Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer Syndrome In My Marriage
I just received a pingback (a direct link from someone else’s website referring to one of my posts). What a huge gift that was for me.
I wrote a blog about the addiction cycle and how it worked in me and my life. The link back I received was a blog called There’s a Chip in my Heart who writes from the Al-Anon perspective. She had a blog about unmanageability. The blog was a huge eye opener for me for many reasons. She talked about Blame Shifting. What a huge concept that was for me to hear. That is exactly what I am living with.
My husband blames down the line to the first person who is there when things go wrong, unforseen, uncontrollable or too stressful. Guess who is first down the line? I get blamed for everything. He blame shifts so much that he can’t even see it. It all makes such perfect sense to him and his mind that he can’t see or hear anything wrong with his blaming me. It CAN”T be his fault, so it has to be blamed somewhere and if it has to be blamed somewhere than it makes only perfect sense that the one who he sees has all the control has to be blamed.
Her blog brought me to another blog that she quoted – Should I Stay or Should I Go? She is a doctor who talks about problems in marriages not necessarily about addiction. This blog talked about rescue marriages and it was like reading my history.
Every time someone asks me why I married my husband my answer is always that I thought I could love him whole. I didn’t know where, why or how he was broken but I knew he was an injured soul. I thought coming from an alcoholic background that I was also an injured soul. I thought love could heal us both. I knew he was an intelligent, kind and ambitious man, I thought with my love and support that he would blossom into his full potential.
Instead of blossoming, he shrunk.
The more he shrunk and became smaller and less than he was (the addiction stealing his soul, his confidence, his self-worth) the more I thought that I just needed to love more, give more, understand more. If I could only do it right then not only would he be healed so by osmosis, so would I.
This blog talked about the Karpman Drama Triangle theory from Stephen Carpman. That was another eye opener for me. It is another cycle that exists in my marriage.
The Karpman Drama triangle includes a Victim (My Husband), a Rescuer (Me) and a Persecutor. As I read this theory it occurred to me that the persecutor role in our relationship is the role that is always shifting and changing. I believe that the beginning of our marriage the persecutor was the addiction and the addict ego. It was a part of my husband that wanted to punish the world for all the wrongs that had been done to him. The more that I tried to rescue him, the more the addiction wanted to persecute me. It seemed that all the wrongs of the world could be traced back to me – attach the Blame Shifting Theory in here as well.
What is fascinating to me is that the Victim role also changes between my husband and I but the Rescuer role does not. We will take turns feeling like victims, blaming each other for what is wrong, we both persecute the other, the addiction or someone else.
But only I take on the role of the Rescuer. I am the one chasing him, wanting to heal him, wanting to make him, us and everything all better. It makes me appear like a control freak.
But in all honesty, I yearn to be rescued. I yearn for the fairy tale ending of Prince Charming sweeping me off my feet and taking me to a far away land where we can live happily ever after.
And I never get that feeling. Nobody is coming to rescue me.
It sets me up for resentment, unresolved feelings of doubting my self-worth (if nobody will rescue me, there must be something wrong with me). It sets me up for a whole host of my own destructive feelings.
No wonder our dance is so complicated. No wonder we are walking wounded.
I am left to wonder how the break this cycle. I believe it begins with healing the addiction and then healing us individually and our marriage.
I have stopped, as much as I am aware of, rescuing my husband. I catch myself when we are triggered and I can see fairly quickly in hindsight that I was back in that role. I am hoping the more that I catch it, the faster I will catch and the quicker that I can stop the action all together but I am aware that is a process that I can’t control.
I am wondering if I start rescuing myself, will that be just as destructive or will it be healing? Can I undo my part of this dance, this syndrome if I only concentrate on myself and healing myself, regardless of what I think he, our family, our marriage or anything else needs?
How can I do that and not be selfish and destructive like the addiction is?
This has been a huge eye-opening experience. I have just started to process the thoughts. I am waiting for an appointment for my own therapy to begin. I think I will take these insights and awareness to my therapist and see what she thinks.
In the meantime can I say how amazing these sharing of blogs, ideas, experiences has been for me. Without someone reading my messed up thoughts and connecting her thoughts and experiences to mine, I would never have been made aware of these cycles working in my life. I am truly grateful and awestruck by the power of sharing.