The simple act of asking for support or help can become a huge issue for anyone stuck in the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT). As recovering Rescuers, we (David & Donna) have both struggled with asking for help at times.
When we are stuck in the Rescuer role, we believe our job is to help others and to keep everything running smoothly. If we need help, there must be something wrong with us, because we didn’t solve everyone else’s problems.
When we struggle with asking for appropriate support, it is usually a cardinal sign that one or both of us are stuck in the Rescuer role. It’s not a pretty sight watching two Rescuers trying to “one-up” each other by being overly helpful, while not allowing the other to help. OMG—what drama!
We have also noticed that, when either or both of us are in the Persecutor role, it too, is difficult to ask for help, but for a different reason. If we ask for help, we may not like the answer or the feedback because it doesn’t fit the way we would control things. Instead, in the Persecutor role, we’d rather do things ourselves and make sure things get done “right.” This can breed micro-managing and an attitude of “going it alone.”
Even when feeling like a Victim, we often don’t like asking for support either. We’d rather wallow in our Victim thinking and avoid taking responsibility. Asking for help might signal we are ready to take responsibility for our choices—the last thing we want when stuck in the Victim role.
The unconscious need behind not asking for help may be different for each of the three DDT roles, but the pattern keeps all three roles in the reactive drama triangle.
Asking for support is not a sign of weakness and does not mean you are a Victim seeking a Rescuer. Connecting with someone to support you as a Coach or to support you in another way, as the Creator that you are, is actually an empowering move of strength.
In order to shift into TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)® roles of Creator, Challenger, and Coach, it is essential to first recognize the behavior that keeps you in the DDT. Observe when you resist asking for help. Do you:
- Assume that others should be able to read your mind and know what you need or want?
- Assume that you know what others are thinking and, therefore, there’s no reason to ask for their input or support?
- Criticize yourself or apologize for asking for help?
- Feel exhausted or isolated because you resist asking for support?
- Become angry or frustrated when others ask how they can support you?
Does one of these questions resonate with you more than others? If so, stay with the emotion that surfaces and see if you can access the unconscious story that may keep you from asking for support.
Another consequence of not asking for help or support is that you may not see yourself as a collaborator on equal footing with others. This keeps you separate and unable to live and work with others as Co-Creators. It also may indicate an underlying assumption that you must do everything yourself, which keeps you disconnected and will eventually drain your inspiration and passion.
We invite you to take note of when you resist asking for (and receiving) help from others. When you notice your resistance, experiment with asking for support in an area that isn’t threatening to you.
We are all partners in the creating process. Asking for help and supporting others, when appropriate, connects us as Co-Creators.