What Do You Want?May 05, 2022
Many men I have spoken with have suffered at some point with getting lost in the demands of their career, which has resulted in them losing sight of what's truly important to them.
Certainly in my own life the reason I lost sight of what was important to me was because I got caught up in the drama of life. Maybe you resonate with this - the drama is when we fall into the trap of having a problem orientation mindset and react to the anxiety that arises when we focus on what we don’t want or don’t like.
"I limit my own opportunity of enjoying other aspects of my life away from work because I'm always focused at the things that frustrate me."
We often revert to some common assumptions that perpetuate our situation:
- Things will be better if I can change that person or situation.
- I need to sacrifice my needs to be a good friend, partner or colleague.
- I need to do things myself to make sure they are done properly.
- We default to surprisingly predictable roles and recurrent scripts in our life, with predictable set backs and problems.
- It’s not enough to know “I know how dysfunctional this is" but don’t know what to do about it.
- You will always remain frustrated and drained as a rescuer or "life saver" in life until you move yourself into a place of empowerment. People won't change until you do.
"I feel it's a 24/7 job and I need to say I'll do whatever, ask whatever of me I'll do anything. My promotion was at first a massive high and then the pressures of working abroad with a new born became so great that I completely lost myself in work. I just couldn't stop and it became very very mental because I couldn't switch off anymore, I was so deep down in the system that everyones problem I made my own problem."
Action Step - Developing Awareness
Without developing awareness we continue these frustrating and draining ways. To break these patterns we can introduce the idea of Metacognition. Put simply, this is “thinking about thinking” or “knowing about knowing” and it’s one of the most powerful forms of self-monitoring and self-regulation. It’s being aware of your own awareness so you can determine the best strategies for learning and problem-solving, as well as when to apply them. Using this concept in an applied way is very easy and one powerful way is to begin to witness the roles we take on in our day to day.
When we are in "drama" we step into three primary “roles” or patterns of destructive and reactive behaviour otherwise called The Drama Triangle. First described by Dr. Stephen Karpman in the late 1960’s, the Drama Triangle roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer vividly describe the most common ways we human beings relate to ourselves and each other.
"I just couldn't stop and it became very very mental because I couldn't switch off anymore."
The primary role is that of a Victim, this is when we feel powerless over the situation and often give up on what we want. We may step back, disengage, complain, or say, consciously or unconsciously, “poor me.”
- Thoughts: It's not my fault, my dream isn't possible.
- Feelings: Helpless, hopeless, discounted.
- Behaviours: Reacts to problems, distance ourselves, give up, little energy for forward action.
Persecutor (Putting down)
"I was so deep down in the system that everyones problem I made my own problem."
The second role is that of a Persecutor which, while often a person, it can be a condition (e.g. health) or a situation (e.g. COVID)—anyone or anything that causes the Victim to feel powerless or hopeless. When we “play” the role of Persecutor we blame the Victim and try to control and manage the situation. When in the Persecuting role we often say, “Who caused this problem?” or “Who is to blame here?” When this conflict occurs, the Rescuer emerges.
- Thoughts: I am right, I know best.
- Feelings: On guard & defensive, may lash out, self-righteous.
- Behaviours: Dominates and controls, critical and blames, exerts authority/power over others (covertly or overtly).
"I feel it's a 24/7 job and I need to say I'll do whatever, ask whatever of me I'll do anything."
When we are in Rescuer we try to repair the conflict, by being helpful and pleasing, hoping to alleviate the suffering of the Victim by either “fixing” them or the situation. We think we are helping the situation when actually we are, unintentionally, adding energy to the dance of the drama.
- Thoughts: If I do good I'll be worthy, I feel sorry for them (victim).
- Feelings: Fears not being needed/good enough, doesn't accept help,
- Behaviours: Jumps in to save the day, fosters dependancy and indispensability, may sacrifice truth to "protect" others.
We shift in and out of all three roles, sometimes at lightning speed, racing around the very dynamic and reactive Drama Triangle roles. The result is that we feel trapped in frustration and often feel victimised by the situation.
These roles over time become outdated and limiting. They are not necessarily “bad”—they simply limit our effectiveness and prevent more creative ways to work with life’s challenges. By recognising these patterns when they arise, we can observe them in action and choose a more empowering way to think, relate, and take action.
My primary default role is to be a rescuer and to people please. At the heart of this for me is the need to be liked. Knowing this about myself puts me back in a place of choice and empowerment, because I am aware of when I'm engaging in actions that are not beneficial in the long term for me or the people involved.
- Where am I putting my focus? Am I focusing on problems or outcomes? A problem focus engages the victim orientation. When you focus on a creator orientation, you focus on outcomes.
- How am I relating? Am I producing or perpetuating drama, or am I empowering others and myself to be more resourceful, resilient or innovative?
- What actions am I taking? Am I merely reacting to the problems of the moment or am I creating by taking baby steps - including the problems of solving - inservice of the ideal outcome?
Reconnecting to your dreams and desires, and acting toward those outcomes, shifts your mindset for what you don’t want to what you do want. When this shift in focus occurs, something amazing happens. You feel inspired and capable to live a life of choice and empowerment.
This series is aimed at addressing key issues and offering solutions based on The Lost to Liberated Blueprint. If you're interested in joining our next cohort (w/c 23rd May 2022) then book a call. I'd love to learn more about where you’re at, where you want to get to and if I can help to bridge that gap.