The victim triangle* is a very common structure in families. Either you were born into this or it doesn’t exist in your family. If you were, it will follow you wherever you go in life, until you become aware of it and heal it.

In the victim triangle there is at least one victim, one helper and one perpetrator. Without a perpetrator there can be no victim and no helper, and vice versa. They are all dependent on each other, which is why this is so hard to get out of.

If you were the victim or the helper in your family and you try to leave the triangle, the other ones will make you the perpetrator, because you are threatening their comfort zone.

This also explains how we can jump around in the triangle – we might think that we have left the triangle because we stopped being a victim, when in fact we are now the helper, looking for other victims instead.

This is what often happens in conflicts – two people are fighting about being the victim and are accusing each other of being the perpetrator, and seeking support from other helpers outside.

Even on an international level, this is a common structure. Some countries are “victims”, some are “helpers” and some are “perpetrators”. Media loves victims, and the news are often focused on finding this pattern/making us see the world through this lens.

What adds to this is that most fairytales are built around this structure – Little Red Riding Hood is first the helper of granny, then becomes the victim of the wolf. The wolf is first the perpetrator, then becomes the victim of the hunter. And so on. So this is ingrained in us from such an early age!

So what should you do if you are part of the victim triangle? The very first thing is to become aware of it. Look at your family and identify the different roles – who was/is the perpetrator, the victim, the helper? Even look at your ancestors! Look at your jobs – what roles have you had? Your colleagues? Your bosses? How do you react when you’re stressed? What part do you end up playing?

The next thing is to heal your own pattern. Either “I am a victim” or “I have to help everybody all the time”, or whatever your belief is. This isn’t done in a moment – it takes time to heal this kind of pattern, because it’s so tricky. You might have to heal it several times, while also working on your awareness of it.

Practise reacting in a different way from what you are used to takes time, because you actually need to develop a new personality. But it is absolutely possible to change this behavior! I was very much stuck in being the victim for more than 40 years. I was bullied all the way through school. I was the victim in the family. I was bullied at work. And I was the helper to so many people. And from time to time I was made the perpetrator as well… It took time and a lot of healing to change it, but I am no longer part of that structure. If I could change it – so can you ❤

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*You can find Dr. Karpman’s groundbreaking work on the Victim Triangle HERE