On the Drama Triangle (Dr. Stephen Karpman), there are three major roles that people play: Persecutor, Rescuer and Victim. The diagram as Dr. Karpman originally developed it is an equilateral upside down triangle. The victim is at the bottom point. That is because the Persecutor and the Rescuer are in the one-up position. The Victim feels helpless, the Rescuer has the answer and the Persecutor tells you whose fault it is.

If you are a rescuer, people come to you for advice. You sacrifice what you want for the sake of pleasing others. You get admiration for your insights and for always having it together.

At the same time, this rescue role can keep you involved in hopeless relationships or in a career that you have outgrown or on a committee you no longer have use for. You might give up some of these obligations or quit some of these patterns, but you are afraid of letting someone down. What would everyone think?

Doesn’t that sound more like a victim? If you are feeling overwhelmed, underappreciated and overworked, maybe you need to look at how the victim loses power.

How the Victim Loses Power
The victim loses power by letting other people’s opinions matter more than her own set of values. While it is important and even necessary to consider the opinions of others, the victim wastes time obsessing about what other people think. The victim naturally looks to others for the answers, without considering whether or not the advice being offered is worthy. The victim loses power on negative thoughts, which results in negative talk.

The victim is known for constant complaining, especially when there is an audience, and it matters not if the audience is one or many. The victim is stuck on a triangle with no intention of leaving because the listening ear of the audience supports the victim role.

One way to spot the victim mode in others is to notice how the victim doesn’t want options or choices that will promote or enable change. (A solution would take the victim off the triangle and out of the spotlight.) The victim simply wants to be right.

There is a difference between venting to a good friend or business associate who has agreed momentarily to listen, to offer alternatives, or just to laugh with you while you play out your drama. The difference is that, this kind of complaining is used to “processes” the situation so that patterns can be broken so that productivity resumes.

A way to identify the victim role in yourself is to notice how and when you ask for advice. Are you seeking approval or really wanting advice? If so, whom are you seeking it from? Is it from someone who has been there and done that? If so, it’s probably just asking for some mentoring, if you are also giving something back to the relationship or are not overly dependent on your mentor.

Exiting the Victim Role
One quick way to exit the victim role is to eliminate your unrealistic expectations about others, and realize once and for all that no one else has all of your answers.

Stop expecting someone to hand success to you on a silver platter just because you are nice, sweet or they happen to like you. Quit asking advice from people who have yet to achieve your level of education, experience or success. When you continue to seek out advice from others you must ask some questions: Is there a hidden intention to get their approval? Are you looking to argue with someone about excuses as to why you can’t create the life you deserve? Do you need someone to confirm your capabilities?

If after reading this you have identified a friend or co-worker as a victim then it’s also good to know that every victim needs a rescuer. It takes two to play games unless you’re playing solitaire.

Author's Bio: 

Ready to Stop Workplace Drama? Marlene Chism, author of Stop Workplace Drama, invites you to learn more about her new book and Stop Your Drama Methodology, eight principles to help leaders gain clarity and reduce workplace drama.