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