To cope in everyday life and to meet unmet needs we can all be vulnerable to unhealthy and disempowering dynamics and patterns often learned in childhood. The drama or victim triangle was first conceived by Stephen Karpman MD as he mapped dramas and conflicts in relationships. Karpman identified the connection between personal responsibility and power in conflicts, and the unhealthy shifting roles individuals played.
This model portrays three roles:
- The Victim:The victim feels victimised, put down, powerless, dependant, ashamed, helpless, hopeless, ashamed, has a ‘poor me’ attitude and can guilt trip others. In this disempowered state the victim struggles to make decisions and solve problems in their lives or to engage in pleasurable activities. The victim can seek out a rescuer to save them and also seek out a Persecutor to justify their victimhood. The victim finds their safety in believing they are blameless.
- The Persecutor: The Persecutor feels it’s all the others fault. They are blaming, critical, authoritative, controlling, oppressive, dominant, rigid, superior and angry. They are often also known as the ‘villain’ or the bully and find their power by being right and entitled while tearing others down.
- The Rescuer: The Rescuer, also known as the considerate and selfless martyr is the white knight riding in to save the victim and fix their problems. By doing this their self esteem and self worth is boosted, they appease their fear of not being needed, avoid guilt and facing their fears and anxieties. The Rescuer enables and disempowers the victim and finds acceptance because they are ‘good’.
Which role do you most relate to?
Even though we are often very habituated and justified in one role we can easily switch very quickly between roles, eg the victim can suddenly lash out and become the persecutor, or the persecutor can suddenly collapse into the ‘poor me’ victim. The main ‘payoff’ in these roles is the avoidance of self responsibility and facing our underlying, often subconscious fearful beliefs and wounds. These roles are also a way to obtain power when one has lost their inner power and/or never learnt how to become self empowered.
We can play out this dynamic within ourselves also e.g. we can feel sorry for ourselves (victim), put ourselves down (persecutor) and/or become the martyr (rescuer). If this triad is playing out fully within or we are habituated into one role the world will mirror our inner world and attract the facets of the triangle proving our justified role.
There are three ingredients to begin to free oneself from these roles
- become aware of these roles
- desire to free oneself from them
- be willing to take responsibility for your fearful beliefs in the mind and personality and their consequent behaviours.
Then access appropriate professional and comapassionate support to heal the fears, wounds and trauma’s that leave one vulnerable to this unhealthy dynamic used as a means to somehow cope.
The good news is! We are able to turn the triangle upside down though. David Emerald offers The Empowerment Dynamic (TED).
The victim becomes the Creator .With intention a Creator focuses on desired outcome fuelled by passion to manifest what is desired.
The Persecutor becomes the Challenger who encourages a Creator to be responsible and accountable while fostering learning, action, and next steps. The Challenger consciously builds others up, instead of putting them down by belittling them.
The Rescuer becomes the Coach who supports the Creator with comapssion to develop their vision and action plan.
“Remember to foster these roles and qualities for yourself. Encourage yourself to develop your vision and plan, set an intention to create your heartfelt desire and take responsibilty to foster your next steps and growth. You can manifest what you truly desire.”
Please note: Trauma needs to be healed first because if challenged even by a healthy challenger it can trigger the nervous sysyem. If you have experienced trauma or abuse please access my blogs about the normal security system of the body and healing the effects of trauma. Even though unhealed trauma or abuse can play a role in being entangled in the victim triangle it is very important to access specific and approprite support for healing.
The Victim/Drama Triangle is an affect of ‘unhealedness’, not a cause, so it is important to heal at a causitive level wtih deep compassion for self. This in itself protects us from entering this disempowering dynamic. As we heal the often crippling effects of trauma, wounds and fearful beliefs we become more empowered and can eg receive healthy challenge to become more self aware and empowered, and/or be the healthy ‘challenger’ if guided by ones True Self to speak out and say ‘no’ to unhealthy or unloving behaviours without tilting into the role of the persecutor to do so.
For more information or to make an appointment contact Kate at Jesmry Counselling Ph: 02 60431232 Mobile: 0410046148 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org