There are so many ways that feelings wreck havoc on our lives. We feel we are entitled. We feel we are right.
We love to blame others instead of look at ourselves. We feel defensive. We feel sensitive. We feel self righteously
angry. The list of trouble making perspectives is really endless because it is wired into being human.
A kooky adherence to feelings is embedded in the infrastructure of manipulation & being manipulated. My favorite
theory of manipulation is The Karpman Drama Triangle which is composed of the three roles; victim, persecutor & rescuer.
All three of these roles are problematic because people get stuck in them.
If we perceive ourselves to be the victim then everything can end up being filtered through a all too constant sense of
helplessness & feeling overwhelmed.
If we are certain we are RIGHT. We can end up in the persecutor role determined to not listen to any other point of view.
If we try to be oh, so good & understanding then we often enable others to continue their problems by rescuing.
Psychotherapy is often about making distinctions. One of the main distinctions I use is reasonable & unreasonable. One
of my favorite quotes by Iris Murdock in The Good Apprentice talks about being “reasonably good & reasonably happy”.
People often tell me they want to be happy & that vague generalization does not sit well with me. How about reasonably
happy? I counter offer. I want to change our constitution to read “the pursuit of reasonable happiness.”
So if you are in a tricky situation ask yourself what’s reasonable & unreasonable about what you want? Then consider
what’s reasonable & unreasonable about the other person’s point of view? Doing this can help you build a bridge over
to someone else and create an opportunity for honest dialogue.
Our world is filled with self righteous parallel monologues that only lead to dead ends in relationships.
All partners can ask for something in either a supportive way or a nag/crappy way. This is another distinction that can
make a real difference. You can be more elegant and begin by acknowledging the other person’s point of view. ” I
know that you really hate Mexican food as much as I hate Diner food so can we make a deal where we do both so
it’s fair to both of us?
Another distinction that I favor is ordinary vs. extraordinary. Many mistakes are ordinary and don’t deserve a court
martial. Something may be icky or annoying but not tragic. Try to maintain perspective & notch back your feelings
to fit the situation.
So a victim recognizes that if they’ve been sexually abused in the past and don’t take ownership of their own sexuality
in the present then they allow the abuser to take too much from them.
I think our deadlocked Congress is the best example of people stuck in a persecutor role only against things with no
ability to compromise so growth can begin for our country.
So many parents rescue their addicted children & don’t learn the concept of enabling has to be tempered with distance
& detachment until their is a path of recovery established.
Feelings need to be tempered and reined in, not treated as though they are the 10 Commandments.