Connection draws people together
Brené Brown defines connection as,
“the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
Comparison and judgement (of self and others) pushes people apart. We may judge others as being mean, bad, cruel, thoughtless. They are doing these things to us, presumably because we did something to deserve it. Suddenly, we are pushing ourselves away from others, distancing ourselves from the community.
Today’s tough question is:
Are you taking things personally?
Are you taking it personally when your kids misbehave and treat you with disrespect? What about when a friend lets you down or a relative doesn’t automatically include you?
When we start to take things personally (making something about us rather than about the actor or situation), we see ourselves as the victim and the other person as the villain. We are points in what Stephen Karpman called, the Drama Triangle.
There are three characters (points) on the Karpman Drama Triangle:
1. The Victim – who claims no responsibility: “Can you believe what that villain is doing to me. I can’t help it that I’m being mistreated!”
2. The Villain – who also claims little responsibility: “How can I help but pick on that person? She totally deserves it!”
3. The Hero – who claims responsibility for all involved: “I’ll look after the victim and the villain and help them work it all out.”
When we identify as the victim, we also separate ourselves from the villain and the bigger situation/community and find ourselves alone. For many, taking things personally and playing the victim is a role played multiple times in any day.
So how do we get off the Karpman Drama Triangle?
We take responsibility for ourselves and for our contribution to the negative situation. We take responsibility for communicating our needs and concerns to everyone involved and we recognize that we can’t change the other person but we can change the way we look at, respond to and remain involved in the situation.
This may mean asking for what we need from the other person in a relationship. It may mean clearly stating our expectations and consequences to our children. Perhaps it means choosing to leave a situation and find a community that honours your values.
We encourage you to watch for cue words that indicate you are taking things personally:
Can you believe she did that?
How can someone treat me that way?
What did I do to deserve that?
Discover your own cue words that indicate that you are on the Drama Triangle and ask yourself:
What do I need to do to help this situation?
How can I express my needs clearly?
When we take responsibility for our own behaviour and needs, we support ourselves and the others in the community. We build connection. We also model this behaviour for our children which increases the connection over all.