How to be a protector (of the community)

First, before we can get into this, read about The Karpman Drama Triangle.

In the following scenarios, P is acting as a protector. V is acting as a victim.┬áThis dynamic often prevents healing, learning, and growth. It damages both the victim and the alleged ‘abuser’ (A).

self interested “protector”
(what some victims are purposely playing toward to get closer to their target, consciously or not)

V: Hey I’m feeling shitty I need a safe space.
P: I’m here for you, tell me what happened.
V: X happened, (A) did this thing that scared/hurt/bothered me.
P: That is TERRIBLE! You must feel outraged/extra hurt, and are totally validated for feeling this way.
In fact, you should feel even WORSE than you already do! We can’t stand for this. Here, let me give you a hug.
V: crying in hug
P: You’re going to need some time to heal from this.
V: I just want to not hurt anymore
P: Lets go somewhere more private, maybe you need some space from (A). In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you want to block them from all contact and tell them to stay away from you for a while.
V: ok
P: Also, if you need to just cry, I can be here for you.

Effects: (P) and (V) are now closer, (A) has been excluded socially and doesn’t realize it, which may lead him to behave in ways that others don’t accept again in the future, because he’s excluded without realizing it – and such behavior would normally be accepted as valid to any stranger coming into the group, but is now seen as bad coming from him, and pushes him further outside the circle of acceptance, and increases his “unacceptable” behavior. Also, the person actually feels WORSE than they did before this ‘protection’ because the protector encouraged them to cry and wallow in their fear instead of confront and overcome it.

Imagine instead if one sought to protect the COMMUNITY.
Think of the spirit of Ohana

protector of community

V: Hey I’m feeling shitty I need a safe space.
P: I’m here for you if you need to talk.
(note to protector: a strong person might just need time to confront this person themselves, and wouldn’t tell anyone before talking to the person. If someone you aren’t close to is telling you something, it’s likely because they are trying to illicit your empathy and get closer to you so can enjoy your social circles, affection, whatever. It’s totally possible they need someone and nobody else is around, but be aware)
V: X happened, (A) did this thing that scared/hurt/bothered me.
P: Did you feel that way during X, or after thinking about it or talking to anyone about it? And does (A) know how you’re feeling?
V: I’m not sure
P: I know you are strong and can overcome this and find happiness, and it’s my goal to help you get there as soon as possible. I want you to know that if you can’t tell them yourself that you’re hurting and why, I can do that for you, but someone needs to tell them so they don’t do this again. Ideally you would have told them yourself first before telling me, but I’m obligated to protect the community, so I’m going to need to tell them what you told me, because I don’t foster gossip and don’t want this event to divide our community in any way. I’m not going to speak of this to other people before one of us talks to this person, and I’d encourage you to do the same.
V: ok.
P: Would you like to take some time and then tell this person yourself, or would you like me to tell them? Ideally, the sooner after the incident you tell them, the easier it will be to change their behavior (kind of like punishing a dog after he poops; kind of pointless to punish him the next day). The primary goal is to help you stop hurting, but we don’t want others to get hurt or confused in the process. Stand your ground with your feelings; even if you were in a compromised state emotionally, that your feelings are no less valid and the thing they did affected you and they have to own that, but you ALSO have to realize that the thing they did might not affect everyone else the same way so they have no idea it’s having this affect on you and it might not actually be ‘their fault’. If you don’t want to feel this way, ultimately, you’re the only one responsible for your feelings.
Also you will need to tell them that you told me – if you fear this might anger them, then I should accompany you when you tell them. The best way to protect our community is to not harbor secrets and misperceptions of each other, so lets all get on the same page and move forward with positivity.

Additionally, I can’t stress enough how important it is that you stand your ground and feel confident to let them know how you feel; however, be prepared for this to have an effect on their feelings as well. While they may not appear to be receiving what you’re saying in the moment, give them time to process, and re-engage again after some time passes until you feel like there is an understanding between you and you guys feel safe around each other again.

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