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Stop Persecuting - Becoming a Challenger

In order to stay stuck in the Drama Triangle, there has

to be a persecutor. Remember, the persecutor doesn't have to be a person - it can be a situation as well. The persecutor is who, or what, the victim blames for their suffering. When a person is in the persecutor role, it sounds like this:

  • I am surrounded by idiots and fools.

  • Noone wants to work anymore.

  • They are so lazy/stupid/irresponsible/obnoxious/ugly/foolish/etc.

  • I have told them three times and they don't listen.

  • This is their fault, not mine.

  • I can't trust anyone.

  • I am the only one who cares.

  • This isn't my fault.

  • Everyone but me does the bare minimum.

  • If I want it done right, I have to do it myself.

  • I could explain it to you, but you're too dumb to understand.

The persecutor mindset stems from feelings of anger, frustration, and impatience. Maybe you've tried to intervene and help before and it didn't work, so now you're feeling resentful. Even if you haven't actually intentionally caused harm, the victim will blame you, and that in itself can put you in a persecutor mindset! When in the persecutor mindset (and similar to the victim), you won't take any accountability for the situation, and put the blame back on the victim. Often times, when in the persecutor role, you often times will actually take on the victim mindset and make the victim your persecutor! This is a vicious cycle of blame and finger pointing. Staying in this role causes a stalemate on action and often times the drama will continue, with both parties feeling justified in their position and waiting for the other party to just "come around" to reality. The other challenge with the persecutor, is that often times, you have zero interest in engaging with the victim, so you complain about them and vent to others, versus having a person to person conversation.

If you find yourself in the persecutor role, you have a choice! Instead of staying angry or frustrated, you can choose to challenge the behavior and invite the victim to make a different choice and potentially clarify your own expectations of what you want. This is where you have to be courageous and be willing to have an honest discussion with the victim and let go of the anger and frustration.

To move from persecutor to challenger, the goal is to have courage to tell people the truth in a healthy way, and to challenge the victim to change their mentality and move into action.

Here are some examples:

Persecutor: "I don't see why this is so hard for you. I told you three times already and it seems you don't want to do it right. I am the only one who seems to care around here."

Challenger: "I noticed that you didn't empty all of the trash cans before closing last night. It is important that we open the store ready to operate. Can you tell me more about what happened?"

The goal of the challenger is to tell the truth, and challenge the behavior, but not in a way that is aggressive or creates resentment. The challenger wants to change the situation or behavior, but in a way that doesn't create a victim. It removes blame and speaks in facts and clarifies expectations. It requires you look beyond emotions and make an intentional decision to correct the issue.

Most of us don't do squats for fun. We don't say, "Oh, I have an extra five minutes. I should do some squats!" We do squats for the outcome. We do squats to have strong and shapely muscles. The same is true for these challenger conversations. We do it for the outcome, even if it feels uncomfortable. We have to create some tension for the sake of growth.

Here are some self-reflection questions you can use to move from a persecutor to a challenger.

  • What do I know for sure about this situation? What am I assuming to be true?

  • What else might be true?

  • What do I want?

  • How have I made my expectations clear?

  • How is the other party understanding what I want?

  • Do I have enough information to freak out?

  • Will freaking out help?

  • What, specifically, is making me upset?

  • What's the real challenge here for me?

  • If this situation was acceptable, what would that look like? How can I communicate that to the other party?

  • Where can I be more generous in my assumptions?

  • What am I feeling? How might I be responding based on that feeling?

  • How are my values and beliefs coming up?

If you are struggling with anger, impatience, and/or frustration in a situation, and find yourself stuck as a persecutor, schedule a free consultation to see if coaching can support you through the process!

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