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The Rescuer Trap - Blogs, Image, Society
The Rescuer Trap - Blogs, Image, Society

Video: The Rescuer Trap - Blogs, Image, Society

Video: The Rescuer Trap - Blogs, Image, Society
Video: An Introduction to the Victim Triangle 2023, March

At one event, I met a longtime acquaintance, Alexander. He was in high spirits and told with enthusiasm that an old friend had invited him to a promising and very profitable project.

Alexander's former business partner, Victor, was involved in the construction of a large logistics complex. There was only one "but" - the head of the construction site, who constantly let down: he did not meet the deadlines, did not fulfill the obligations. But Alexander, according to Victor, is just the person who could help, with his experience, connections and ability to resolve difficult situations. “This is my chance! - Alexander spoke confidently. - The work is just for me, and then it's just the beginning - other projects are on the way …"

When after a while we met with Alexander again, he was already in a different mood: irritated, excited, aggressive. He accused his partner, Viktor, of being soft, and the head of the construction site, Andrei, of sabotage: “It's impossible to make him work as it should. There are always a thousand “objective reasons”: either the customs detained the cargo, the foreman got sick, or the weather let down. As soon as I start to press, he immediately runs to complain to the boss, says that I put a spoke in his wheels. The chef is neutral. But no one took off my obligations! I promised that I would finish everything in five months, but the construction is at a standstill. What do you advise?"

I said that the most important thing now is to clearly share responsibility and authority with Andrey. Otherwise, the situation can finally get out of control. But Alexander hardly heard me. He had a different opinion: “This is all theory! In fact, it must be squeezed properly."

A few months later, Alexander himself asked me to meet. He was depressed and confused: “I was completely exhausted and confused. I don’t want to stay, and I can’t leave. The chief now constantly shouts at me, not hesitating in expressions, says that all the lost profit is on me, that he created all the conditions for me, but there is no result. They called me to help, but as a result, the project "got up" - and I turned out to be extreme. It feels like I was just being used! And the construction manager is already on a new project …"

This development of the situation was quite natural. As soon as Alexander began to work with a former partner whom he sincerely wanted to help, and with the construction manager whom he hoped to “build”, all his steps were determined by Eric Berne's famous triangle “victim - tyrant - rescuer”.


Everyone who falls into this triangle will have to visit all three corners and play all three designated roles. How did events develop in the case of Alexander?


The head of the construction site, Andrei, constantly pushed the deadlines, violating agreements with customers and contractors, that is, he actually disrupted the project. At the same time, the leader did nothing, taking a passively wait-and-see position of the "victim" and looking for a "rescuer" who would put things in order. For this role, he invited Alexander, who felt that no one but him would help his friend. And Victor kept repeating: "There is only one hope for you!" As soon as Alexander took upon himself this "noble mission", the triangle closed - "our Polkan fell into a trap."


No sooner had Alexander put on the "white toga" of the hero, when the leader suggested that he apply "draconian methods" and actually said: "Press on Andrey, don't be afraid! You have to deal with him! " And Alexander really began to put pressure on Andrey, hitting the table with his fist and demanding an account. Andrei did not fulfill the requirements, but at the same time ran to complain to the boss as his "rescuer", so that he would protect him from the newly appeared "tyrant". That is, he presented himself as a “victim” of unfair attacks. The roles have changed.


The victim - Andrey set up the rescuer - the boss against Alexander: "With his appearance, everything only got more complicated!" And as a result, Alexander found himself in the most disadvantageous position. Instead of receiving the laurels of a "rescuer", he became a "killer of hopes" and listened to complaints from the boss. From an old friend, he turned into a “tyrant” and openly expressed his displeasure: “I have broken wood, now get out as you know! I won't get off of you! I need a result! " As a result, Alexander in a short time, having managed to visit both the role of "rescuer" and the role of "tyrant", became a real victim.


After analyzing the situation, Alexander clearly saw that the chief had a long-standing, emotionally intense relationship with the head of the construction site and that he was assigned the role of a "scapegoat" to solve the problems of this couple. How to recognize dangerous situations in which we are called to “be third”? How to see a well-established tandem, which is better not to mess with?


In such tandems, emotions prevail, not business. Even when partners talk about business, in their conversations there are too many personal grievances, scandalous notes, attempts to conjecture who said what, how they looked, what they had in mind … The solution of business issues and specific problems associated with them fades into the background, and the first is a showdown. All this is very reminiscent of "family showdown" with slamming doors, calls to each other, endless quarrels and reconciliations.


In an emotionally dependent tandem, the distance between partners is minimal: they seem to be "sewn" on a living thread. Their relationship is based mainly on the fear of a breakup, which they try to avoid at any cost, and therefore are not free in their actions. People "get hung up" on each other, become interdependent. And although the number of their meetings and contacts is growing, they can no longer make a constructive decision either together or separately.


