I was attracted to this little book because of the power of what I heard about it from coworkers: the idea of a counterpart to the "drama triangle" (w...moreI was attracted to this little book because of the power of what I heard about it from coworkers: the idea of a counterpart to the "drama triangle" (what I'd learned in social services as the "rescue triangle") where victim, persecutor, and rescuer roles are replaced with creator, coach/ co-creator, and challenger roles.The idea that "the opposite of victim is creator" deeply resonated with me as someone who's worked with survivors of violence for many years (and a survivor myself). I've noticed a deep connection between trauma--particularly dissociation-- and a disconnect with emotion/creativity. This is not the exact way Emerald talks about creation, but I think there's an applicable link. There's a reason why nonverbal, creative, and somatic approaches to healing are revealing themselves to be so powerful where talk therapy fails. There's a part of trauma that is beyond words, and the act of creation helps connect us to ourselves and others in a very life-affirming way.
I was leery of this for many reasons, including: a) suspicion that it was like "the secret," a neoliberal-cloaked-in-new-age kind of book which ignores systems in favor of entirely individualistic notions of victimization, something that tells you oppression is just the imagination of the oppressed; b) its writing style (I honestly expected Ted to turn out to be a wizard or ape, a la Ishmael--); c) its author and story's wisdom-imparter are both men, talking about "drama" (something traditionally associated with femininity) and possibly emphasizing logic/reason/mind over emotion/wisdom/body, a super-Cartesian, colonial, and patriarchal approach to determining meaning. I also didn't like the idea of a universal "human nature", especially one which situates humans as fundamentally flawed by virtue of our responses to trauma (fight, flight, or freeze). My understanding of these responses is actually strengths-based: we gauge the situation and flee if we can, fight if we can't flee, freeze (and dissociate) in order for our mind to leave when our body can't, appease as a way of harm reduction. I think our bodies and reactions are wise, not inherently corrupt.
While I think some of these feelings of skepticism are justified (this work is not particularly trauma-informed; it conflates physiological trauma reactions with belief systems; it doesn't fully address systems of violence, instead hyper-focusing on the individual; it suggests that fight/flight/freeze/[and the missing 'appease'] feelings cause action, completely ignoring the fact that belief systems translate feelings into actions, and more), I learned a lot from it.
I think this is a great tool, taken as one among others (rather than somehow equally useful in all situations). I think it can be especially helpful for people who've experienced victimization, are in a different place in their lives in terms of safety, and have healed enough to have perspective on their trauma (rather than being immersed in it).(less)