A Game of Triangles may sound like a game show or a Television series and sometimes it can feel rather surreal when well entrenched. This Game of Triangles though, is a relationship triangle. This emotional game is one we have been playing longer than we can remember. We inherited the behavior from our parents and found our place within the family unit. You see, most family structures are very familiar with a relationship triangle.
What is a Relationship Triangle?
The triangle has three roles attached to the dynamic. We enter the triangle as a Victim, but play the roles of Caretaker/Rescuer or Perpetrator interchangeably. This triangle is about relationships because it can’t be played alone. Another is needed for the dynamic to be played out.
It works on dependency. When we feel like a victim, we look for a caretaker or rescuer. To become a victim in the first place, we must find a perpetrator. Sometimes these people are real, other times imagined (as in a scenario played out in our minds). People can feel victimised by a government that hasn’t actually done anything ‘to’ them but because they feel threatened, they take on the role of victim.
But today, I’m going to focus more on the relationships we have with others that are close to us.
When we feel threatened, we automatically enter the triangle as a victim, now looking to find some security through one who feels sorry for us. This validates our position. We feel justified in feeling like a victim. Enter stage right, the caretaker or rescuer. This is vastly different from a caregiver who takes care of a disabled person for instance. A caretaker is there to rescue a victim so that they can feel better about themselves. In a caretaker’s eyes, it’s important that a victim feel better, because when they do, the caretaker also feels better. It’s easy to imagine this role as one of mother and child, except we play these roles forever, even when we’re fully grown.
Disadvantages of A Relationship Triangle
I’ve found that people tend to gravitate towards a familiar role, but all of these roles are interchangeable and none will empower a person to create their very best reality.
All of the roles in a triangle are disempowering. We never truly stand in our own power when another is propping us up or telling us what to do. That’s because words don’t teach, we learn by our experiences and the experiences of others (such as role models and anti-role models). It is the choices we make from the experiences we live that make us feel empowered in our own lives. When others make these choices for us, or they don’t allow us to make our own, or they ridicule the ones we choose, that’s when we feel disempowered. Our being shrinks and our light fades. We lose our enthusiasm for life.
How Do We Stop Playing A Game of Triangles?
The relationship triangle is one that we tend to gravitate towards because it’s familiar. When we were young, it was a safe role to fit into within the family unit. For instance, if it made our father angry to speak up for ourselves when we were young, we adopted the role of victim and sometimes caretaker, when our mother was feeling victimised. When we’re feeling weak, it props us up. It feels like a safe place to go, temporarily. But we’ll never feel our Universal Strength and Guidance when we rely on others to feel good. The relationship triangle is a learned behavior and not a God-given one.
The only way out of the relationship triangle is by being conscious of playing the game. I refer to it as a game, as it’s necessary to find a rescuer when we’re feeling like a victim. A person will also work hard to create a perpetrator when they want to feel like a victim. And all this takes place automatically. So it makes sense, that if we want to exit the game, we need to be aware of when we’re playing.
There is much to say about this topic and we use it in our workshops as it’s easier to illustrate than to use words. So, the solution is: when we find ourselves feeling disempowered and looking for another to prop us up and validate our choice, recognise that mood and make a decision to do it differently.
You see, nobody can ever make us feel like a victim. The choice is always ours. That’s not to say it’s easy to change patterns. But, it’s like creating any new pattern. The key is awareness and choice. Over and over again.
Is it Worth Severing a Relationship Triangle?
Absolutely. Feeling reliant on another for our emotional well-being is never an empowering option. Until the game ceases by choice, there is no freedom within. It’s not a natural pattern, it’s an adopted one, so we can create another one that serves our higher good, any time we want.
For more information see p.144 – 6 Dimensions of Healing
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Recently I was asked to write about something my parents taught me. I thought about that for a while and decided that they taught me they weren’t my best advocates. They weren’t my biggest fans. If I had an idea or opportunity, they weren’t the ones to cheer me on. It seems they weren’t a positive role model.
Role Model and Anti-Role Model
Now this may sound quite negative, but actually this is how all opportunities for growth begin. We have role models and we have what I call anti-role models. The difference between the two is that a role model inspires you to be like them and an anti-role model deters you from being like them. Both are crucial to your development.
We see Role Models in our society as being pivotal to our success. They are the ones that lift us from mediocrity by inspiring something better that stirs within. However, inspiration comes when you are in a mood that is close enough to reach it. So, if you are feeling angry, discouraged or even overwhelmed (check out the Mood Map), you are not likely to be in the vicinity of inspiration.
However, when you feel this way, you are very aligned with an Anti-Role Model. Someone who will bring you back down to Earth with a thud by reminding you of your shortcomings. It’s the ones we are closest to that become the instigators for change. These are the people we have grown up with. We have a level of respect for them, whether a parent or a boss, a friend or work colleague. When they demean or diminish you, they are your anti-role models. They bring emphasis to something that needs changing.
