Many years ago, I asked a fellow therapist what the one thing was that hallmarked the unhappy state of being many of us have come to label as codependency.
“It’s the Karpman Drama Triangle,” he said. “People rescue someone by doing something they don’t want to do, or it’s not their business to do. Then they get angry and persecute the person. Then they walk away, feeling like a victim. Again.”
A light went on in that moment. Like a gerbil on a wheel, I could see myself spinning around this triangle. I was regularly rescuing somebody, then getting angry, and ultimately feeling victimized by it all.
I was creating the pain and the drama in my life.
Over the years, I stopped rescuing alcoholics. Many of us have gotten off that painful wheel. We know we can’t control another person’s chemical dependency, depression, problems, or life. But we may have stepped off that wheel and gotten ourselves into another more subtle drama spin.
A friend recently cleaned out his entire house—closets, garage, drawers. He had to hire a truck to come and take everything away.
“I can’t believe everything I collected and hung onto,” he said. “Most of it was junk that I didn’t want in the first place. I guess that came from being poor and going without for so long. I convinced myself that if it was free or cheap, I’d better grab it and take it home.”
Many of us were survivors at one time. We either genuinely didn’t have a choice or convinced ourselves we didn’t. So we clung to whoever and whatever came along our path.
You may have survived what you went through, but you’re not a survivor anymore. There is no need to desperately cling to whatever comes along. You’re living now. You’re living fully and freely.
Choose what you want.
God, help me give myself permission to walk a path with heart.
From the desk of Melody Beattie
Originally posted December 14, 2014
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