But I didn't stop it. I let this Persecutor continue to disparage us and other people that we knew. Straight out of the Dreaded Drama Triangle, I took turns freezing, fleeing, pleasing and appeasing. And now I am angry. Why didn't I speak up? I could have said 'Whoa, that's nasty.' Or 'I hope you are just trying to be funny but I gotta say that from over here you sound really mean'. Or even just 'Stop.' But I didn't and now I am pacing the floor trying to find a way to soothe my wounded spirit.
What really, really, really bugs me is that this has been going on for years and no one, including me, has done anything about it. I am ashamed of my lack of backbone. I am angry at my willingness to let myself and someone I love be victimized. I am sad that no matter how well intentioned I am, I still don't do anything. And I know better. I teach the roles of The Empowerment Dynamic* where claiming our space as a Creator of our response to life is powerful. I know how to be a Coach and a Challenger. But knowing the way is not going the way. You can gather all the wisdom you can hold and still come to a dead halt in the face of the Dreaded Drama Triangle.
Regardless of what my friend believes, I know full well that bullies lack self-esteem and this one, just like all master Persecutors, is extremely skilled at identifying who they can pick on and get away with it. Just as our roles in the DDT are defined by the responses and action or lack thereof over the years, so has this person dug a deeper hold on theirs. We have clearly given them a free pass for years and clearly felt victimized every time.
So ... now what? What do I do to shift myself back to a Creator orientation so that I can get some sleep tonight? First, just writing this out has helped. Next, I am noticing how easily I get sucked into the DDT and move from feeling victimized to becoming a Persecutor myself. The DDT is seductive and I remember what I tell all my clients ... we all land in the DDT at some time or another. It's up to you how long you stay there. Awareness is powerful. But living fully requires not just being consciously aware but also consciously taking action.
So here I am and pausing long enough to take a few breaths and ask myself what I would say to a client. And right away, a new thought emerges. What if I saw this person as a Challenger to my way of being in the world? Yes, their behaviour clearly fits the Persecutor role AND if I let myself wonder about the possibility that this person is really in my life, at this time, to challenge me; to 'force' me to see where I let myself and others down, then I can begin to choose steps towards making changes. I have often held back to avoid confrontation or rejection. This Persecutor is energetically 'demanding' that I stop playing small; that I practice what I teach; that I use my voice to speak up and speak out. I so admire the quote from Elie Wiesel "I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
That's exactly what I did. I was silent. My job now, if I am to live with the integrity that SO matters to me, and to embody the empowering role of a Creator, is to speak up. I am scared to death of the consequences so I'll follow the TED* principles and just take Baby Steps. That's how you change your patterns. I'm ready.
Ms. Daryl Wood is the founder and heartfelt leader of the life-enhancing Women's Wisdom Retreats. She is also a published author and an empathetic, compassionate, Outcome-focused Coach. As a Certified TED* practitioner, she facilitates the Creating Extraordinary Outcomes in the Workplace for private groups and organizations. Visit www.darylwood.com and www.womenswisdomretreats.com for more information.