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Getting Off The Drama Triangle…

Updated: Apr 22, 2023

It was refreshing to hear how the roles we assume are fluid. That we’re not stuck where we might think we are… That there is a possibility, always, and we can shift our position as soon as we become aware of where we stand. It can easily go unnoticed when we move from being a Victim to being a Persecutor or from being a Rescuer to being a Victim.

What makes it easy for us to get stuck in various roles on the drama triangle is the simple fact that we are moving through the motions of life without any conscious thought of what's happening to our mind-state. It's as if our minds and emotions are pulled about like a roller-coaster, and we react from a place of fear, leading us down the rabbit hole right into the Drama Triangle, right into our conditioning.

I can’t even begin to count all the times I’ve gotten stuck in one role or another. And I don’t need to. Neither do you. All we need to do, if we so choose, is to open to where we are, notice our thoughts, and know there are ways to move into a healthier paradigm. I see it as we can turn this into a practice of becoming more conscious of reactions to our direct experiences.

So we’re driving to the prison, and someone cuts us off; instead of getting all pissed off and judging that person and propping ourselves up as someone who would never drive like that (although I’m sure we all have at some point), we can ask ourselves what can we do at this moment not to get stuck on being the Victim (“…oh my gosh, I can’t believe this person cut me off, people always cut me off, maybe I should not drive anymore, I can’t believe I have to sit at this dam red light, again!”)  So instead we can ask ourselves: “What can I do?” That's the question the Victim asks to get out of the stuck position and move into what we call the “Co-Creator”

So we say, “you know, that person is probably in a hurry, just like me and what I can do is admire this red light” Why not? So there we are, transcending our victimhood and becoming the Co-Creator. The light turns this gorgeous green, and we’re on our way…

As we walk into the prison to volunteer, we hear one of the guards yelling at an inmate. As we’re walking away, we begin the criticism. “That woman is such an jerk,” we say to our friend, “she’s always putting people down, she thinks she’s so much better then everyone else around here…” we go on and on and on, basically pointing the finger at this person saying “they are bad.” We’re persecuting them for the same thing we criticize them for doing. Why are we better? And more importantly, how can we find that pause and stop? How can we begin to ask a question or initiate change in a way that works? In other words, how do we become the Challenger? So on our way out, we smile at her, make eye contact, and wish her well. We share some of the inspiring moments with some of the inmates in our class, some of the highlights. In a nonaggressive way, we’re challenging her and allowing her to be human, like us all.

As we’re driving home, our good friend calls us. He’s freaking out, telling us how stressful his life is, how he can’t seem to find any time for exercise, and his beer belly is becoming embarrassing; he’s going on and on about how his girlfriend expects too much from him and how he hates his job and his boss, etc. He has so much going on that we can’t say anything for the first 10 minutes. It's as if it's been building for some time now, and here we are. What we probably want to say to him is, “well, why don’t you leave her, i mean, you’ve been unhappy for sometime now? And you should just look on Craigslist for a new job, or just take a vacation, go to India or something… and about not exercising enough, why don’t you try to get up a little earlier each morning and do some yoga, it helps you know?” We could go on and on and on like this. Still, seeing we just learned about the Rescuer role, we instead just simply listen and after about 5 minutes we say “wow, it sounds like your having a really hard time today, do you want to join me for a walk later this evening” We don’t try to fix anything, we don’t try to change anything, because we realize we are not in we just bear witness and allow. We’ve become the Coach, and after a full morning of practice, we feel excited to work with what comes up next.

So tell us! Tell me stories about how you got stuck in any of these roles or transformed them. I’d LOVE to hear…



PDN Staff

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