Schizophrenia.com

Sz, Rescuing, Persecuting & Victimhood on the Karpman Drama Triangle

I was the president of a business with about 120 employees by day, as well as an addictions counselor / instructor by night back in 1994. I believed myself to be pretty competent and capable at both jobs when the major shareholder in the company decided to make a very severe left turn that threw most of us in upper management into a panic. Some were smart enough to find other employment; others – including myself – elected to stay and put up a fight for what seemed to us to be the right thing to do. Over the course of about eight months, we lost that (extremely nasty) battle. Some – including myself – paid a substantial price. (One drank herself to death. Literally.)

Having lost a lost of sleep, as well as being in a state of constant fight or flight, I caved into freak and fry, throwing my autonomic nervous system so far out of balance into severe PTSD that it triggered my already bipolar brain and borderline-organized (see http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/articles/kernberg’s-borderline-conditions-and-pathological-narcissism) mind into florid psychosis and relentless panic. I felt utterly helpless and did what most people do in a culture organized to operate inside a box limited to only three possible roles: I played Victim, Rescuer and Persecutor. (I didn’t know anything about the Karpman Drama Triangle then; I do now, however. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karpman_drama_triangle.)

My family of origin had conditioned me to play the principle roles of Rescuer (responsible for my parents’ emotional states required to “save” them from frustration, anxiety or grief even though I was a small child), and Victim (agreeing to be their scapegoat and the receptacle for their unconscious, interpersonal frustration and culturally unacceptable, repressed rage toward each other)… while they played Rescuer here (to keep me in the game) and Persecutor there. (If I tried to imitate my abusers and play Persecutor, I was summarily beaten into submission.) This made my family little different from most others with an only child in mid-20th century America.

So, I grew up with a nice case of learned helplessness (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learned_helplessness) and normalization (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normalization_(sociology) ) and spent much of my life looking for Rescuers to fix me, as well as Victims to Rescue (so I could feel competent and capable) and to Persecute when they wouldn’t do for me what my parents demanded I do for them: protect them from their emotions.

Fast forward to 1994: I was as “fritzed,” confused and panic-stricken as almost anyone I have thus far observed on this forum over the past five and one-half months. I was desperate to get back up out the black hole I was in. “Give Me a Pill, gawdammit!” So they did. (It was the wrong pill, as were the next dozen plus, thereafter, but that’s another story.) I kept looking for the solution in a bottle because that is what I had been taught to do by The (cultural) Powers That Be, even though I “knew better,” even then, as the result of three years of addiction school.

After eight months in hell, I “recovered” in 1995 (I thought). But after four more psychotic breaks (over a total that reached 32 months by 2003), I was finally sick and tired of being sick and tired. And absolutely determined that I was never going back to hell again if I could do anything about it. By that time, I had managed to cobble together several more years of schooling in human behavior. But I recognized in '03 that all I had done was collect a lot of data and techniques to Rescue other (paying) Victims without using them on or for myself. So I went back for another three years, this time to Rescue me.

And I began to make use of what I learned, a part of which was over 30 research-proven psychotherapies. Not just from reading books or hearing lectures, but from hands-on use with myself as well as scores of patients. One acquires a lot of understanding from such an experience. Not the least of which is that most psychotic and semi-psychotic (“borderline”) patients one will encounter (in any setting other than voluntary and very desperate commitment to treatment) will play Victim and Persecutor to the therapist’s Rescuer and Victim. They will even attempt to play Rescuer to the therapist’s Victim on occasion.

Most will subconsciously demand that the therapist (and med prescriber) Rescue them with magic potions of explanation, technique and pharmacy which the patient will somehow ingest in a moment and suddenly become “well.” Most (not all) of them will see psychotherapy as “too much work for me, for I am too weak, sick, hopeless and helpless to do what you ask; you must feed me The Solution in a baby bottle because I am, after all, still the baby my parents never cared for… even though I will never admit that to anyone (including myself) lest they abuse me further.”

Believe me, I appreciate why patients do what they do. I had (subconsciously) believed the same exact ■■■■■■■■ from 1994 to 2003. I not only stayed sick; I got worse. On medications.

I came to this forum thinking that perhaps things would be different in an en vitro environment where the Victims at least observed to notice to recognize to acknowledge to accept and own their diagnoses and at least some of the implications of it. I gave my mind room for doubt, however, owing to what I had seen en vivo in psych hospitals and clinics.

Some here push back against what they see as Rescuing and Persecution because their Victimhood is (understandably) intolerable to them. The authority and educated certainty of mental health professionals are often unconsciously seen as painful reminders of the parents, grandparents and older siblings who covertly Rescued and overtly Persecuted them when they were too little to be anything but Victims. Victims, scapegoats and receptacles for the psychopatholical contagion – and even outright (if subtle) sadism – in the sick, dominance-and-submission dynamics their own families.

I had to find out for myself that the Pill is not The Solution. The Pill is not the Rescuer. The Pill is merely the means of becoming just emotionally stable enough to be able to dig into the causes and conditions in the patient’s family that cultivated the genetics that were lying there dormant. One is welcome to believe – as I did for many years – that sz is wholly or largely genetic. One is welcome to believe that parents and/or other family members (or family member surrogates, including spouses and lovers) are required to be good Rescuers will carry the patient Victim on their backs without Persecuting the patient. (See if that works.)

One can believe all that, but one may have to deny reality – just as the sz pt has learned to do from experience dating back to birth – to maintain the painful fiction of his or her learned helpless Victimhood.

Just as I did from 1994 to 2003 in a living hell.

1 Like

You are aware that most people aren’t on the same intellectual level as you?

Maybe dumb it down a bit because alot of the stuff that you post just fly’s right over our heads…,im just saying …

Excellent post on rational acceptance vs. irrational dependence. I like your observation on how medication plays the role of rescuer in many lives.

Glad you’re feeling well enough to write all of this stuff down. Its isn’t easy.
This might serve as an inspiration for those of us that feel helpless, not to flatter you but it’s a point to be made.
It is important to want to be healthy.

Believe me, I get it that those who don’t want to understand will blame those who do for not explaining it all to them… and Rescuing them. :sunglasses:

Ignorance is no excuse

im in a comunity where pedophilia is the norm