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The Victim in Conflict

My work in conflict coaching can often focus on the opportunity to bring awareness to the “I’m the victim here” mentality.  When we see ourselves as the “Victim” we become innocent and powerless.  The  “Victim” is someone who usually feels overwhelmed by their own sense of vulnerability, inadequacy or powerlessness, and tends not to take responsibility for themselves or their own power in their conflict situation. They may look for a “Hero” to take care of them and resolve the situation.  I’m always clear to parties that I’m not there to ‘fix’ anything or “do” anything to them, but to support them in their progress to resolution.

If we see ourselves as the “Victim”, the other party in the conflict becomes the “Villain’ or the adversary who is out to harm us.  In the book ‘The Joy of Conflict Resolution’ the author Gary Harper outlines this victim, villain, hero drama triangle in an effort to help us become aware of our situation and work to change our perspective.  Gary says “once we are aware of it, we can step back and acknowledge our place on the drama triangle and choose to view and approach our conflicts differently. We can see our adversary not as the villain, but as someone with whom we must work to identify and solve the problem. In doing so, we move beyond the drama triangle and towards resolution.”

In your next conflict situation, ask yourself the following questions to determine the limiting beliefs of your story and move you beyond the drama triangle.

  • Am I acting as the victim, villain or hero in the situation?
  • What is my motivation for acting the way I do?
  • Want do I need to do to move out of this drama triangle?
  • Am I looking for someone to be the hero and fix the situation?
  • Am I allowing the other person to take responsibility for themselves and their actions?
  • Who has the power? How do I know?
  • Am I owning my power positively and appropriately?
  • Am I using my power to take care of myself properly?

Am I using it to set my own boundaries and take responsibility for myself and my actions?

  • What boundaries do I need to set up?
  • Have I agreed to more than I want to do?
  • What action do I need to take to make sure that I deal with this in the best possible way so that it has the best possible outcome?


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