The Rescue: When HELPING is Actually HURTING

The individual personality is believed to be constructed from a matrix of variables, both physiological and energy, or cosmic elements.  Astrological and celestial factors as well as environmental factors help form the beautiful persona known as “who we are”.  Unfortunately, through trauma, pain, suffering, abuse and harsh environments, we also develop similar patterns, or groupings, called survival archetypes.

While there are twelve commonly recognized personality archetypes that dominate each person as delineated by Carl Jung, there are also different sub-types that lend to very specific experiences. These traits typically arise during childhood, when family dynamics tend to hedge the innate personality trait of an individual.  When the archetypes are aligned positively with our own understanding of them, we can begin to positively experience and tap into energies about others and ourselves that keep us safe and trekking upon our individuals journeys in a rich and fulfilling manner.

However, when we allow the archetypes to draw upon the negative, and to utilize fear and the unconscious mind to make decisions, we give them the power of

Under the FOUR distinct survival personality archetypes known as the Victim, the Saboteur, the Prostitute and the Inner Child, none appears to create the greatest potential for collateral damage than that of the “Victim”.

The Victim is really a learned pattern of survival based upon childhood experience and maybe even a dose of soul contract.  As an individual grows up, or begins adulting, they carry forward this survival archetype and its distinct traits.

Victims often create a sense of self-victimization through negative self-talk.  They inwardly feed themselves on criticisms about not being good enough or deserving.  Typically, they will hold themselves as being less valuable and less worthy than others, even if they do not express this externally.  Outward identifiers of a victim tend to be fairly clear in that they often BLAME and have a strong need to control.

Other distinguishing traits of a Victim are their love of other’s pity, sympathy and willingness to rescue them.  It tells us that we are NOT at fault and that we are being taken advantage of by others.

The victim holds a very HIGH risk potential for becoming caught up in what is known as the “Drama Triangle“, a well-known and repeatedly studied pattern model of social interactions and conflict responses, which typically develops from an initial response of being a Victim or a Persecutor.  From this initiation, others are “drawn in” under the other roles, adding in the ENABLER or Rescuer, sometimes shifting between two or more roles, thereby creating a trifecta of “drama”.  In general, a very stable couple can be completely destabilized by a third party.

Within this highly dysfunctional triangle, the most caustic and hidden relationship is the one between the Rescuer and the Victim, primarily the role of the Rescuer.

Before we delve any further, lets look at the THREE edges, or roles, of the drama triangle.

As a general rule, the Victim is often identified by the “poor me” scenario, revealing a life of being held down, oppressed, hopeless, shamed, sad and in general, being the helpless victims of perceivably harmful interactions.  They DENY having responsibility for the consequences they are in, while also DENYING being able to change circumstances.

They are, in their own mind, powerless.  They are victims.

Quite the opposite, the Persecutor is often identified by the “its YOUR fault” response, criticizing and blaming others (a victim) for ANYTHING they don’t like, don’t agree with or approve of. Persecutors are rigid, unyielding control-freaks who tend to use authoritative, angry and unpleasant tones, words and behaviors in responses to situations.  They have a tendency to regularly humiliate, make fun of, tease and even threaten anyone who does not fully hold their opinion in line.  These types are like to yell, raise their voice, especially in conflict or when explaining something they are against, or those with really loud voices who come across as yelling or mad.

They criticize, but are rarely able to help others solve problems and often cannot solve their own problems, except in extreme cases of self-isolation.

They are, in their own minds, above all, righteous and know everything.

The world is hard and mean … only the ruth­less sur­vive. I’ll be one of those.

The most deceitful of the three legs of the triangle is the Rescuer.  In fact, on the outside, the rescuer is often praised for doing “good deeds” but in reality, they feel a sense of guilty when they are not “saving” someone or helping someone.

This individual can be quite predatory in nature, using the plight of a victim to feed its selfish need.  The Rescuer is often deemed outwardly as a “HERO” or “HELPFUL”, but in reality is perpetuating the triangle into a continuous and toxic game.

Rescuers work to help others, typically NEEDING to help others in order to feel good about themselves in some aspect.  They will often neglect their own needs and own relationships, sacrificing the important things around them for their addiction to helping others.

Often described as enablers or having a co-dependency, this group requires a victim in order to rescue.  They use guilt (look at all I’ve done for you…..all I gave up) to hold their victim (I’m so depressed and no one will help me) hostage, perpetuating the codependency.

