The number one question that Doreen Virtue received after publishing “Assertiveness for Earth Angels, “ a book that I so love! It proved to be such an invaluable gem.
She addresses this in her latest book, “Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle: How to Break Free of Negativity and Drama. “
Quite interestingly — and synchronistically — I just finished reading this book, when I decided to go back to a comment that came from a reader a few days ago.
Her comment touched on a ‘sensitive’ topic for me.
No, I wasn’t triggered.
In fact, I’m thankful that coming up with my response to her comment peeled away yet another layer of the healing of my childhood wounds.
It also isn’t a ‘coincidence’ that she sent me her response at this time when I’m looking closely into my rescuer tendency that resulted from the trauma and abuse that I experienced during my childhood.
Her comment to my post entitled, “Releasing Unloving People, Places & Situations,” in part, reads:
“Because I have become better at accepting the transient nature of things, I find myself able to accept these losses and move on with the thought that new people will come in when the time is right. I must say, though, I still experience guilt sometimes when I have the desire to distance myself from certain family members.”
I totally understand and resonate with the feeling of guilt especially when it comes to family. It took a really long time for me to arrive at my decision to keep away from them to the point that I do not keep contact or have any relationship with any of them. To this day, though, admittedly, I’m still making peace with the decision as I certainly have my moments of guilt and doubt — still — albeit sporadically.
Breaking Free of Negativity and Drama with the Family
As I was reading “Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle: How to Break Free of Negativity and Drama,“ I was surprised — pleasantly, admittedly — when I read the section, “How to Be Yourself with Your Family Members.”
From what I’ve read mostly on-line, I know many of us are in the same predicament. I also know that deep in our hearts, we know what’s best for us, but it is the dictates of the outside world, of society that prevent us.
Doreen offered the following options that I’m quoting verbatim.
- Distancing yourself—You could move far away from them, and only visit via computer chats and every-other-year holiday get-togethers.
- Confrontation — Damn the torpedoes, because you’re going to tell your family members precisely what you think about them.
- Assertiveness — You express your feelings and thoughts in an assertive way (such as owning your feelings instead of blaming, and being calm, mature, and loving while talking).
- Family therapy — You and your family meet with a licensed psychotherapist to discuss and hopefully resolve your issues.
- Family divorce — You completely sever all contact. You never talk with or see any members of the family. Pros: You don’t have to worry about dealing with their conflicts in person. Cons: You may still deal with family conflicts internally, unless you undergo therapy, attend support groups, or take other action to heal from painful family issues. You may miss some of the family members who weren’t involved in the conflict. Again, there’s no right answer for everyone. Soul-searching, combined with support (such as a therapist or 12-step sponsor), can help you find answers to this challenging situation.
Please note that in her book, Doreen expounds on the pros and cons of the four other options. For the purpose of this post, I only included the ones for the ‘family divorce’ option.
Divorcing one’s family may not be for everybody. And I certainly am not advocating it to be.
All I’m saying is it is an option. And it can be for those who choose it. They can choose it if they deem it to be the healthiest and most loving for them and their family situation.
If they believe it is what will help them the most on their road to healing and recovery, then they certainly have the freedom and free will to make that choice — which was the case with me.
Getting Off (and On) the Drama Triangle
As I stayed true to my vow to heal myself, I took the brave step of relinquishing my rescuer/caretaker role in my family — particularly bowing out from being the caretaker of my brother when he had ruptured aneurysm in the brain.
It was a decision that, quite understandably, didn’t sit well with my family, especially my mother. How could I think of ‘abandoning’ her favorite child? She didn’t explicitly say that, but the writing was clearly written all over the wall.
And I had thought that doing so would have meant me fully relinquishing my rescuer role altogether.
I thought it would be the end of my rescuer tendency that was rooted in my abusive childhood and dysfunctional home. I thought by breaking away from my family I was fully breaking my rescuing pattern —once and for all.
Little did I know that it would only be the beginning. That it would be on-going. A life long journey…..as I’m realizing even more so now as I look into how it played out in my living situation here at Sugar Beach which I earlier wrote about here.
I’m realizing how I have been on the Karpman Drama Triangle more than off it. In fact, I found myself on it just this past weekend. Thankfully, I was able to get off it sooner than I have in the past.
It’s so much easier to learn something intellectually. Bringing the concept to our entire beingness and fully embodying it — that’s a whole different on-going process altogether! And I’m grateful that I was given such an opportunity with this recent incident.
As I’m peeling away yet another layer and finding ways on how to be off the triangle, I’m reminding myself to be gentle to and easy on myself. To focus on the times when I’m off rather than on it — and to celebrate it!
“Getting off the triangle is not something we do once and for all. We get on and off all the time. Understanding tools like Stephen Karpman’s victim triangle brings us a map. It shows us where we are in our relational life and where we’re headed. Studying this map helps us find the best route for getting off the triangle. Again, it’s a process, not a final destination.”
~ Lynne Forrest, “The Three Faces of Victim — An Overview of the Drama Triangle”
😀 ⭐ ❤ ⭐ 😀
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