Picture a scenario in a playground or in a jail where a large bulky kid beats up a small kid or a large honcho in a jail victimizes a relatively weak soul. Most of us can easily associate with this character and the term they are known by is Bully.
Bullies are one we either witness as a child or one some of us may have been victimized by.
In organizations as well we do face bullies but the behavior is not in the form of beating up somebody physically.
The Karpman TriangleÂ describes some habitual roles or positions that people tend to take up in a negative situation or while in conflict. This model suggests that each of us display unconsciously motivated behavioral patterns with the people whom we are in contact with. Â There is an unconscious belief/s that drives our behaviors or actions which causes or contributes to evoke a feeling. Â This feeling augments beliefs or perceptions about ourselves and others and how we fit in and how we are treated. Â Most of these beliefs or perceptions are negative. Â The model posts three habitual psychological roles. But research by some of the Coaching Institutes have added a fourth behavior.
The three roles are : Bully, Victim, Rescuer and the Fourth one being Seducer.Â How do you recognize people who display traits of each of the 4 categories
- BULLY – Outer Game – Intimidation, intentional personal attack,
Inner Game – Insecurity
Source of Power – control and power over others
What do they look for in their target – the radar is fear
2. VICTIM – Outer game – Pour Me syndrome or feeling overwhelmed almost all the time.
Inner game – conceptually afraid of one’s own ability
Source of Power – get others to do what they could do easily by themselves
What do they look for in their target – the radar is guilt and pity.
3. RESCUERÂ Â Outer Game – Hero ( superman or superwoman, “I’m the savior”)
Inner game – “You do need me” – sense of superiority. I’m better than you
Source of power – urge to do for others what they could do for themselves. Typical example could be ” I can help you with whatever you want, just do what I say”.
What do they look for in their target – hopelessness or helpless. As help is given confidence from their victim is taken away. The Rescuer wants the other person completely dependent on them.
4. SEDUCER – many of us in our various organizations or work life met this person in the form of a boss or a colleague
Outer Game – They use flattery. They are very articulate (Kiss Up & Kick Down strategy) and play political games
Inner Game – “I’m special”. “I’m God’s gift to Earth”. They are like Teflon In that nothing ever sticks to them in the way they play their games. They are in short stealth bullies and will use you as their rung in their ladder to where they want to get to.
Source of Power – ability to manipulate people and situations to their advantage.
What do they look for in their target – hope and fear. Â They find out what you hope for and what you fear and use that to achieve what they want.
Can these roles or behaviors be interchanged by a single person at different points in time. The answer is a resounding “Yes”. Please refer this linkÂ fromÂ Psychology Today.
As a Coach or even in day-to-day life we meet the four types of personality traits. So how do we handle these situations :-
- Recognize roles and behaviors as described above. Be aware and observe the interactions of these people and also determine if these are repetitive.Â Look behind the veil.
- Are you troubled by this situation? Could the situation be potentially damaging? If the answer is in the affirmative, then try to get out of the situation in a constructive way.
Each of us at various times do play some of these roles depending on the situation but the concern is when the drama traits become a dominant factor.
As Coaches, we do meet clients who may display some of these traits on a dominant basis. Some of the coaching techniques that can be used are
- appropriate use of questions for e.g. If a seducer says, ” I’ve heard so much about you and the way you overcome challenges has impressed me. So tell me your story.” A Coach’s Â response to such a situation could be Thank you, but this is your coaching session, so let’s keep this focused on you. If a victim were to say, “I don’t know if this will work for someone like me, I’m no good at doing these things. The Coach could ask, “How would you feel if we were to turn some of these around”
- the questions for some of these strategies can be to empower them or have them play different roles or take different chairs to express the different internal characters. This will enable them to develop an insight into their character and create self-awareness, empathize the different roles and initiate change.
Insecurity, feeling unwanted expressed in ways of helplessness or acting very busy or actingÂ as if they are the most important are traits which need to be addressed. Â It is important to realize or make people who display these behaviors consistently, realize the following
- Compete with yourself and improve yourself. Comparing with others only leads to agony.
- Be confident and trust yourself.
- Be a realist but have a positive attitude.
- Explore and try new challenges. Â Try to move out of your comfort zone.
- Self pity and negativity will not take you anywhere. Â Take responsibility for your thoughts and actions.
- Learn from the challenges in life and use them as a stepping stone
- You don’t increase your self-worth by putting someone else down.
- You attract what you are and who you are. Let your actions speak and empower your words.
Once you believe in yourself and see your soul as divine and precious, youâ€™ll automatically be converted to a being who can create miracles. ~ Wayne Dyer