Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Freedom From The Drama Triangle Trap

The Karpman Drama Triangle is being played out on reality tv shows, in movie and tv programs and in everyday lives. Sometimes this triangle appears inverted with the Victim at the bottom but the dynamics remain the same. The result of getting stuck in this triangle either as a Victim, Rescuer or Persecutor is avoiding feeling and revealing your true feelings.

The way out of the triangle is to be honest about what and how you are feeling. Imagine another triangle with Truth at one corner, Honesty at the other and Warmth, Closeness and Connectedness at the top.

Instead of using a judging and blaming accusatory statement like, "You are so insensitive- how could you forget my birthday!" (Persecutor/Blamer) try using an "I" statement about your feelings. Example: "I felt hurt when you didn't call me on my birthday". The reaction you receive is less likely to be defensive and more likely to be empathetic. It allows the other person to let down their guard and respond with their true feelings. Then both can experience the satisfaction of closeness and warmth.

Digging through your own defensiveness and revealing the hurt or sadness underneath can be extremely liberating and frees you from the Karpman Triangle! Of course, this kind of vulnerable communication should be practiced with "safe", emotionally available people.

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children


Punch said...

I am so thankful for having seen Karpman Drama Triangle Chart. It really speaks to me and the path that I've been on. Thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

I will tell you its so prevelent today more than ever that this is modeled in media. I suppose it always has been, but with the proliferation of media and the constant bombardment of so many devices this need to separate from the NOISE and see clearly as shown by this triangle is even more paramount for me. --Sometimes I do this without awareness and wonder at my own misery- getting my needs met is so complicated when this triangle is in orperation. Awareness is the first step and safe environments the second. Thanks for reminding me of where the insanity resides.

kathy said...

If the Karpman Drama Triangle resonates with you, I highly encourage you to explore David Emerald's book, The Power of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic).

His website has information explaining that there is an escape from the drama triangle. His book explains how to start making that shift and change in your life by changing your perspective.

It has made such a difference for me. Let me know what you think.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, as the daughter of an alcoholic father, the book referenced above, The Power of TED* really helped me as well. I had not heard of the Drama Triangle before reading this book. It helped me recognize the toxic nature of the drama triangle roles (and how often I played them) but most importantly, it clearly illustrated simple baby steps that I could take every day to change my life by "choosing" my reactions (instead of simply "reacting"). I cannot recommend this book highly enough!!! The TED* triangle really illustrates how to get into the "functional" triangle in the original post.

Anonymous said...

FYI, for those of you who may not know, the "Karpman Triangle" was originally conceived by Diane Zimberoff and she allowed Karpman to use it in a publication..., she was never properly credited with its use and, therefore, our good man Karpman is a common thief.