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Emerald, David, The Power of TED * (*The Empowerment Dynamic), Updated 2009.

This one of those slim self-help books that use parables to make points. While I tend to not enjoy this genre, I have found Emerald’s book to be helpful in pointing a way out of the trap of victimhood.

Emerald starts with the work of Stephen Karpman, a psychotherapist who in the 1960s developed the “Drama Triangle” as a model describing human behavior. That Triangle describes roles that we tend to play or perceive when we think “everything happens to me.” Caught in that mode, you may see developments in terms of these roles:

  • The central role is that of Victim, in which you feel like other people or situations are acting against you, and you can’t do anything about it;
  • The next role, Persecutor, is the person or situation that you regard as the cause of your problems; and
  • The Rescuer is the white knight that you hope will come along to solve your problems or get you away from the situation.
When your orientation is that of a Victim, your focus is on the problems that dominate your work or life. That focus tends to give rise to anxiety, which may cause you to act out of fear. When you feel like a Victim you might perpetuate the Triangle by behaving towards others like a Persecutor or Rescuer.

One way to shift out of the Victim role is to pull your attention away from your problems and consciously focus on a vision or outcome that you want to achieve. When you make that shift, Emerald says, you will become a “Creator,” and at that point, I believe, you will be acting like a leader.
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