Lets look at the most common reflection of a rescue scenario:

It’s likely you know of relationships that include people who have found partners in need of rescuing-the rescue could have been from anything-unhappiness, financial chaos, substance abuse, depression, an abusive relationship, medical issues, or a past that left them wounded. Perhaps the rescuers you know intuitively recognized their partners’ core neediness or vulnerability, regardless of how well disguised that person’s weakness was at the beginning of their relationship.

When a Rescuer is without a victim to save, they actually FEEL GUILTY and less than, therefore will seek out another opportunity to be a savior.

These individuals are often fatigued and harried, constantly filling their lives with work and stress at the expense of themselves and their families.

It needs to be understood that those who are in the “Drama Triangle” often switch roles (they become Rescuer, Victim and Persecutor given different situations), however they remain in the triangle because the triangle meets their personal and UNCONSCIOUS unhealed needs, often from their past.

The misleading agenda of the Rescuer is often hidden behind control and manipulation.  They tend to carry the roles of mother hen, feeder of the strays, king of the broken, the savior, the general helper and nurturer of the weak, broken and despondent.  They are constantly looking for ways to FIX or HELP other’s out, and not necessarily for the one receiving the assistance!

Being a rescuer is an ADDICTION derived from their own unconscious need to be valued.

The Rescuer can be found in many roles, both public and family-oriented, such as volunteering at shelters and centers, careers that involve saving people, hosting/leading fundraisers, events of recognition (suicide, veterans, homeless etc.), taking on the role of the caregiver for elderly parents who need professional intervention, playing the “friend” mediator/counselor between couples in conflict, helping those who need to get on their feet and so many other roles.  The key element is that they actually sacrifice their OWN resources, and for married couples and families, the shared resources such as time, money and energy to “HELP”, which often ends up creating greater issues.  Moreover, the reality of the reward is almost non-existent in that the outcomes of being a savior or warrior for the weak and downtrodden are one sided and not reciprocated.

The Rescuer enables the destructive behaviors that a victim creates because he / she has a NEED (addiction) to be NEEDED.

Like stray cats, the victims don’t go away and the Rescuer continues to have a “job” that is esteemed and held up through social praise.

How to get out of the game?

The MOST IMMEDIATE and effective approach is for the Victim to simply take on the responsibility of their own plight, recognize they hold power to change their circumstances and to understand they can make the choices that will positively change their lives.  They NO LONGER NEED someone to save them, help them or do it for them.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily help the Rescuer.

Because the center of the drama triangle is the most balanced place to be, the solution for escaping also reside within its core.  There is responsibility (the healing for the victim), compassion (the healing for the persecutor) and compassion (the healing for the rescuer) in equal parts within the center.   When you hold CENTER, the drama cannot exist because you no longer need to SAVE someone, and the Victim will essentially back off or search for another Rescuer.

Taking a HARSH stance against someone we love can create a negative relationship, therefore we want to understand their poor choices and counter them with our own skills of enlightenment and awareness by simply holding space and remaining neutral.

The neutrality requires that we no longer look at the situation as being stronger or better and them being weaker or less, creating a ONE UP / ONE DOWN game.  When dealing with conflict in those who have personality disorders, it is even MORE important not to get dragged into a game of RIGHT/WRONG, CORRECT/INCORRECT, BETTER/WORSE, BLAME or ACCUSATION/DESERVING of a DEFENSE, MORE/LESS.

As a Rescuer, you must simply STOP fixing, helping and caretaking to keep peace, to help the other from being seen negatively (hiding toxic traits such as addiction or criminal activity), to try and save someone from their own caustic behaviors that have led to their consequences (obesity, self-inflicted disease, etc.).  Stopping means making a CHOICE TO STOP.  It isn’t something you ask others on how to do, you just STOP.

When you actively make the choice to stop saving and helping those who cannot be helped or saved, you break the cycle of drama.

Live life authentically and with healing energy.




Published by NikkiAlbertVasquez

Our passion is men's, women's and couple's wellness, from being strong and independent to conquering the roadblocks that hinder valuable goals. We are here for those who are READY for CHANGE, who are WILLING to make CHANGE and who are seeking support and guidance on their journey. As a couple, we have quickly grown into a powerful team, the Viking and the Apache, helping men and women discover their own strengths, heal themselves and bring light (knowledge) into the world. It is our mission to help others reclaim their power, integrity and truth so they can heal the world!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: