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The Drama Triangle – why drama is a choice.

When it comes to the drama triangle it’s really not worth it. 

Without a doubt, when someone explained The Drama Triangle to me it changed the way I looked at everything. I want to explain my brief understanding of it with you here in the hope that it might have an impact on you too.

Man shouting into a telephone box
What is The Drama Triangle?

The drama triangle is a social model of human interaction conceived by Stephen Karpman – the triangle maps a type of destructed interaction that can occur between people in conflict. The drama triangle model is a tool used in psychotherapy, specifically transactional analysis.

The Drama triangle has three people involved; a victim, a persecutor and a saviour. The victim is seen as helpless, the persecutor is seen as bad and the saviour comes in to save the day. It is, I am afraid, the way most people seem to communicate nowadays, the way most media reports a situation and the way most people think and act and I really think it’s very destructive, yet for some reason, we all seem to get involved in it.

If the police taught me anything, it’s that everything is nuances. The persecutor can also be a victim; it’s not helpful to see a victim as helpless and being the saviour takes power away from everyone. The destructive pattern that we seem stuck in also never solves anything never empowers the victims, always demonises the persecutor and assumes that everyone needs a saviour to help them.

While I’m certainly not saying that there aren’t victims in the world, that persecutors do not exist and that sometimes people need saving, what I am saying is for the majority of issues this is not the case and while we continue to be stuck in this cycle we help no one and can never move forward.

Brexit is a perfect example of this; whichever side of the argument you are in, the drama triangle is being played out in the public arena, pitting one person against another when it really isn’t necessary or appropriate. I also think that it desensitises us to real conflict and makes it harder for us to determine when situations really require our immediate help.

Now, while we will never be able to stop the drama triangle from happening, I think when we are aware of it. It gives us a choice and that choice is to refuse or to accept the role we are being given.

Start to notice how people talk to you and what position they want to take, start to notice what position you take naturally, listen to the news and notice how they pitch things. When you know of its existence you will see this triangle play out everywhere and when you choose to stand back and not play, people really don’t know what to make of you, people think it’s strange that you don’t join in, that you don’t want to take on the role society has assigned to you. But there is a lovely freedom in deciding to step outside the lines, make your own mind up, realise that most conflict does not require such extremes and to not jump to conclusions without thinking.

You are not a victim, a persecutor or a saviour, you are a complicated human as is everyone and we deserve far more than being put in a box that we never asked to be in. Choose freedom instead; believe me, you will thank me for it!

Learn more about Decoding Behaviour 

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