Are you struggling with any painful relationships? Do you ever feel like certain ones seem to play out in a repetitive cycle?
There are always stories behind painful relationships. I want to share with you ‘Karmpan’s Drama Triangle’ a simple yet deeply profound way of looking at the roles we play in relationship dynamics.
Seen from this point of view people find themselves shifting and detaching quickly. It makes it easier for us to change and softens the hurt of watching others play out their painful stories.

Life is about relationship. Relationship with others, with our self, even with things. If these relationships are laced with drama, life can become painful and very difficult.

How can we influence others? How can we be at ease with others being who they are? Do we provoke? Are we being accused? Do we try to keep the peace?

There are so many ways of recognising how we interact with those around us. Whether your relationship is personal, professional, intimate, family, friend, neighbour….. this ‘Drama Triangle’ is a very simple map that can help you navigate the complexities of how we behave.

Use it to interrupt painful interactions, empower yourself and those around you. Turn the page and finish the chapter on those old painful relationship stories.

This Drama triangle is a simple way of mapping out and representing the roles played within relationship interactions.  These roles are interchangeable. Meaning we all flit from the victim one minute to persecuting the next, rescuing in the blink of an eye, nothing is fixed!  Some people can fall into one of the roles and linger in it, for quite some time.

Please note the word, ‘Drama ‘ in this interaction triangle. This is because the Victim is not intended to represent an actual victim, just someone feeling or acting like a victim. Allow this to help you interpret meanings for the persecutor and rescuer yourself.

  • The Victim
    The Victim’s stance is “Poor me!” They feel victimised, oppressed, helpless, hopeless, powerless, ashamed. They are unable to make decisions, solve problems, take pleasure in life, or achieve insight. If the victim is not being persecuted they will seek out a Persecutor and also a Rescuer. It’s the latter who will save the day but at the same times perpetuates the Victim’s negative feelings.
  • The Rescuer
    The rescuer’s line is “Let me help you.” A classic enabler. The Rescuer feels guilty if they don’t help. Yet their rescuing has negative effects: It keeps the Victim dependent on them or others and gives the Victim permission to fail. The rewards derived from this rescue role are quite cunning. They will often talk about how they did this, did that, for so & so. And this is all a beautiful unconscious way to help avoid and ignore their own anxieties, issues, struggles. This rescue role is pivotal because their actual primary interest is this avoidance of their own problems disguised as concern for others needs.
  • The Persecutor
    The Persecutor (a.k.a. Villain) insists, “It’s all your fault.” They are controlling, blaming, critical, oppressive, angry, authoritarian, rigid, and superior.  “Boooooo” 😆 They are the ones pointing the finger, blaming others, shirking responsibility. In the grander scheme of things blame always leads to disempowerment.

All positions come from the seeking of approval. Any positions are the root of painful relationship stories and all;

  • cause pain
  • Come from denied pain
  • Perpetuate lies and unhealthy secrets
  • Come from a sense of shame and cause shame
  • Come from feelings of unworthiness
  • Are about a loss of personal power, therefore disempowered 
  • Perpetuate guilt and a sick sense of love
  • Keep people caught in dysfunctional behaviour
  • Are passed down to the next generation of children
Drama triangle with nic wood

C – Congruence, compassion, conscious awareness, awakening. 

In any interaction with another the moment we recognise we are playing a role we interrupt the cycle. We can’t ‘play’ the role if we suddenly become the audience. And if you are not playing a role, then the other actors cant do theirs. It takes everyone to be able to put on a good show and the moment you notice your role, the show stops.

Yes it really is that simple to interrupt it. The gift is to be patient and know that we all fell back into the roles at some point. But we noticed again and again and again. Every interruption creates a weakening in the bonds. Persistence is key and the more we notice the easier it all becomes.  

There is nothing that needs to be done, just the act of awareness, the waking up of the unconscious ‘play’, interrupts and stops the cycle putting help to end the ongoing feeding of problems.  

If the roles seem difficult to extract from, seeking help is a great way to speed up the process. Not only does it allow your freedom sooner than later, it also infuses the deep foundation of self approval, self acceptance, love, compassion.

It’s a truly wonderful experience to observe life from a position of ease. I can help, this is my role as your observer in our sessions, helping you to help yourself detach from others naturally. With this comes choice, self awareness, responsibility, accountability and empowerment.

The only approval we have ever needed and will ever need comes from within.  

Need help cutting the ties to old painful relationships or their stories? Follow this guided audio for a little help.