As we inch toward the conclusion of our 2020 election, you might notice that your mindset has entered Karpman's Drama Triangle. (1) This concept is a social model of human interaction during a conflict. It recognizes that, in stressful situations, our mind will develop an inner narrative about the problem. In it, we will cast those involved, including ourselves, into one of three roles: heroes, villains, and victims.
Take a moment to self-reflect. Who did you cast in each role as you endured 2020 or waited for election results? Politicians? Parties? Friends? Family Members? Neighbors?
When you reflect upon your cast of characters, you probably feel justified. "There is evidence that the label fits," you might say. I'm not here to tell you that you're wrong. I'm merely saying that according to the theory, your label is incomplete.
Think about it this way. Due to your political leanings, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, at least one person in your orbit has recently given you one of those labels. Does the label fit? Is it complete? Probably not. Because, here's the truth: There are no villains; There are no victims; There are no heroes. There are just a whole lot of human beings walking around--each of us with a little villain, a little victim, and a little hero inside.
So when those who differ from you come onto your radar, lose the label. Instead, think of them the way you want them to think of you--as a person, a complex, multi-faceted human being.
United, we stand.
Want to learn more about the drama triangle? Check out this great article at joyofconflict.com.
(1) “Karpman Drama Triangle - Wikipedia.” Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 10 June 2015, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karpman_drama_triangle.
Are you feeling stress on the eve of American election day? Here's an exercise that can help you work through those feelings and create a safe inner space, no matter what's happening in the world around you.
“The Waiting is the Hardest Part” – Tom Petty, Song The Waiting
The first two weeks of sheltering in place were unsettling. Yet, there was much to do to occupy your mind. You had to stock up, be resourceful, move your outside life inside, and make new routines. Once settled, the waiting set in. As Tom Petty points out, it might be the hardest part.
Waiting leaves you to wonder how long this will go on. It makes you ache for normalcy, security, and connection. It can take things from you like a job, financial security or aspects of your identity. It rips away your projects and puts important things on hold. And it can leave you sick with worry.
By: Alison Ross, LMFT
Spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle is one of my favorite teachers during a crisis. His wise guidance, sense of humor and mindfulness teachings remind me that everything is ok inside, even if it's chaotic outside.
Last week Tolle addressed fears while dealing with coronavirus. He answered a difficult question from his audience:
“I am afraid I will get sick. Or someone I love will get sick. Or I will lose all my money in the stock market. How do I deal with the fear?”
Mister Rogers once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
There is so much information to access about coronavirus. But taking in too much is stressful and not good for the immune system. I’m balancing my need to know with my need for self-care by getting information from only a few trusted sources. To me, experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Sanjay Gupta who have knowledge, data, and experience are some of the biggest helpers and heroes. They help me keep things in perspective and navigate around speculation and rumor.
Hi. I’m Alison Ross, founder of Non-Dieting Health in Agoura Hills, California. I’m a licensed psychotherapist and neurofeedback practitioner specializing in eating and body image. My favorite things are my family, my dogs, yoga and working with my clients.