Psychological health

The Karpman Drama Triangle and How To Get Out Of The Cycle of Victim, Rescuer and Prosecutor

The Karpman Drama Triangle represents a social model of human interaction – the triangle depicts the kind of destructive interaction that can occur between conflicting people.

When I met my friend TC five years ago, she was struggling to break out of a highly toxic relationship with co-dependence.

Without looking for details that might be too personal for her, I can talk about the patterns of that particular relationship, which made her toxic. It was an ongoing “drama” where TC played three different roles when seen from a larger perspective – the victim because she felt helplessly stuck with someone who repeatedly abused her emotional boundaries and didn’t think there was a way for her to strike out on her own.

the persecuted, when impatient, the experience of malaise was stretched out over her, and she was rambling about things inside the house, screaming so loudly that the neighbors several times felt threatened; And the savior when her then partner comes to complain that the years have done nothing to his loneliness, feeling that he can’t count on anyone.

Stephen Karpman called this cyclical phenomenon the “dramatic Karpman triangle.”

Karpmann devised this relational structure to explain social and interactional dynamics when he was still training under the famous psychiatrist Eric Byrne, the founding father of transactional analysis.

Related Topics: What is the Karpman Drama Triangle and how does it cause unhealthy relationships

The triangle represents an interaction of behavior patterns that an individual resorts to when communicating with another individual’s behavior patterns. The question is, how do you know which of the three roles (often more than one) you tend to unconsciously turn to when you relate to another person or a larger situation?

What does the “victim” look like?

When you put on the victim’s shoes, it seems like the whole world has gone out to get you.

As a victim, your personal sense of power takes a right back seat, replaced by helplessness that weakens and locks up. In the place of the victim, the individual often experiences a “stumble”, since the perceived loss of strength makes him feel that the situation can never change.

In exchange for actively working to change your circumstances, the victim participates in blaming the other people involved for their suffering.

Persecution, real or perceived, becomes a constant theme for anyone who turns to playing this role often.

What does “the persecutor” look like?

When you or your context introduce the topic of persecution, you may be seen as controlling, oppressive, angry, and malicious. Persecutors usually like to be in complete control, lest the context put them in the shoes of the victim.

Concession and defense are also integral to the subject of the persecutor. Remember the aspect of my girlfriend’s behavior I mentioned earlier, where she would get into fits of anger and throw things around the house? This is a classic persecutor at work.

To get their own way, they will do anything, is the message that the persecutor delivers as a subtext. The persecutor’s “attachment” lies in his inflexibility and inability to register any other point of view, except for that which he revere.

Related Topics: The Under the Radar Relationship Killer

What do “saviors” look like?

In this role, you or someone else will feel the need to “fix” what is wrong with the victim.

The value of the rescuer lies in recognizing and feeling for the victim, and then also acting on her behalf. This is the third wheel of the co-accreditation cycle that Stephen Karpman has dubbed “The Karpman Drama Triangle”.

The rescuer also experiences a “downtime,” as he relates his value to the solutions he can provide. What they may not be in touch with often is a deeper need to take care of them and see them for exactly who they are. This requires a certain amount of vulnerability and the rescuer may find it more comfortable to operate from a problem-solving position.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button