If it weren’t for my parents I wouldn’t be in therapy.” “If it weren’t for my ex-wife I could be happy.” “If it weren’t for the town I live in I would have a chance to be somebody.” “If it weren’t for the government, I would be rich.”
Main Projection upon the world: Blame and Excuses
Hypnotherapy Feelings to Extinguish:
Self-pity (sorry for self and others)
Shame- I’m bad
Guilt- It’s my fault
Fear of abandonment
Characteristics of the Victim: