Today we’re discussing my interpretation of the relationship triangle, or what is lovingly referred to as the “Drama Triangle.” By gaining some awareness of these roles that we play out all (to some extent), this can have a positive effect on creating healthier relationships. If you want that, read on…
The Rescuer, Victim, and Persecutor are subconscious archetypal “roles” that are played out in all types of relationships, to include romantic, familial, business, or friendships. We step into these roles in a subconscious attempt to control others to gain a sense of familiarity and security. And, believe it or not, every one of the roles (Rescuer, Victim, and Persecutor) creates self-victimization.
How it all began… Your primary role began in childhood, when you were adapting and learning how to get your needs met, and you are probably still using it in your adult relationships. Do you know which one dominates you? Let’s look at them a little closer…
Meet the Rescuer…The Rescuer gets his or her needs met by helping or taking care of others…a “Care-Taker.” Rescuers hate to see others suffer. To get out of their own pain, they lose themselves to “help” victims, who are usually very capable of taking care of themselves. Rescuers feel valued and carry a sense of purpose when they are needed, when they “fix/help” others, and mostly when others follow their advice.
How does one become a Rescuer? Rescuers might have been the eldest child or had parents who were unavailable, emotionally, physically or both (due to work, addiction, etc.). As a result, they were responsible for their younger siblings. They had to grow up quickly, they had responsibilities that were beyond their young years, and they became the surrogate “parent.” Since they learned, at that young age, that taking care of others was their job…they became hyper-vigilant to other people’s needs to feel a sense of purpose. In return, they received attention, and were appreciated, seen and validated when they rescued.
Meet the Victim…The Victim gets his or her needs met by being taken care of. He or she learned at a young age that being powerless, helpless, overwhelmed, or unable to manage resulted in getting attention (that they internalized as receiving “love”).
How does one become a victim? The Victim might have grown up in a family where getting seen was a challenge, so the Victim became helpless and needy. Having someone take care them is how Victims experience love and attention. The Victim didn’t choose this role, it was a subconscious adaptation that was about survival, getting noticed, and feeling like they mattered. Victims leave relationships and find another Rescuer when they feel uncared for, abandoned and rejected.
Meet the Persecutor…The Persecutor is the “blamer” and this is where it gets a little tricky. The Rescuer or the Victim becomes the Persecutor at different times, depending on the situation.
This tricky dance…You see, all three archetypal roles hop from tip to tip on the drama triangle. Here’s a scenario:
How to Step out of Drama Triangle…The first step in not participating in this dysfunctional dance is noticing which role you typically play out in your relationships. After you’ve done that, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
It’s a Journey…This is a really common dance that most of us engage in to some extent. Become mindful of your motives in your relationships. Are you losing yourself to get appreciation, attention or validation? If your answer is “Yes,” have some self-compassion and awareness that you most-likely learned these behaviors to get your needs met as a child. Then look inward and ask yourself this important question, “What am I seeking from others that my soul is truly looking to receive from myself?”
Did I say it’s a journey? It really is. Thanks for being you. Peace friend ✌😊
p.s. Check out my video on this topic: The Drama Triangle