It’s a big week here at the LOVE LETTERS. Sit back, strap yourself down tight and take a deep cleansing breath, cause do I have some life changing, heart healing, info for you!
We are not having a geometry lesson today and yet, the topic is about TWO TRIANGLES! Two triangles that can radically transform ALL your relationships!
Before I push on, let me pause here for a moment to let you know that there is SO much written on this topic; loads of articles & books, courses and workshops, hundreds of hours of video, AND I’m going to break this down, quickly and hopefully quite succinctly in the space of a blog (no pressure, right??) Please view this LOVE LETTER as a possible breakthrough moment, where, after your head explodes, you run off to learn more!
In 1968 Stephen Karpman came up with a pivotal therapeutic tool called The Karpman Drama Triangle. Where did Karpman’s inspirations come from? Oh, you know all those fairy tales, with the Damsel in Distress, the Villain and the Knight on A White Horse? The ones that set up so many of us for disaster when it comes to love? YUP. Stephen Karpman saw right through that story line, for the dis-empowering, limiting shenanigans it really is, too!
In the Karpman Drama Triangle, the role of Damsel is called, THE VICTIM.
The role of the Villain? THE PERSECUTOR
And that Knight, who swoops in to save the day? THE RESCUER.
First thing you need to know… The drama triangle, is a trap.
Whether you are assuming the role of victim, persecutor or rescuer… it creates a ping ball machine effect within the points of this triangle where hope, dreams and love stay stuck, wither and die.
Though many of us have a particular role we tend to play best or most often, WE PLAY ALL THREE AND OFTEN ASSIGN ALL THREE TO OTHERS. WHEN WE ARE TRAPPED IN THE DRAMA TRIANGLE.
AND, NO MATTER WHERE WE START OUT, WE ALL END UP IN THE SAME FINAL ROLE.
Let’s talk about the points on the DRAMA TRIANGLE…
THE VICTIM – The feelings associated to this role are powerless and hopeless. We hear ourselves saying things like, “this always happens to me”, “dating sucks”, “my partner will never change”, “all the good ones are taken”, “There is nothing I can do to make this relationship work”, “modern dating is a shit show”, “Nothing I do matters” “There is no hope for someone like me”, “I’m never going to be in a healthy relationship”, etc...
THE RESCUER – The feelings associated with this role are condescending sympathy, control, and people pleasing. The Rescuer takes on other people’s problems, often unsolicited and usually without taking very good care of their own problems and life first. They step in to fix/sort it for the other person. In fact, The Rescuer’s own self-worth is usually tangled up in others needs for them to the one who helps. This can also be roles certain people may play in our lives, like friends who have little to no good relationship experience telling us what we should do to fix our own partnership. One of the most common phrases of a The Rescuer is “If this person did what I said, it would be fixed”.
THE PERSECUTOR – Feelings of frustration, self-righteousness, and anger accompany The Persecutor. The Persecutor points the fingers at others, places blame often, quite vehemently for their own unhappiness. The persecutor can also be quite partial to viciously shaming themselves. The Persecutor says things like “They’re wrong and I’m right!” , “They will get what’s coming to them”, “How could I be so stupid!”, “If my partner/boss/child/friend would just stop or start this one thing, then I would be happy!” and “ITS ALL YOUR FAULT!”
Most people have a preferred ‘Starting Gate’. A role from the above, that over a life time, has become their default.
HOWEVER, IN THE END…
WE ALL END UP THE VICTIM.
POWERLESS, HOPELESS AND STUCK IN THE TRIANGLE
How do we break free?
Hello there, EMPOWERMENT DYNAMIC TRIANGLE! We are so happy to see YOU!
The Empowerment Dynamic (TED) was designed by David Emerald. There are quite a few iterations similar to this, that also work, however I find this one very concise.
In the Empowerment Triangle, the roles are replaced by the Creator, Coach, Challenger.
The Victim, becomes the creator.
The Rescuer becomes the coach.
And the Persecutor becomes the challenger.
If we are in the persecutor role, instead of placing blame, we shift to THE CHALLENGER, and ask ourselves questions like, WHAT CAN I DO? Instead of viewing others as a persecutor, we see them as a challenge to be overcome. We affirm youselves, with positive statements, I CAN DO THIS!
We don’t engage with anger and frustration but work from a place of love and compassion… We don't belittle or shame our partners, pointing the finger. We encourage them and ourselves to rise to the challenge! We say to ourselves, If I do my part, they will do theirs. What can I do to make changes? How can find encouragement for myself and others? How can I help my partner grow?
In the Empowerment Dynamic, THE COACH, doesn’t swoop in to sort it all out, but instead helps and supports that person to solve their problems, for themselves. We learn to ask ourselves and others powerful questions that bring clarity to the outcome, an clarity to the steps we need to take it make it happen. We seek out people who will not play the role of rescuer in our lives, but instead be our coach or teacher. People who help us, help ourselves.
When we are a coach, we approach our lives with feelings of curiosity and empathy. We ask ourselves... What can you do meet people who are more ideal for you? Where do you think they are hanging out? What can I learn from this rejection? How would you feel if your partner said this to you? Would it motivate you? Or make you feel worse about yourself?
And lastly, when we shift the other roles to that of the Challenger and The Coach.. the victim becomes THE CREATOR! We now rises above, break free and create a life of love and happiness.
We become solution orientated. We don't focus in on the problem, and get stuck, we take bold steps towards the outcomes we want in our lives.
We are no longer stuck. No longer powerless. No longer the mere victim to the whims of life on its own terms. We are an active participant!
AND… drama, fear, anxiety, and hopelessness leave our relationships.
I hope this bite sized nugget of revolution, shakes you to your core. I hope you run off screaming into the interwebs, and search on for more information about how to shift from Drama to Empowerment, and break that drama triangle to bits! xx