February 2022

Drama is perceived as exiting. It creates the false perception of ‘belonging’ – yet it is consuming and exhausting. 

In the 1960’s, Stephen Karpman developed the Drama Triangle – a simple yet effective tool to explain the different roles of Drama. It is a model of dysfunctional social interactions and illustrates a power game that involves three roles: 

As Victims (poor me) we feel victimised, trapped, helpless and hopeless. We think we are at the mercy of others and life. Unwilling to take responsibility of our actions and don’t have the power to change our lives.  

Rescuers (let me help you) have good intention and strive to ‘help’ other people. We fail to realise that by fixing Victims, we keep them dependent and neglect our own needs. 

Persecutors (It’s all your fault) blame and bully Victims and criticize the Rescuers, without giving any guidance or a solution to a problem. They are critical and good at finding fault.

Have you ever found yourself being painfully aware that you are stuck in a drama triangle and that you are part of the problem?  If you’re human, chances are you may see yourself (or be seen by others) as all three in different situations. 

Take a step back and observe yourself playing these roles; A victim, a rescuer, or a persecutor?  

To step out of the Drama Triangle, we must be mindful about what we do, why we do it, how we do it and whom we are doing it for.  

Awareness is the first step.  Here are some suggestions of ways to take responsibility and make a conscious choice to leave unhealthy situations:

  • Get clear on what is actually going on.  Whose business is this?  If it’s not yours, keep out.
  • Make a choice on how you want to respond. Speak less, listen more.  Observe,  but realise that not everything needs a reaction.
  • Decide on your way out of the triangle. Be clear on the impact of you leaving this situation, and communicate your intention and how you feel about the situation. 
  • Build a reputation for not participating in drama.

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