How do you know if the “Persecutor” is the role you slip into when one of your fears is triggered? Is this a role someone you love takes on? Is there any way to change that pattern?

In this episode, Nathan and Aaron answer all these questions and discuss very personally the thoughts and fears a “Persecutor” needs to recognize and overcome to get out of the Fear Triangle. Most importantly, they offer so much hope and practical advice from their own experiences.

In This Podcast


  • How to identify a “Persecutor”
  • Addressing the subconscious fears that trigger the protective behavior of this role
  • Becoming informed and self-aware is key in changing this pattern
  • If you are not a “Persecutor”, knowing what they need to feel secure can empower both parties

Identifying a Persecutor

  • Persecutors trust themselves above all others
  • They want to control others because of their past hurt
  • Abandonment and betrayal tend to produce persecutor types
  • A persecutor is mostly focused on himself and his own safety
  • Persecutors will isolate themselves if they feel they aren’t in control
  • They have no idea about their need for control
  • Persecutors will generally retreat and shift blame if they feel attacked

Becoming Aware

  • Persecutors need to understand their feelings on an intellectual level in order to deal with them effectively
  • Vulnerability is key: a persecutor must be open to understanding their own negative emotions without going into control mode

Addressing Fear

  • Once a persecutor knows and understands their feelings, they feel safe enough to start working their way out of the Triangle
  • Persecutors work best when they are given a specific plan to go forward, becoming more vulnerable and open
  • Persecutors need to “build a gate”: give others a way in without imposing control and let them safely into the persecutor’s house
  • Responsibility is crucial: persecutors need to take responsibility for their actions (how they negatively impact others) as a result of their fear and change their ways

Useful Links

  • Lynne Namka has some great writing on the Drama Triangle (we call it the Fear Triangle) on her website
  • Stephen Karpman’s Dreaded Drama Triangle Wikipedia page
  • PDF Overview of the Fear Triangle we created
  • Sign up for our free email course that will guide you through our process of facing fears and insecurities so that you can feel more comfortable in your own skin

Thanks for Listening!

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aaron potratz and nathan hawkins therapists standing smiling

Meet Nathan & Aaron

Nathan Hawkins and Aaron Potratz are both licensed therapists and clinical supervisors in the state of Oregon. They each own their own private group counseling practices and co-own a third group practice together. Nathan and Aaron have been in the field since 2004 and 2007, respectively, and have over 100,000 hours of therapy experience each. On their show, they discuss facing fears and common challenges from a therapist’s point of view, imparting wisdom and humanity to their viewers. Along the way, they hope to not only share their insights but bring some light-hearted entertainment to make the journey easier.

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