The perpetual game

Christine McDougall
1 min readNov 29, 2022

A victim cries, poor me.

A persecutor yells, it is all your fault.

And a rescuer is endlessly looking for someone to help often sacrificing themselves in the process
This cycle of collective destruction was first described by Stephen Karpman in the 1960s.

The symbiotic relationship between the three roles is critical, ensuring the cycle stays animated.

Often we vacillate between the roles.

Victims assume powerlessness, blaming the persecutor. The rescuer jumps in to save the victim, often becoming a victim themselves in the process while also keeping the victim powerless and unable to help themselves. Persecutors love the blame game, avoiding responsibility or providing any form of long-term solution.

The game ends when we name it, and our roles within it.
Stop being a victim. Do not blame. And if rescuing is your gig, stop saving people that need to learn to save themselves.

Photo taken October 16th 2022

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Christine McDougall

Committed to supporting those in business who strive to leave the world better.