• Natalie Hartney, LPC NCC

From Persecutor to Challenger

It can be very difficult to think of ourselves as the persecutor in our little dance of dysfunction. I encourage you think carefully about this. Have you ever felt like it would just be easier if your partner would just do what you say? Have you ever thought (or said) that they were stupid, or useless? It can be difficult to acknowledge that sometimes we are the ones who are critical, who blame and point fingers. It can feel bad to accept that we are rigid and bossy at times. But owning our role in the Drama Triangle dance will help us to take the necessary steps for change. The challenge is to release our own self judgement while we do these explorations. Speaking with a counselor may help. 


Moving from Persecutor to Challenger can be a healing transformation. Think of the stress hormones pumping through you as your aggressive nature takes hold and you are in the persecutor role. Your muscles clench, and you feel like a tightly wound coil. You over invest in something where you have no control-it is a recipe for dissatisfaction! When we try to coerce another into doing what we want them to, or we belittle them when we take over, we diminish them as human beings, and in turn, we diminish ourselves. On the other hand, adopting the role of Challenger, you are in a position to empower. You are in a position to establish clear structure and through empowering, become empowered, a win-win!


One way to think of this shift is to imagine moving from an aggressive to an assertive stance. In the role of Challenger you will be called upon to clearly state boundaries, practice active listening while making expectations clear, and provide choices and consequences. Pretty structured, huh?  I strongly recommend Assertiveness Training to help you develop these skills.


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