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Victim, Persecutor or Rescuer. Which one are you? (part 1- The Victim Role)

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Relationships. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.

We are all aware when something is not functioning right in our interactions with the others, but very few of us are aware of the role that we play in it.

Victims, dominators, saviors 

According to scientist Stephan Karpman’s Drama Triangle Theory, unless we act consciously, we always play the same roles in our relationships, roles that we have created early in our lives and that stick with us and affect the way we are handling human interaction.

The three main roles are:

  •       The Victim,
  •       The Persecutor-the person who forces the victim and pressures her and
  •       The Rescuer-the seemingly good person, the hero who saves the victim

So, you can now easily understand the classical story of the abusive man and the woman that endures physical and psychological violence without getting out of the destructive relationship, or even encourages it by keeping on coming back to the same abusive, self-degrading relationship dynamic.


In this article, we are going to talk a bit more about The Victim Role

What is a victim?

A victim is a person who:

  • Thinks is incapable of ruling his or hers own life.
  • Unconsciously looks for people more powerful than them to become her/his persecutor or rescuer
  • Lacks self confidence
  • Thinks their happiness depends on someone else
  • Looks for people or situations that create problems for him/her
  • Expects people to give them solutions to their problems
  • Lacks in self-worth and self-awareness

Victim characteristics

The victims, as the name also says it, cannot do anything to help themselves.

A victim is constantly heading toward disaster. Bad luck seems to be a constant in these people’s lives. They constantly get in trouble physically and psychically. At work they are persecuted, at home stockers seem to follow them around; they are the type to get very, very chronically sick but never do anything about it.

This type of pattern drives people to develop an eating disorder or just abuse their bodies and physic, while trying to convince you that they really would like to get out of it.

 Victim strategies

Instead, they never really get out of it and always come to you with the same problems as the week before, agreeing with your advice but never taking any action to get themselves out of their misery. If you choose to ignore it, they seem to get even deeper into trouble in order to attract the attention that they deserve.

Victim handling

 The victim believes that happiness can come only from the outside and therefore they are constantly developing tricks to attract the attention of those around them.

They believe that by becoming weaker and more vulnerable they are going to receive more love from those around them (a perfect example here is the case of anorexia victims that are transforming their bodies to be an exemplary of vulnerability) so they keep putting themselves in impossible positions in order to feel more special.

In the relationship with the persecutor…

 The victim in relationship to the persecutor considers the abuse as being her or his fault while at the same time taking it as a sign on involvement from the part of the persecutor. The persecutor makes the victim feel unworthy of anything else and the victim believes that the only one who can give them the love they need is actually the persecutor.

In the relationship with the rescuer…

 In relationship with the rescuer the victim becomes sure of the fact that the rescuer can do things better and is the only one responsible of solving her or his problems. In this relationship the victim can even turn into a type of persecutor for the rescuer as this one repeatedly fails to save the victim from her own daemons.

Threats and escalations

 Some of  the dangers that the victim is threatened by are pretty obvious for the common eye, nevertheless some of them are more subtle and may even go unrecognized as results of the victim pattern:

  • receiving severe physical abuse and sometimes even inflicted death
  • physical self- injuring
  • eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia
  • social exclusion and repulsion
  • drug abuse
  • depression and other psychological disorders.
  • suicide

For the persons that recognize themselves in this pattern. It is not too late to save yourselves. And yes, only you have the power. And furthermost, what is the worst for a victim to hear, is that no one else will be able to help you.

  Are you a victim? How can you escape it:

  • Acknowledge that the crises that you create are based on the fact that you want attention and love.
  • Acknowledge that making yourself seem weaker than you actually are is not the reality but only a trick that has helped you get by but also has brought you to the point where you are now.
  • Try to find out what makes you happy besides the attention and the love that you crave from the others and try to do something only for yourself-develop a talent, find something where you are special and focus on this instead of on the weaknesses that make you special.
  • Realize that what you are doing is an egoist behavior and try to do something and give back to the persons that are investing in you and are worried about you.
  • Try, at least in a first step, to change your victim role with the rescuer role, by you yourself helping others and realizing through this that your problems are not the hardest problems in the world and that there are other that need your experience and insight.
  • Let go of your persecutors and of your rescuers and force yourself to keep on handling for yourself.
  • Understand that pity and abuse are not love and that they will never give you what you need. Only loving and admiring yourself will do this.
  • Dream of what you can become and believe you can do it on your own.

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