In Codependence, relationship and life problems become worse over time.
These roles of victim, rescuer and persecutor are often caused by intergenerational trauma or unfairness. What holds these three roles together is denial. At some level, Persecutors have convinced themselves they are right to do what they do to the Victim and refuse to see their actions as abusive or manipulative. Victims wonder how they ‘always end up in this situation’ and feel both powerless and blameless. Rescuers tell themselves they ‘are just trying to help’ and are ‘good people’, when really they get to control by keeping Victims helpless or feeling needed. Davis and Frawley discovered that there is also a fourth position called the passive or neglectful bystander. All of these roles are interchangeable, and none of them are healthy.
To heal this relationship pattern, we need to practice doing the opposite of what we normally do. The opposite of the destructive-fuelled by control, guilt and enmeshment, as in the co-dependence pattern above, toward a better way of loving that honours us and the people in our lives.
An honest look at the behaviour patterns we’re engaged in is often helpful. But don’t expect those around you to want to change the pattern even if you do! This pattern is often called the Drama Triangle!
Things to be curious about
- When you were growing up, what sort of role did you play in the family?
- What aspects of self-did you or others -have to deny, in order to play that role?
- Do you still play the same role today, or have you adopted other roles?
To escape the co-dependence pattern I suggest that you start by learning positive skills and boundaries for yourself and others as illustrated below.
I hope this blog evokes curiosity and perhaps even a moment of clarity and self compassion. More help with changing patterns is available through CoDA or Al Anon, or via a trauma therapist on sites such as the Blue Knot Foundation or addiction therapy groups via organisations like Odyssey.