Discern Who Shares Your Dreams
For instance, someone not believing in your dreams or your abilities. It did take many years of feeling sorry for myself to get over this unfortunately, but everything happens in it’s own time. Eventually I decided that I needed to believe in myself. It was a scary proposition because there was nobody to catch me when I fell. No one to blame if it didn’t work out and nobody to talk it over with. But that wasn’t the end, it was only a stepping stone. It helped me look for strength and support. Not support from others but an inner connection. I found that when I felt good I was strong and felt supported. I began to discern who I could tell my ideas and share my dreams with and who I shouldn’t.
You see, dreams and ideas are fragile. They are in their infancy and need to be nurtured. It’s our job to protect them and give them the nourishment they need. In this case, their food is encouragement, excitement, enthusiasm, refinement. Share them only with people who will help nurture them. Keep them safe within until they are at a stage where they can no longer be contained. By then, they will be teenagers and want to test their environment. These dreams have been well fed and have now developed to a stage of believing in themselves. They still aren’t ready to take on the world but they are rapidly growing in strength. Let them grow.
It’s at this time your carefully nurtured dreams begin to develop momentum. As others are interested in what they’re about, more come and join their path. Likeminded people who help grow their journey.
Soon, the idea that was but an embryo is a full entity of its own.
Can One Person be both Role Model and Anti-Role Model
Mine all began with parents who pushed me away. Had they not have done this, I may still be looking for their approval. I might still be asking their permission and I may never have believed in myself. If that had happened, this idea could never have been birthed and the dream would not have become real.
Is it possible to have both role models and anti-role models in the same person? Yes it is. Because it’s often not the whole person you dislike, it’s the behavior. So a person can squash the hopes and dreams of a child (because they are afraid) and they can laugh and run and kick the ball with them, inspiring a close relationship.
How To Use Role Models
See your role models as providing patterns of behavior that you’d like to adopt. In that way, nobody has to live up to your expectations. Look for someone in your life that emulates the relationships you’d like and say to yourself “I’d like some of that”. Find someone different who parents in a way you admire and say “I’ll have some of that”. When you come across somebody who loves life, you can say “I’ll adopt some of that thank you”. In this way you are moving toward something you want, borrowing the best of humanity, rather than trying to push away something you don’t want.
You can never push against a thought hard enough for anything to leave your vibration because we live in an inclusive Universe. And that’s why clearing doesn’t work. The more attention you give something, the more you invite it in. So, by all means acknowledge your anti-role models and what you didn’t like. Gripe about what you’d rather not have picked up along the way and what you resent. Then, when you’re ready, build your bridge by using the inspiration of role models and walk over that bridge to something new and enjoyable. Imagine it, love it, immerse yourself in it and burn the bridge behind you.
Empower your Journey with
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Did you enter the New Year of 2019 with a big bang and a pocket full of intentions? You wouldn’t be on your own. Usually people set their New Year’s resolutions as a sort of wish list formed from past guilt.
For instance; the most common New Year resolutions are to get fit, lose weight, give up smoking or drinking and visit family more often. After a month or two, you berate yourself for not having followed through and after three months, you have forgotten all about having even made them.
That’s because they weren’t something you were committed to, they were just something you felt guilty about, so thought you should do. There’s a big difference between being feeling guilty and being committed.
Choose Something You Feel Passionate About
So for this New Year, I decided to let go of the resolutions altogether and my husband and I sat down on New Years Eve and made some commitments for the coming year ahead. Not very many. Actually there were only two. But these were something we felt passionate about, we could do together and felt excited to begin.
And that’s the secret to any resolution or commitment. The journey needs to feel inspired. It’s wonderful to feel motivated about the end result but it’s the journey that takes the longest time. So if you aren’t excited about the journey, you won’t even reach the destination.
We didn’t need to write down our roles. We’ve been together for 30 years now, so we know where each other’s strengths lie and Allan’s the ideas man, I’m the researcher and organiser and we both bring in different content. I’m the one who pulls it altogether and Allan will market the result. We respect what each other brings to the table and we both have our individual visions of how we want this to unravel.
This is the most excited I’ve felt about any resolutions in the past and I don’t feel any pressure from guilt to make this happen.
What are your New Year Commitments?
Do you know what you want to achieve this year? Did your resolutions support this goal? Or is it still a dream? (The Difference between a Dream, Goal and Desire) You will know when you are ready to move forward on your goals as you will feel excited about the next step and then the next.
But please don’t take action if you aren’t inspired to do so, as the road will be bumpy and difficult. This just means that you aren’t ready yet. If this is the case for you, then spend time pondering and imagining and refining the details of this dream until you do feel inspired to take action. Inevitably, when you do, the action will be more powerful, enjoyable and worth the wait.
Welcome to a brand New Year. A year of new beginnings, fun and laughter. If that’s what you want!
Oh and remember to pick up your copy of 6 Dimensions of Healing – Handbook here. It’s a new beginning to a new you.