every affair, there is a triangle.
KARPMAN DRAMA TRIANGLE by the Transactional Analysis Bulletin
The Drama Triangle shows the dramatic roles that people act-out in daily life
that are unstable, unsatisfactory, repeated, emotionally competitive, and generate
misery and discomfort for both people, sooner or later.
switching that occurs between Persecutor - Rescuer - Victim
Generates the Drama and the painful feelings that occur when people have hidden
agendas, secrets, and then manipulate for dysfunctional personal advantage. The
Karpman Drama Triangle is a game played all too often in relationships. If this
game defines a pattern of your relationships with others, then you have serious
work to do.
The Purpose of The Victim, Rescuer,
Keeps responsibility out there.
2. There is a lack of internal conflict within
the individual. It's all created in others.
3. Players lack empathy, are very
self absorbed in their own role of the moment.
4. Patterns of game prevent
problem solving the drama rules.
5. Maintains bad boundaries.
The game provides identity and fills emptiness, because two people can jump around
in all three roles.
guy/Bad guy split thinking leads to drama. Drama obscures the real issues. People
are seduced by the false excitement the drama offers all style, no substance.
Manipulation is the core of the game. It creates confusion and upset, not solutions.
Victim, Rescuer has become a powerful cultural pastime. It is the core of all
the repetitious plots of soap operas. This game could be used to describe Bill,
Hillary, Monica, and Ken.
how it works: Lets suppose Bill was emotionally dependent on Hillary to
feel good about himself. Perhaps Hillary was persecuting him through emotional
distance because she lost the national health care bill and was licking her wounds
after the Arkansas State Troopers reported Bills philandering.
enters the White House, ripe for the role of Rescuer to Victim Bill. The beauty
of the game is that roles can be switched to enhance the drama.
example, Bill could rescue Monica by finding her attractive, while Monica feels
like a victim because shes a chubby girl no one would ever love. Enter Ken
Starr to play Persecutor in his own over-the-top style.
example could be O.J. He was accused of being the Persecutor and Nicole was the
Victim. One way to look at what O.J.s attorneys did is that they flipped
him from the Persecutor role to the Victim role. Then the Jury stepped in to play
game is what operates in many relationships. It is all style and no substance.
It has become a lifestyle for too many people. The game provides people with their
identity as Victim, Rescuer, or Persecutor. People generally favor one or two
of us in the helping professions (nurses, teachers, counselors) all begin with
favoring the Rescuer role. (So be sure to choose a therapist whos been a
client and seriously worked on issues in their own backyard. This means theyll
more clearly see who you really are instead of projecting their own issues onto
you.) Rescuers get caught up in enabling. They see themselves as good and have
to learn to back up. Doing too much for someone else is rationalized because "I
care so much." Rescuers are often unaware that pity and disrespect are the
fuel for this role. "I know what's best for you." is illustrated in
the mother's role in the movie "The Deep End." The reality is that backing
up from the rescuer role means learning that indifference can be a useful tool.
Wait and see if the person youre trying to rescue steps forward for themselves
or how they do it differently.
can be manipulative, particularly if they are operating on a "love me no
matter what" basis. Being loved no matter what is not something two honest
adults should expect from each other. After the age of 18, love me no matter what
should be hard to come by. Victims are trying to remain blameless. Remember an
unhappy relationship is always created by two people. Blame may be distributed
60/40 or 70/30, however it always takes two. The more blaming and finger pointing
someone does, the more fragile the point of view. Noise simply creates smoke and
mirrors, and it is less likely that an honest reality is being addressed. Elegant
truth is generally never I am good/You are bad, it is usually a more
complicated frame of reference. I did this part and you did this part
etc. Finding the bravery to look at your own part in creating problems can change
and transform your life. If you've been loving the victim role over many years
it is time to face the truth - it is a boring way of life. One key to interupting
this pattern would be to relocate your imagination, to find other ways of conducting
love the power of moving people around on the chess board of life. Brad Pitt in
Fight Club is an extreme example of this. Everything is win or lose, with very
little ability to be a part of a team. There is a desperate need to be right at
all costs and you can end up doubting yourself even about the facts of what happens.
in this drama triangle ultimately leads to a very boring life. Over and over again
the game is repeated, and there are never any solutions. Nobody grows as all the
players are very stuck in the cycle of repeating their tired lines, all for drama.
Guidelines for Playing VRP Roles|| |
to be a Grown Up |
drama and chaos|| |
deflecting, and blaming others|| |
facing painful situations |
excuses and instigating bad boundaries|| |
boundaries to have true respect for others|
damage that has been done and pretending it has nothing to do with you||
amends and recognizing consequences |
your illusions at all costs|| |
the courage to become more self aware|
yourself too much respect (narcissistic) or too little respect (martyrs) ||
both respect for others and yourself|
drama rule|| |
know whats best for both of us|| |
one has a market on truth-it always lies in between people |
doubt in the other person|| |
what hard truths the other person may have to teach you |
are there to be an audience|| |
what happens between people is unknown, not orchestrated |
in simple terms of Right/Wrong, Good/Bad|| |
others, which is a shell game that ends up hollow|| |
your heart and head together to be more emotionally honest with others|
to have it both ways|| |
the easy way|| |
the right thing to do is the hard thing to do|
Say what you mean, mean what you say. There is greater soul in honestly facing
painful situations. Look fearlessly within. The people you love the most are the
ones to risk more honesty with.
for Self & Others: Balance both. Take Responsibility. Learn boundaries. Have
empathy and self-protection. Do not be either too self effacing or too narcissistic.
Agreements That Work: Negotiation/middle ground leads to possibilities. More able
to handle complexity. There has to be room for both people's wants and agendas.
Solve problems together. References: therapyideas