Helping to resolve conflict that has been going on a while we can use a beautifully simple tool of Mr Steve Karpman’s, The drama Triangle
This Drama triangle is a simplistic way of mapping out and representing the roles played within human interactions that are intense and ongoing. These roles are interchangeable, one can flit from the victim one minute to persecuting the next, nothing is fixed. Note the name, ‘Drama Triangle’, therefore the Victim is not intended to represent an actual victim, but rather someone feeling or acting like a victim, use this to help you interpret meanings for the persecutor and rescuer. Also take heed of your internal dialogue, what role could you be playing in your head?
- The Victim: The Victim’s stance is “Poor me!” In conflict they feel victimised, helpless, hopeless, powerless, ashamed. They seem unable to make decisions, solve problems, to stand on their own two feet. They seek to remain blameless and struggle to take pleasure in life, or achieve insight.
- The Rescuer: (a.k.a placater) The rescuer’s line is “Let me help you.” They get caught enabling and allowing manipulation. The Rescuer also feels guilty if they don’t get involved. Yet their rescuing has negative effects: For example they keeps the Victim dependent on them and in ways give the Victim permission to fail. When they focus their energy on someone else, they then ignore their own problems. On a below conscious level their actual primary interest is avoiding their own problems by disguising it as concern for the victim’s needs. Clever!!! or not….
- The Persecutor: (a.k.a. blamer) The Persecutor in conflict insists, “It’s all your fault.” they are not wrong and can not be seen to be wrong. They are didactic in their thinking, this means its black or white, right or wrong, no in between. A persecutor can be controlling, blaming, critical, oppressive, angry, authoritarian, rigid, and superior.
All positions come from the seeking of approval and all
- cause pain
- are from denied pain
- Perpetuates lies and unhealthy secrets
- Come from a sense of shame and cause shame
- arise from feelings of unworthiness
- are about a loss of personal power
- perpetuate guilt and a sick sense of love
- keep people caught in dysfunctional behaviour
- are passed down to the next generation of children
C – Congruence, C – Conscious awareness, Awakening for the resolution of conflict
In any transaction the moment we recognise we are playing a role we can no longer do the role because we change to being an observer instead. This also means the other person can no longer play their role. If someone notices they are rescuing, and they stop, the victim can not play the role of a victim with out them. Imagine if it was a drama you were watching on stage, each role is vital to the other being able to act out theres. See the picture here? As one player falls so the drama triangle is interrupted and therefore the cyclical perpetuation ceases.
There is nothing that needs to be done, just the act of awareness, observing is key. You are waking up out of an unconscious role which interrupts and stops the cycle. Yes you may find yourself going in out of it, but the moment you learn what you’re doing you can not unlearn it. So as you begin noticing you will continue to notice and the more you notice the more your hard wiring your mind so it gets easier and easier.
The only approval we have ever needed and will ever need comes from within.