I was listening to a friend who has recently gone through a divorce expound on how her ex once again failed to step up and take responsibility. It reminded me of the Transactional Analysis Drama Triangle, which is tied to dysfunctional family relationships (a few posts back). We all choose a script in life on how we will behave if it gets us what we want. In this father’s case he only knew the victim role, she was the one rescuing him. As a parent, you cannot stay the victim all the time because who will play the rescuer for your child.
Read on to identify and understand your role in your own drama triangle.
The Drama Triangle
by Steve Karpman with Comments by Patty E. Fleener M.S.W.
Purpose: To promote the life script.
The roles of Persecutor, Rescuer and Victim are portrayed in psychological games.
Serves as a training ground for powerlessness.
Prevents psychological equality in relationships.
Will go on as long as someone is willing to be victimized.
Think if you will about a triangle. On each end are roles that we play in life. One is the persecutor, another is the victim and the last is the rescuer.
**If anyone in this triangle changes roles, the other two roles change as well.
1) PERSECUTOR – “It’s All Your Fault”
– Sets strict limits unnecessarily.
– Keeps Victim oppressed
– Is mobilized by anger
– Rigid, authoritative stance
– “Critical” Parent
TO GET OFF THIS TRIANGLE, MOVE TO CLEAR STRUCTURE
2) VICTIM – “Poor Me”
– Feels victimized, oppressed, helpless, hopeless, powerless, ashamed
– Looks for a Rescuer that will perpetuate their negative feelings.
– If stays in Victim position, will block self from making decisions, solving problems, pleasure and self-understanding.
– “Dejected” stance.
TO GET OFF THIS TRIANGLE, MOVE TO PROBLEM SOLVING
3) RESCUER – “Let Me Help You”
– Rescues when really doesn’t want to.
– Feels guilty if doesn’t rescue.
– Keeps victim dependent.
– Gives permission to fail.
– Expects to fail in rescue attempts.
– “Marshmallow” Parent
TO GET OFF THIS TRIANGLE, MOVE TO CLEAR NURTURING
SOURCE: SCRIPTS PEOPLE LIVE BY by Claude Steiner
BORN TO WIN by Muriel James
TAJ, Script Drama Analysis