‘The Drama Triangle’
By Gregory Starbuck, Mar 19 2017 08:09PM
How often have you been in a conversation where you feel that there is constant conflict?
I’m thinking that the answer could be ‘Often’.
Have you been aware of the role you play in these conversations?
I recently became aware of a concept known as ‘The Drama Triangle’. Created by Stephen Karpman in the late 1960’s, the drama triangle theorises that when in conflict we typically occupy one of three roles. Persecutor, Rescuer, or Victim.
Placed at the points of an inverted triangle, the upper two points of the triangle are occupied by the ‘Persecutor’ and the ‘Rescuer’, whilst the lower point is occupied by the ‘Victim’. (note the roles are placed in quotes, as individuals shift in their roles)
Typically our ‘Victim’ is not an actual victim, rather the individual feeling or behaving like the ‘Victim’. They display traits of being oppressed, powerless, helpless and vulnerable, unable to make decisions or solve their own problems...
‘It’s not my fault!’
The ‘Persecutor’ displays traits of being controlling, critical, blaming and authoritative...
‘You’ve only got yourself to blame!’
The ‘Rescuer’ displays traits of enabling, feeling bad about themselves if they don’t help, but their actions only serve to keep the ‘Victim’ in their place, dependent and reliant on the ‘Rescuer’...
‘Let me do that for you!’
It’s an all around ‘No win’ for anyone. (and we can all change our role depending on what's going on)
So how do you break the cycle?
It should be simple, and as straightforward as ‘STOP!’, but it takes time to undo all that ‘go to’ behaviour that becomes second nature.
That’s where counselling can help. With balanced understanding and support you can learn to stop being the ‘Victim’, the ‘Persecutor’ or even the ‘Rescuer’.
Arrange an appointment with me and we can start to explore how to take the drama out of life…
And no, I’m not going to do it for you.