As a rule, the "rescuer" in such tandems is invited from outside. First, they ask him to help, put things in order, and then they beat him on the hands. A textbook example: a husband often drinks and terrorizes his wife. When the situation escalates to the limit, the victim's wife calls a “rescuer” - for example, a district police officer - to the house. And when the law enforcement officer has to use force, she begins to shout: "Oh, you monster, don't touch my Vasya!" The roles suddenly change: the policeman from the “rescuer” turns into a “tyrant”, the wife - into the “rescuer”, and the husband - into the “victim”. But very soon a new distribution of roles takes place: the wife becomes a "tyrant" who writes to the district police officer in all instances, trying to get him to get "what he deserves." And the "rescuer", to his own surprise, becomes a victim: he is forced to write explanatory notes and "cornered",because he "exceeded his official authority."

And for the husband and wife, the situation does not change. Their usual relationship of victim and tyrant, in which they periodically involve rescuers from the outside - neighbors, relatives, police officers, colleagues - is quickly restored. But the one who falls into their tandem as a "rescuer" necessarily becomes a "tyrant", and then a "victim".


There are also more stable, closed "triangles" with a "rescuer" enclosed in them, whose role is successively transferred from one participant to another.

For example, a husband has an affair and does not always come to spend the night, which means that he acts as a tyrant who “does not value”, “does not protect”, “does not count”, “does not care”, “does not love”, etc. The wife endures all this "for the sake of the children" and feels like a victim. The grown-up children, whom she turns to for help to restore justice, initially act as rescuers. But, feeling sorry for their mother, they begin to attack their father, gradually turning into tyrants. And then the father becomes a victim, and the mother takes on the role of a rescuer: “Children, it’s impossible, he gave you life, he does so much for you! How can you shout at him! " So the mother becomes a tyrant for the children, the children become her victim, and the father eventually becomes their savior. And this reversal of roles occurs constantly - it turns out to be a cyclical movement in a circle. It can go on indefinitely, as long asuntil someone alone breaks free from this triangle.

Relationships such as “closed systems” serve themselves. To maintain their existence and not disintegrate, they do not need to attract anyone from the outside. And only sometimes, when life becomes completely insipid or emotional relaxation is needed, they can drag someone into their triangle: the public, consultants, etc. But most often they do not want to change the situation. As soon as they understand that outside interference can upset the dynamic balance in their triangle, they immediately refuse to interact: "Thank you, we do not need your help."

How to get out of the trap

What if we suddenly discovered that we became participants in such a triangle?

Realize your role

When we feel that we are beginning to act not of our own free will, as if we are “drawn by an unknown force,” we must stop, analyze the situation and understand what role we are playing in it.

All three characters live in each of us - the victim, the tyrant and the rescuer. But as soon as one of the three roles becomes habitually leading, and its inherent states are dominant, the destruction of the personality begins. It would seem, what can be destructive in the role of a rescuer? But a long stay even in such a seemingly attractive role can lead to altruistic narcissism, to a violation of connections with reality, when a person feels omnipotent, ready to solve any problems. Therefore, it is worthwhile to understand and understand whether I am playing a role imposed by someone.

Understand your psychological benefits

Each of the three roles actualizes those personal needs that we would like to satisfy. The situation of the triangle, like "hooks", clings to us for weaknesses, for "complexes" that we play out in the role we have assumed. So, the role of a rescuer is tempting for those who want to receive confirmation of their own worth, to feel better and more perfect than others.

The role of the victim is attractive because it allows you to shift your problems onto others. Therefore, if a person often has a desire to "cry", if he wants to be pitied, if he likes to tell how unlucky he was, then it will not be difficult for him to become a victim.

The role of a tyrant makes it possible to be above others, causing "fear and awe." For many, this role becomes a compensation for their own weakness. The tyrant constantly asserts himself in his superiority: he throws ashtrays, shouts at a meeting, hits the table with his fist, realizing that he will not be answered in kind. He is warmed by the thought that he can afford what others cannot. Each role has its own psychological benefits. When we understand what position we are in and what "hook" we are caught on, we can decide what to do next.

Line up boundaries

If we want to keep our family together and not lose our dear job, then we can try to change the situation. When one of the participants in the triangle begins to behave differently, more consciously, the system can no longer exist as before. Therefore, it is important to define your position as clearly as possible, build boundaries and distribute responsibilities. When it comes to business, you can even conclude an agreement that clearly spells out the powers and responsibilities of each party. This will help you find a "balance point" and come to an understanding.

Quit the game

It is important to remember that we are not omnipotent and other people cannot be remade. If a stable relationship has developed in tandem, you should not think that we will force someone to behave more maturely and consciously. Sometimes it is important to admit that we cannot change the relationship of two people, and there is no need to waste our time, energy, nerves, and even more so to devote our lives to this. Sometimes it is better to break off a "looped" relationship so as not to lose yourself in them.

How did our story end? Alexander's attempts to build boundaries and distribute responsibility were unsuccessful, and he still had to leave. Realizing what was happening, he made a meaningful decision and acknowledged that his powers were not unlimited and should not be wasted, unsuccessfully trying to save someone or something. This inner position allowed him to survive his forced departure quite calmly.

When after some time we met again, he said: “It was a good lesson for me. Now I understand when they just want to use me in their game, and do not enter into such alliances. But there are situations when I really want to help people - and I do it."

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